Thursday, December 03, 2020


"Join us on Zoom for a public online meeting to launch Newham Voting for Change – the campaign for a committee structure in Newham. 

In May 2021 Newham will hold a referendum on how the local council is run. We are campaigning for the committee system, which is more 


We’ll be joined by: 

➢ Ruth Hubbard, Sheffield It’s Our City – Sheffield Council will also be holding a referendum on changing to a committee structure and Ruth will talk about the successes of the Sheffield campaign. 

➢ Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council (Lib Dems) – Ruth will talk about how Sutton Council works with the committee structure. 

➢ Cllr Andrew Ansell, Basildon Councillor (Labour) – Andrew will talk about how Basildon Council operates day to day with a committee system in place. 

➢ Speaker from the Tower Hamlets referendum campaign – TBC. 

Chair: Josephine Grahl, Newham Voting for Change All welcome | Tuesday 8th December | 7-8pm register for the meeting on Zoom"

check out, Website and Facebook page 

(there is an official flyer with a very nice but rather boring logo. I much prefer mine)


Matthew Porter said...

Interesting, John. Although you and I have only met properly at he launch of the Knife Bin in Stratford, I have time and regard for you and the way you conduct yourself in public.
On this topic, I have no personal reason to change.
To gain traction I do think the campaign will need to set out really quite quickly and clearly why bother changing. To stand a chance of persuading me I will need to understand that the coming offer (I cannot call it 'new') is more than just going back to the status quo ante. I need to see how it will get over the weaknesses of committee structures - inertia, slow decision-making, a tendency for individuals to hide behind the collective and not take responsibility.
I am no supporter of Conservatism nor a devotee of the Alpha / strong leader model.
I just do not want to return to a structure that can slow down change / responsiveness in a time of great change.
thank you

John Gray said...

Hi Matthew

Thank you for your kinds comments. There is no perfect democratic governance model. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Yes, the campaign does need to get going quickly and clearly set out the arguments for change.

I suspect that we have both had "bad" experiences with various committees which sometimes can be slow and unresponsive. However, I would argue in my experience the same can be same for "strong leader models". I have also served on and chaired very effective committees in work and the Council.

I think it is the political culture that is key. The best way to improve the political culture especially in a borough dominated by one party is to have a model that encourages co-operation and democratic participation.