Sunday, February 15, 2009

Steve Brayshaw – Labour Candidate for Royal Docks By-Election in Newham

Yesterday afternoon after the Lyn Brown MP Constituency event I went to help out in the by-election in Royal Docks ward.

Fellow London UNISON Labour link activist Alan Griffiths and I drove down to Britannia Village where the Labour campaign HQ is located.

The Labour candidate is Steve Brayshaw, who lives in the ward and is a well known and respected community activist. Sadly, the last time I was in the village I was canvassing with Simon Tucker whose unexpected death has resulted in this by-election.

As I drove into the village I saw 3 Conservative canvassers looking a little lost and confused, apparently arguing between them on which way to go. I didn’t stop to give directions.

We spent the afternoon delivering letters to electors. I came across the leaflets put out on behalf of the Tory candidate, Neil Pearce. Neil is apparently the “editor” of his newsletter. He has a strange photo of him on the front page. Call me old fashioned but I’m not that sure that the “Vinnie Jones skin head” look is what is really going to appeal to the voters in Royal Docks?

I’m not going to be too smug since I know how difficult it is to get a decent leaflet out quickly. But promising to cut council tax if he is elected is perhaps a little ambitious. He seems to have forgotten that if he was elected (God forbid) he will still be only 1 out of 60 councillors. Also Newham has frozen the Council tax year this year and is in fact cheaper than any other outer London Borough including all the far more expensive Tory run boroughs.

Frankly I also don’t think that a leaflet that tries to totally rubbish your ward is all that helpful. There are problems in Royal Docks which need addressing. Trying to make out that the entire ward is some sort of deadly dangerous rubbish dump is not that productive. Keep up the good work mind Neil!

The only slight mishap of the day was when I came out of a block of flats (run by Guinness Trust – they seemed to be in pretty good nick) into the rear car park. The entry door shut behind me and it was only then I found out I was unable to get out. There was a FB 2 lock on the only gate and I hadn’t brought any FB keys with me. So, much to the amusement of local kids I had to climb a very high metal gate and swing myself across and climb down.

While walking back to the HQ with Royal Docks councillor, Pat Murphy, said “Don’t look now but the Tories are all inside that cafe drinking”. I of course immediately looked and saw a group enjoying a beer or three at a window table overlooking the bridge. I gave a friendly wave and I think it was Neil himself who waved back. Now, of course I have nothing whatsoever against canvassers of whatever persuasion enjoying a well earned bit of liquid refreshment after fighting the good fight – but at only 3.30 in the afternoon?

When there are leaflets to be delivered, doors to be knocked and gates to be climbed over!

I’ll hopefully post soon on how folk can help out Steve and Labour in Royal Docks.


Anonymous said...

Hi john, tories lost in newham, god what will they do to the country. well done john

Tim Roll-Pickering said...


I believe I was one of those three deliverers and we were most definitely not arguing. Rather we were checking which parts we had and hadn't delivered at that stage because with the size of the team we had out on Saturday there was a risk of accidentally double delivering to some addresses.

And when you saw us later we had finished all our delivering for both the ward and the day and those that could hang around for a bit were grabbing a quick drink because none of us had had any lunch (or biscuits), having been out since early that morning and already done everything.

I'm sorry you got trapped in the car park and could only get out by amusing the kids - it sometimes feels as though things have been deliberately designed to make it hard to reach voters.

Anonymous said...

This reads loathsomely smugly, especially since Robin Wales and the monolithic Labour block on Newham could do with a bit of opposition.

Anonymous said...


I have just read the Neil Pearce leaflet and he does not say that he will cut tax if he is elected.

He clearly states that if he is elected, he will propose his budget to the council - in his budget, he has found £1,000,000 worth of saving, including the cutting of Sir Robin's generous salary in half.

Neil Pearce has some very valid points and he has been working all year round.

I know that Steve Brayshaw is a nice guy and I will be watching him during the by0election

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,Your to nice for the Tories come over to the labour party.your right one leaflet from the Tories is a enough..

John Gray said...

Hi Paul
Good point- if they did get lost – Cameron would want to “do nothing” to find them. Since the market will self regulate itself and then find them! (sometime never)

Hi Tim
3.30pm! you still had 1.5 hours of daylight so it was a little bit early to be enjoying a pint! I don’t think you went out canvassing afterwards smelling of booze? I’m use to having to climb myself out of problems while “out and about”.

Good news about Tesco’s in Forest Gate!

Hi Anon 18.28
I thought this post was ok! “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” I suppose. Actually one of the advantages of living in Newham is that the air is totally Tory Free! Long may it remain so!

Hi Anon 21.14
NP’s leaflet banner headline is (I quote) “I can cut YOUR council tax!” and the truthful answer is “No You Can’t”! Which part of “I can cut your council tax” don’t you understand?

Neil has no valid points what so ever since his views are totally blighted by his politics. You are quite right that Steve the Labour candidate is a very decent nice guy who should be supported.

You are quite right – Tim is really too nice to be a Tory boy. I notice that no-one has commented on the "Vinnie Jones Skinhead" reference. I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Got a lot of laughs out of your post… really, really good stuff.

I'm going to mention the "Vinnie Jones" look that you say Neil has affected (he hasn't); when I was a Labour Member in Newham (Secretary of Royal Docks ward; Secretary of Poplar & Canning Town CLP, Labour councillor for Royal Docks until I crossed the floor) not so long ago, I recall that the local Labour activists trawling for candidates who would appeal to the voters of Custom House and Canning Town. What was seen as needed was a white male who looked like the average local male… I was suggested as a candidate on several occasions and I most definitely do have a "Vinnie Jones" haircut.

What is the implication here? All Tories are racist - so I guess you'll be using your 2006 doorstep tactic of telling all BME voters in the ward that if the evil Tory gets voted in he'll get all black people bussed out of Royal Docks! Funny that he'll have the power to do that, yet he cannot try to influence the council's spending.

I've canvassed for Newham Labour on many occasions and, as I recall, a beer or two after a session wasn't frowned upon by my then colleagues (including the Mayor).

Labour hypocrisy still holds no bounds.

It's good to see that you now have a local person standing as a candidate. Murphy was a resident in Hove until the December prior to the 2006 elections. He conveniently moved into the home of his very good friend, Cllr Bowden, in December not having a job in Newham nor any other links to the borough.

What about opening up a dialogue here on all the great things the Labour Mayor has done for Newham (Parks Constabulary; Building 1000; Enquiry into the Housing Department and the quick removal of the former Director for Housing)?

Maybe you could get a sitting Newham Labour councillor to post a response here (surely it's going to be safer than responding in a more public arena like the local press - which they don't).

Mike Law

Anonymous said...


I think that you are just cherrypicking the points.

Neil can achieve a cut in Council Tax if the Labour council vote for his proposed budget - therefore it can be achieved.

On the 26th, I am backing Neil Pearce - not because he is a tory but because he is local and has been working all year round.

In regards to Neil's photo - he looks very serious standing outside North Woolwich Police Station - it is a very serious issue you know.

John Biggs has let us down very badly - I won't vote for that mug next time!

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
I’m afraid that frankly your comment appears to a bucketful of bile and bitterness. I know that politics can be a “rough and ready” place at times but to falsely accuse me (I think?) of lying and stirring up racial hatred in Royal docks in 2006 is pretty low. Especially since I don’t think I have ever spoken to you? I think that your comments about others should be viewed in this light as well.

BTW – my fellow Welsh Londoner ruffian “Vinnie Jones” has been accused of a lot of things but not to my knowledge of racism.

Hi Anon
Yes, I am sure that if (big if) Neil is elected he will be able to persuade the other 6 opposition and the remaining 53 Labour Councillors to vote for his budget (and even further cut Council tax).

Please look at the caption picture of Neil on his newsletter and google this

Of course it is a matter of artistic interpretation!
John Biggs is a star – a lovely cuddly teddy bear and I won’t hear a word said against him.

Anonymous said...

You're quite a wag, aren't you John.

Bile? Bitterness? About what? Please do explain.

I'm quite proud of my time in the Labour Party as it was (when I joined) a party of principle.

You're right, we've never met.

I'm intrigued, where in my post did I accuse you of anything. I did ask what was being implied by Neil's tonsorial choices. Why mention it?

The Labour doorstop tactics in Royal Docks in 2006 were related to me by several black and Asian residents who were understandably concerned. They contacted me as I was then one of the sitting councillors and, as a result of my crossing the floor, I was a Conservative.

The stuff about Murphy is true.

The stuff about my experiences of campaigning with Labour is true… you weren't there so how on earth can you dismiss it?

I note you miss my comment regarding getting sitting Newham Labour councillors to get into a dialogue with me here, what would be wrong with that?

Come on John, let's get into a proper debate. What are your views about Newham Parks Constabulary? What do you think about Newham Labour Administration's £111,500,000.00 purchase of Building 1000?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
I’m not a “wag” but I do try not to take myself all that seriously. I would recommend it - since I think it can give you a sense of prospective which all of us who are interested in politics need to have. If you don’t think that your comment was “bile and bitter” then I can only say “Yeah”

You said – quote “What is the implication here? All Tories are racist - so I guess you'll be using your 2006 doorstep tactic of telling all BME voters in the ward that if the evil Tory gets voted in he'll get all black people bussed out of Royal Docks”
“You’ll be using...”? This is a serious criminal allegation you are making against me Mike (Representation of the People Act).

Whether you actually intended to or not I doubt. You just don’t care I suppose. I assume also that at the time you reported this matter to the Police? This sort of slander is simply vile Tory crap. I cannot believe that any Labour canvasser would be so stupid as to say such a thing. So I assume this is just a pack of lies.

How any Tory supporter in London can claim to belong to a principled Party after the disgusting stuff put about Ken Livingstone and his advisors is anyway simply beyond me.

Anonymous said...


Nice rant.

You seem to be the one with the sense of humour bypass.

Again, I ask: why bring up Neil's hairstyle?

And, please explain the bile and bitterness - Oh yeah just doesn't cover it.

What allegations am I making? I'm asking you some questions.

The fact is, I have no idea what goes on in your head; a little bit of insight as to why the mentioning of Neil's short hair cut was so important to you might clear up the issue.

My use of the term "you'll" is in reference to the Labour Party - I'm assuming that there will be a few other canvassers than you.

The story of what was said by "Labour" canvassers WAS passed on to me by some Royal Docks residents... I'm canvassing with Neil in the area this week so I'll give them a knock to see if they'll come forward; at the time they were scared that if they reported the incident they may be evicted from their council homes.

I find it amusing that you say this is vile Tory crap... when I had been out canvassing with the Labour Party many of my then colleagues (and I) would come out with the same sort guff about how awful the Tories are - I don't recall anyone saying that they'd bus out BME constituents, but I do recall the mantra that the Tories don't care about BME people, the working class and all that. At the time I thought they were a party hell bent on the destruction of civil liberties; I thought that most of their MPs were money grabbing swine etc, etc. Hey ho.

" How any Tory supporter in London can claim to belong to a principled Party after the disgusting stuff put about Ken Livingstone and his advisors is anyway simply beyond me". Have to say that I wouldn't call the Conservative Party a principled party if I were to judge it by some of stuff it's MPs get up to (Spelman springs to mind) but the same can be said of Labour MPs (current Home Secretary!). However, I do fully support the Conservative party's stand on civil liberties.

What on earth has Livingstone got to do with all this?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
You had an opportunity to say something like “sorry John – I didn’t express myself properly, I didn’t mean to say that you personally made false racist criminal comments during the 2006 election”. But you choose not to. Which is your choice.

Such is life. Good luck to you I say. I think you will do very, very well in the Tory Party.

Anonymous said...


Don't be silly... I'm not going to say sorry for something I didn't actually say.

So come on then, why mention Neil's hairstyle?

Your response to me on this blog make me thank my lucky stars that I am with the Tories!!

Anonymous said...

Pat Murphy, said “Don’t look now but the Tories are all inside that cafe drinking”.

Pat Murphy can talk? Cause us residents never hear a word from him nor does he do anything to help us.

I find your attack on Neil what we have come to expect from Labour people in Newham.Its really quite sad.

Anonymous said...

Steve Brayshaw? You do mean the individual who was an ardent objector to London City Airport but whom has now magically failed to mention his objection to the airport expansion in his quest to be part of the labour party? Now he supports it for jobs - but note that he doesn't state how many jobs in Newham - or indeed the Royal Docks have benefitted from LCA directly in 20 years!

Steve Brayshaw who was so furious that London City Airport had failed to take adequate noise and air readings for 8 years, that he wrote to DEFRA complaining about the statistics used. Steve Brayshaw used to be concerned about noise and air pollution and the quality of life of Royal Docks residents - BEFORE he decided to run for a labour seat! What does that say about your wet behind the ears candidate? Clearly yet another willing to sacrifice the well being of communities to jump on the gravy train! A traitor!

Anonymous said...

"Hi Anon 18.28
I thought this post was ok! “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” I suppose. Actually one of the advantages of living in Newham is that the air is totally Tory Free! Long may it remain so!"

Glad your so proud Newham air is Tory Free.One of the poorest , most deprived boroughs in the country , where the average death rate in woman is the worst in the country.And you cant blame the Tories. Its all Labour , Labour , Labour.
Thanks you for remininding us.

And while there is no "Tory" air there certainly is Smelly air (Dog food factory , chemical plant) Toxic air (Airport) , Toxin Air (New Beckton Bio-Fuel plant) and finally the Air Of Superiority that the likes of Cllr Murphy walk about with. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Thank God someone has seen through Steve Brayshaw. He was doing a great job until he decided to join the underhanded mob known as LB Newham (Labour). If he had stood as an independent I think he may have had a better chance than he will now. I for one will make sure residents know his double standards since he's joined Weasel Wales MOB!

Anonymous said...

Your comment associating Neil with Skin Heads is libellous to say the least. I am Bangladeshi and I have spent many an afternoon with him and can't say I have seen the least bit of racism in him. Given the fact he is engaged with a darker toned South African lady (whose ethnicity I could not begin to discern) this 'Skin Head' reference only disgraces yourself.

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
I thought the photo was funny and politically an own goal. I note that it has not been used in the most recent newsletter I have seen.

It’s the same with the slur against Newham animal wardens – you write something then try to deny it. Which part of your phase below don’t you get?
“so I guess you'll be using your 2006 doorstep tactic of telling all BME voters in the ward that if the evil Tory gets voted in he'll get all black people bussed out of Royal Docks!”

I suspect that you are not happy being with the Tories and also that the Tories are not overwhelmed with your support either.

Hi Anon 22.16
“Traitor”? I think that your pointless oppositional posturing is just weird, weird, weird – what sort of world do you think you live in?

Hi Anon 11.52
It is poverty and a still unfair distribution of wealth that is the reason for lower life expectation. Labour has done a lot nationally and locally to improve things it needs to be bolder and even more radical in its 4th term.

Hi Anon 17.13
Rant, rant and rant.

Hi Karim
You may be a Tory but don’t be a total dipstick. Read the post properly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John. I'm so glad you have put this Blog on the World Wide Web.
You have made it so easy for Residents in the Royal Docks and the rest of London see why Labour should not get back in. Your arrogance is astounding. I'm so so glad that you've decided to show your true colors to us all. It’s the one good thing you’ve done for the community.

You are a complete disgrace to Newham and East London.

Anonymous said...


What are you on about? Do you actually read the comments people post on your blog?

I've already explained my comments and, even if the Tories are not happy about my support, I'd rather be with them than a party that encourages a ranting buffoon.

I love the way you make all kinds of assumptions and have the brass neck to pass them off as valid opinions.

You truly are an outstanding advocate for the Labour movement... keep up the good work!

By the way, why is it that neither you nor any of your Labour colleagues respond to any of the letters I submit to the Newham Recorder? If I'm so full of it, I must be a fairly easy target to shoot down.

Anonymous said...


On reading some of the other comments placed here, I'm finding it hard to work out your logic.

How is it okay for you to make inferences from the statements of others, yet when it's done to you, you get insulting?

Obviously, from some of the comments posted here, your quip about Neil's hair has been taken by some to imply that Neil is racist. You even state that you saw his picture as a political own goal... explain how.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 19.52
I’m not sure that you actually realise but the World Wide Web, the rest of London or even Royal docks folk are not that interested in our little on-line discussions. However, I am absolutely sure that the vast majority of readers of this blog, regardless of which political party they support will look at your comments and think “this bloke needs to get out more”.

Hi Mike 1
I’m not all that sure that is accurate but I suspect (but do not know since I haven’t asked them) that most Labour councillors think it is a waste of time arguing with you.

Hi Mike 2
I simply don’t know why some people interpreted it in this way? Interesting question mind. For I think about the 3rd or 4th time the picture made him look like Vinnie Jones (bless him) which is not the image that I would have thought that any politician would want to have? Don't you think? Perhaps I’m wrong? I don’t think so.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with looking like Vinnie Jones? And, what sort of image do you think a politician should have?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
I’ve linked beforehand to why looking like Vinnie isn’t a good idea. Check this link out for what sort of image a Politian should have -

Anonymous said...

The only link I can find here relating to Vinnie is to two pictures of him on a catwalk looking like a thug - so is it that you think Neil's image is that of a thug?

You added a link to the Huffington Post's article on Brown being treated politely in the states - are you saying that Brown's image is one that all local political figures should try to emulate?

If so, you have truly lost the plot.

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure that you actually realise but the World Wide Web, the rest of London or even Royal docks folk are not that interested in our little on-line discussions"

Why do you bother then John?

Just to let you know people are watching :-) thats been made sure of!

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
Liven up will you and don’t such sour puss.

Hi Anon
This is my weblog – my online political diary. Glad to know I am appreciated!

Anonymous said...

No John,

You cannot get out of this by telling me to liven up.

Why did you point out Neil's hairstyle?

What exactly is the point you're trying to make?

Why use the pictures of Vinnie Jones as an example?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike

I have explained stuff if you don't agree with it then explain why - don't keep repeating the same nonsense.

Anonymous said...

No you haven't.