Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Councillor John Gray

Yesterday I officially became a Councillor for the London Borough of Newham following my election for West Ham ward on May 6. Last night I went to my first meeting in Newham Town Hall and was slightly embarrassed by staff calling me “Councillor” as if this was something perfectly ordinary and usual.

I will admit at the risk of appearing too sentimental while sitting in the Council chamber last night I did think about my old Dad who had also been a Labour Party Councillor in the past. He was another John Gray, who had also been a trade union assistant branch secretary (Electricians Union) who was elected to serve in Buckley District Council, Flintshire, North Wales in the 1950’s.

Sadly he is no longer with us but I know that he would have been very proud that I had become a Labour Councillor.

The picture left is of him and is the same one that he used in his Council election leaflets.


Julian Ware-Lane said...

Congratultaion. I am sure you will serve the people of West Ham well.

john said...

Congrats John! Good news & good result for your hard work there.

bob said...


Congratulations. I hope you live up to the high standards that your father no doubt set, when the Labour Party was a more democratic body, and debate and criricism were encouraged. I look forward to hearing of you opposing bad policy and making your voice heard when others remain silent in fear of losing their income provided through patronage.

I am serious and genuine in congratulating you and if I lived in your ward, you would have had my vote.

My very best wishes for the next 4 years.

Dave said...

Hi John,
well done.
Dave Draycott

Anonymous said...

John its always a great honour to be a councillor

enjoy it

Anonymous said...

You must feel very proud becoming a Cllr in a safe seat. Well done.

Anonymous said...

What was the percentage turnout in your ward?

Anonymous said...

As a former Labour Councillor

I know despite claims of others

you can make a differnce
and can stand up for your Class

well done Comrade

John Gray said...

Many thanks Julian; John; Bob; Dave; Anon and Anon 2 (who is having a go but I don't care)

Hi Anon 3 - as you know 45.85% but I did win by over 2000 votes:)

Anonymous said...

Since West Ham is one of the safest Labour wards in Newham and has been so since its creation. It is hardly a major acheivement to have once again won it. It used to be said that you could dress up a donkey in a red rossette in West Ham and it would get elected. With all Newham's seats in Labour hands, there is a major democratic deficit. Will any of you guys be holding Sir Robin to account? Didn't think so, enjoy the expenses.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

I think this is called sour grapes:)

Anonymous said...


It's not sour grapes to point out that a council with no opposition at all suffers from a democratic deficit.

I posted some stuff about the election results on the e-democracy forum (see http://bit.ly/aMRVBJ), which includes an estimate of what the council would look like if seats were allocated proportionally.

Labour would have a majority easily sufficient to pass its business, but there would be a minority group able to challenge and hold the executive to account. I fail to see how this could be a bad thing for Newham.

Iftikhar Ahmad said...

Free Our Schools
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
Iftikhar Ahmad

John Gray said...

Hi E7

Don't know why I haven't responded to your comment before but I don't see why it is Labour fault that the opposition in Newham is quite so useless that they cannot get anyone to win even one seat.

Hi IftikharA

Again, apologies for not replying sooner but I would rather that there was no state "religious" schools at all. IMO.