AUSTERITY MY ARSE

CultureIt hasn’t taken long for Marvin “The Reverend” Rees to turn into another nasty little Tory Boy RUINING THE LIVES of his low paid council staff so that he can FEATHER THE NESTS of the city’s wealthy elite has it?

Less than three months into his ‘REIGN OF ERROR‘ and Marvin has announced that he will need to make 1,000 staff at his council REDUNDANT to “balance the books”. Virtually all these staff will be low paid and will be working in ESSENTIAL public services like adult care, education, social services and housing.

These HORRIFYING CUTS have been spun by the Reverend’s new £63k a year trade union PR girl, Kevin “Slow Brain” Slocombe, as entirely the fault of Tory government austerity and Mayor-no-more George Ferguson. The dynamic business and corporate-friendly Labour duo claim that George left behind a £29m debt for 2016 – 17 of unachieved savings.

Really? So how come a report accepted by Marvin and his cabinet in July – just ONE MONTH before his cuts announcement – assured us, “This report shows that the Council has been able to deliver on its saving plans and balance its base budget in what continues to be a challenging fiscal environment.”

It then goes on to say, “The current financial strategy, consisting of the final year of the 2013-17 MTFS, will be sufficient to balance the Councils budget in 2016/17.”

So what happened in a month to create a £29m black hole in this balanced budget? WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH? Marvin in July or Marvin in August?

Meanwhile, Slow Brain and the Reverend’s claim that they have no choice but to fire 1,000 staff on low pay fails to stand up to BASIC SCRUTINY when you start to look at the expenditure they’ve either already authorised or are intending authorise and for whom.

In late June Marvin and his cabinet had no problem in handing the COLSTON HALL £1.6m up front to develop their refurbishment plans while also agreeing in principle to chuck them a further £10m to achieve these plans.

At the same meeting, similar generosity was shown to the BRISTOL OLD VIC – who were awarded £1m to underwrite their refurbishment plans – and to another concert hall – ST GEORGE’S – who received £600k to help them with their rebuilding efforts.

And it doesn’t stop there. In September Marvin will award those famously poverty stricken organisations – BUSINESS WEST and the UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL – an undisclosed subsidy of over £500k to keep their ‘Set Squared’ creative industries ‘business incubator’ running the way they’ve become accustomed to at Brunel’s stylish ENGINE SHED at Temple Meads.

Also in the loop for an undisclosed public handout (of £500k plus) from the Reverend is the THE BOTTLE YARD film and TV studios in south Bristol. Because we can’t have austerity in the high-earning film industry can we?

This is all before we get on to the really high ticket projects Marvin is backing. He’s still committed to the £150m ARENA project, assuring anyone who will listen it’s affordable despite only having £100m to build it.

The other £50m will come from the council taxpayer until that income stream runs dry when Marvin, no doubt, will throw another few bodies on to his HUMAN BONFIRE and sack a few more staff running essential services to balance his crooked books.

Finally we have Marvin’s uncosted and unfunded EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE bid. To make himself look good in the ruins of the public services he’ll be running, the Reverend intends to make the city Capital of Culture in 2023 at an undisclosed cost.

HOW MUCH this will cost or WHAT USE it will be to any one not involved in of Marvin’s heavily subsidised high-earning creative industries is anyone’s guess. But what the hell? It’s only other people’s money and other people’s jobs isn’t it?

In less than THREE MONTHS Marvin’s mayoralty has turned into a hyopcritical farce and an elitist backscratching exercise.

“No one left behind” he says? Except for 1,000 council staff running essential services and their familes …

RISE OF THE ANTI-MAYOR: MARVIN TO SACK 1,000 STAFF

Anti-Mayor? The Reverend Marv stands in front of an inverted cross in his council chamber as he starts to invert everything he promised and ever believed in.

Following the Reverend Rees’s laughable ‘First 100 Days‘ PR effort last week – where he revealed he’d done NOTHING except sit on his backside and appoint a few committees  – our hapless new mayor today announced he intends to immediately SACK 1,000 council staff to balance the books.

This will effectively spell THE END of functioning local public services like adult care, social services, and youth services and is the polar opposite of what the Reverend promised just three months ago in his ambitious manifesto.

One member of the Reverend’s pissed off staff has kindly summed up the truth of this ABSURD PLAN for us:

“Just had a prick of a manager come down to basically say: no overtime, no more temps, working weekends for basic rates etc etc  And all brought in by a cunt on a grand a day!”

Not much we can add to that.

The council’s unions, meanwhile, have come out with a pathetic response, proposing a USELESS four point plan that will make no difference whatsoever:

“Responding to today’s announcement by the council, the unions have come up with a four-point plan to stave off the worst effects of the planned cuts:

•Meaningful consultations on a plan to deliver quantifiable savings to deal with the current budget shortfall and future savings
•A review of the decisions behind the budget shortfall in the 2014-2017 period
•A review of consultancy, agency and casual contracts to ensure value for money from these contracts in future
•The mayor Marvin Rees to make representations to Whitehall on the state of local government finance and the impact on Bristol’s 450,000 population of these cuts.”

What will this achieve? “Representations to Whitehall” my arse.The Reverend Marvin and his union friends need to come out fighting. REJECT the cuts outright; REFUSE to put 1,000 Bristolians out of work and REFUSE to destroy our local services.

Tell Theresa May and her piss weak DIVIDED GOVERNMENT to stick their Tory cuts up their Tory arses; set a proper budget to deliver the services we need and invite the Tories to come to Bristol and try to stop us.

Let’s see if May’s poxy little shit stain of a failing government is strong enough to take on Bristol shall we?

Come on Marv. You’re not a yes-man pussy public sector bureaucrat any more. Time to be a politician. That’s what we elected you for.

 

MEET THE NEW BOSS …

Lady Gaga’s replacement has arrived … And it looks like we’re in for a treat (if you enjoy bent local government bosses)

Stephen-Hughes

Hughes: disreputable fat cat on a grand a day

“THE REVEREND” Marvin Rees continues his fight on the frontline of the battle against rising inequality by paying a scandal-hit “retired” local government officer and EX-PUBLIC SCHOOLBOY £1,000 a day to run his council on a PART TIME, four day a week basis.

The lucky recipient of this absurd generosity is dubious little shit, Stephen “OAP” Hughes. A bloke with bad teeth and an ill fitting suit who used to be Chief Exec at Birmingham City Council until he scarpered in February 2014 to become – wait for it … “A strategic consultant’ (surely “unemployed”? Ed).

As with all these dodgy local authority FAT CAT bosses, OAP left Birmingham under a cloud with an undisclosed fat pay off disguised as a pension for his lead role in a botched cover-up of the so-called ‘TROJAN HORSE’ affair.

This SORDID little tale finally became national news in 2014 after teachers had spent over a year raising concerns to Hughes’ council about various school governing bodies in Birmingham that were trying to introduce strict Islamic principles into education.

After considerable and lengthy dithering by OAP’s council, the story finally broke in BIRMINGHAM MAIL in March 2014 – just after Hughes had done a runner and “retired” to the private sector!

With the Birmingham Mail driving things forward, a leaked document soon came to light claiming DIRTY TRICKS were being used to oust non-Muslim staff in some schools in an operation called ‘Trojan Horse’.

And with Hughes out of the way, FOUR separate inquiries were immediately launched into the allegations, including Birmingham City Council and Department of Education probes. Ofsted also conducted inspections at 15 Birmingham schools.

Several teachers forced out of schools involved in the Trojan Horse scandal came forward to the press and the investigations to complain that they were offered SECRET SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS by OAP’s council to shut up them up about their allegations.

The teachers had all raised SIMILAR CONCERNS that governing bodies were trying to introduce strict Islamic principles into schools.

The government report into the scandal found that there was a view among teachers that OAP’s city council preferred to GET RID of teachers rather than confront dubious school governing bodies.

Meanwhile Ofsted immediately put five schools OAP had protected in SPECIAL MEASURES after damning inspections found kids were not being protected from extremism or prepared for life in modern Britain.

OAP’s response to this PERSONAL DEBACLE was to tell the press that “the Government and Ofsted had over-reacted” to an anonymous document which was “designed to stir up racial and religious antagonism”.

Although he had never bothered to actually launch any kind of investigation, which might have backed up (or not) his UNORTHODOX VIEW of events.

Perry Barr’s Labour MP Khalid Mahmood was less than impressed with Hughes excuses and told the Birmingham Mail “[Hughes] is only interested in COVERING HIS BACK” before asking, “Why did he DO NOTHING?”

Why indeed?

Now this nasty piece of work – who will openly fuck up whistleblowers and honest public sector workers and protect extremists and religious nutters to keep his HUGE INCOME rolling in – is running Bristol.

Looks like some fun times ahead …

ANTONA COURT: THROUGH THE KEYHOLE

keyhole-variant_318-54667More fun and games at Antona Court, the council owned residence of notorious housing activist and friend of the Bristolian, Steve “STORMIN'” Norman.

After 18 months of deranged accusations and smears emanating from the council’s housing service management pillock Nick “DROOPER” Hooper, Steve (and everyone else in the block including children) is now being subjected to camera surveillance from a PEEPING TOM weirdo resident while the council does nothing!

Last week, a female friend of Steve’s noticed – while walking through the communal hallway of Antona Court – a small CAMERA trained on her from the open LETTERBOX of one of the flats. Deciding she didn’t wish to be filmed by some sad old man, she pushed the camera back through the letterbox and went to visit Steve.

Alas, this did not go down well with the Nick “Drooper” Hooper’s new Peeping Tom SPY OPERATIVE who then proceeded to tell Steve that he would attack him with a baseball bat if his dodgy camera was touched again!

Steve, concluding that it might be better to engage with the authorities rather than beat the Peeping Tom to a finely juiced pulp, contacted Drooper’s NORTH BRISTOL ESTATES FALSE ALLEGATION UNIT to complain and they visited Antona Court last week.

Only to explain that the tenant in their view was doing NOTHING WRONG and they were happy for him to continue filming in the communal area of their flats if he wished.

Do you reckon if Steve were doing the filming that Drooper and his False Allegation Unit would be so lenient?

The council’s view also contradicts the police who have told Steve, if the council were to cooperate, they would assist in serving an ASBO on the Peeping Tom for fairly obvious reasons.

Meanwhile residents at Antona Court are voting with their feet. One grandmother is REFUSING to take her grand daughter through the hallway and past the camera. Presumably on the basis she doesn’t want some aging pervert filming her young grand daughter and retaining the footage for his personal use?

Other residents are requesting moves from the block to get away from Drooper’s freakish and anti-social SPY NETWORK.

Now the issue has now been handed to Drooper’s colleague Mary “Contrary” Ryan to resolve. Will she continue to allow the private filming of children and young women in communal areas of Antona Court or will she see sense?

Watch this space …

THE GREAT SIEGE OF RICHMOND TERRACE: SOME QUESTIONS

With the occupation at 44 Richmond Terrace apparently winding down, it’s time to start asking some QUESTIONS about decisions regarding the occupation taken by by Bristol City Council.

Specifically questions about what senior bosses at Bristol City Council – who have just been awarded pay rises of up to 20 PER CENT to reflect their ‘expertise’ – have been up to.

To the untrained, non-corporate eye, their decision-making over Richmond Terrace has been consistently CRAP. Why did a group of highly paid ‘strategic managers’ have no strategy whatsoever throughout this whole occupation?

Instead the bosses seem to have staggered from one short term RANDOM DECISION to the next. Either based on Service Director Nick Hooper’s well-known PERSONAL DISLIKE of occupier, Steve Norman, or they have responded to events on the ground as they happened. All the precise opposite of what we’re over-paying these clowns to do.

The fact is the bosses directly responsible – Service Directors Nick “Drooper” Hooper and Mary “Contrary” Ryan and Strategic Director Alison “Three Jobs” Comley – on a combined income of around £310k per year – have been thoroughly OUTFOUGHT, OUT THOUGHT and OUT RUN during the last six weeks by a band of Bristolian activists.

Is this trio of useless twats really the best Bristol City Council can offer to solve our housing crisis?

Here’s some of the questions that the council and its highly paid bosses need to start answering:

1. Why did the sale of 44 Richmond Terrace go ahead at all on 20 April hours after it had been occupied by protestors?

2. Why did both Bristol City Council and their auctioneers tell the buyer the house was “rumoured” to be occupied when Steve Norman had emailed housing Service Director, Nick Hooper, at noon on 20 April informing him he had occupied the house?

3. Why did no one at Bristol City Council visit and confirm if the house had been occupied or not on 20 April before proceeding with the sale?

4. Did Bristol City Council receive confirmed reports from the BBC on 20 April, prior to the auction, that the house had been occupied?

5. Why did Bristol City Council do nothing between 20 April – when the house was occupied and then sold – and 18 May – when the sale should have completed – to regain possession of the home?

6. After 18 May why did Bristol City Council not attempt to negotiate a solution to the occupation until 31 May, once they had dismally failed to evict the occupants after half an hour trying?

7. Why did Housing Service Director, Mary Ryan, visit the occupiers on 23 May claiming she was negotiating a solution with them while offering nothing?

8. Why did Bristol City Council not obtain an eviction order until 25 May, five weeks after the occupation had begun and one week after the sale should have been completed?

9. Why did the council take six days, from 25 May to 31 May, to attempt to evict the occupiers, giving the occupiers time to dig in and secure the house?

10. Why, when the council’s bailiffs visited on Tuesday 31 May, were they not aware the occupiers were on the roof of the house – and had been since Friday 27 May as reported on the BBC – and that a specialist team was required to remove the occupiers rather than the gang of thick, useless oafs they sent.

11. Despite repeated requests to Housing Service Director, Nick Hooper from April 20, why has he never supplied written evidence that Anthony Palmer was not entitled to extra housing priority as an ex-serviceman because he had left the services over five years ago?

12. Why was Anthony suddenly awarded this extra housing priority on 31 May without explanation?

13. Why was Anthony Palmer allowed to be harassed by staff from Connolly & Callaghan, the private owners of his homeless hostel, through regular checks on his whereabouts throughout the day?

14. Why was Anthony Palmer threatened with eviction if he did not stay at his shithole Connolly & Callaghan homeless hostel overnight? Is it a prison?

15. Why did housing Service Director, Nick Hooper, consistently disregard the advice of social services and health visitors in relation to the urgent housing need of Anthony Palmer?

16. Why did the details of 44 Richmond Terrace supplied on the Hollis Morgan website describe the house as requiring “complete modernisaiton” (sic) while the so-called ‘structural report’ produced by Bristol City Council on 25 May says the building has “structural damage”?

17. Who wrote the 224 word ‘structural report’ for 44 Richmond Terrace for Bristol City Council and when?

18. Was this ‘structural report’ sufficiently detailed and complete for a senior council boss to take the delegated decision to sell 44 Richmond Terrace?

19. Which manager at Bristol City Council took the decision to sell 44 Richmond Terrace?

20. Why did the council undertake renovations at 44 Richmond Terrace in the year prior to its sale?

21. Did the council offer the former tenant the opportunity to return to 44 Richmond Terrace earlier this year after the council had completed repairs and renovation?

22. Why did a council spokesman say on 25 May, “Costs to bring the property up to the standard we aspire to for council houses were estimated in excess of £35,000″ when the figure stated in the council’s own ‘structural report’ is £30,000?

23. Why had no one at the council been in touch with the buyer at any point to discuss the occupation of the home they had sold to her?

24. Why did the council tell the buyer information on the occupation was “confidential”. On what legal basis was it “confidential”?

25. Why was the buyer reliant on information regarding 44 Richmond Terrace from the media; from Richard Carey and Steve Norman occupiers at the property and from BBC Radio who had contacted her at various times? Why did the council not communicate with her?

26. Why did the council misrepresent the actual facts regarding the sale during pre-contract enquiries by the buyer?

27. Why had Marvin Rees not seen an email sent to him by the buyer on Thursday 19 May by Monday 30 May despite the sender receiving an automated acknowledgement from Marvin’s council email account? Who had seen that email and who withheld it from the mayor?

We anticipate no answers to these questions as the council, its staff and its councillors will now pour a lot of time, money and resources into defending at all costs the bent, overpaid deadbeats responsible.

THE GREAT SIEGE OF RICHMOND TERRACE: “MARVIN REES CAN YOU HEAR ME? YOUR BOYS TOOK A HELLUVA BEATING!”

kesWith ex-serviceman Anthony Palmer and his 18 month son, Kai, housed on Monday and news coming in that Bristol City Council have finally agreed with the buyer to cancel the sale of the house, thus keeping it in public ownership, the occupiers of 44 Richmond Terrace can claim TOTAL VICTORY.

We look forward to a homeless family moving into the house in the near future after it’s handed back to the council once repairs to damage due to the attempted eviction are completed.

Congratulations to all involved. You know who you are and what you did. Another victory for Avonmouth against the odds. No doubt more will follow.

Got a problem with Bristol City Council’s housing department? Contact your caring sharing BRISTOLIAN for no-nonsense results orientated housing advice.

BRISTOL HASN’T GOT A HOMELESS PROBLEM. IT’S GOT A HOUSING DEPARTMENT MANAGEMENT PROBLEM

Bristol Labour’s new housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith lets slip a few very INTERESTING FACTS in a piece of shameless self-promotion he’s written for the Guardian:

“Bristol has a real problem with homelessness, with more than 300 households in temporary accommodation at a net cost to the council tax payer of £800,000 a year; at the same time 550 council homes are empty, losing rent of £2m and £700,000 in council tax. “

Er, sorry, come again? We’ve been handing around a £1,000 a month to private sector temporary housing ‘specialists’ for each homeless family – at a cost he alleges of £800k but is likely to be much  more  – while leaving 550 council homes they could live in sat EMPTY?

Council homes that could generate almost £3m in income to the city. That’s lots of money and housing stock that we could be using to house the homeless ourselves. Instead our money’s being handed over to DODGY LOCAL BUSINESSMEN to provide a revolting, anti-human homeless service while our own housing resources are left to ROT.

Wolfie’s wrong. This city hasn’t got a homeless problem. It’s got a HOUSING MANAGEMENT PROBLEM. What the fuck is going on at Bristol City Council’s housing department? Wolfie offers us half an explanation:

“six years of austerity, service cuts, redundancies and restructures, all of which have destroyed both morale and provision”

It’s not just morale and provision that’s been destroyed, however. The concept of a social housing department that’s there to serve the public and provide support to the vulnerable has been PULVERISED.

The city’s senior housing bosses – strategic director, Alison “Three Jobs” Comley and service directors, Nick “Drooper” Hooper and Mary “Contrary” Ryan – have obsessively focused – for over six years now – on delivering Tory policies of AUSTERITY, CUTS and PRIVATISATION at the expense of their actual jobs of delivering a housing service to the public.

We’ve had these three fucking idiots systematically SACKING, DOWNGRADING and DESKILLING their workforce for over eight years now while introducing a GORMLESS CORPORATE CULTURE of privatisation, outsourcing, constant restructuring, regular office moves, ‘agile working’, management consulting, ‘demand management’, half-arsed techno solutions, useless software and IT fixes and any other PASSING MANAGEMENT FAD a well paid consultant can pass off on this trio of useful idiots.

These three bosses haven’t bothered running a housing department in the traditional sense for years. They’ve been implementing a right wing, ANTI-PUBLIC SECTOR ideology. DOWNGRADING a vital public service to the point where it’s barely viable. Try phoning (0117 922 2200) Drooper Hooper’s housing department and see if you can even get to speak to a human being.

All three need to QUIT or be SACKED. We need normal housing bosses in our housing department who can quickly provide homes fit to occupy and get families into these homes. It’s not difficult and it’s what a housing department should do. Leaving council homes EMPTY while stuffing the pockets of local businessmen with large amounts of public cash for shit housing is nothing short of a criminal enterprise.

The current housing management needs to go and go now. They’ve fucked up our city up and now they need to fuck off.

THE GREAT SIEGE OF RICHMOND TERRACE: BELLYFLOPPING BAILIFFS SPELL END OF COUNCIL RESISTANCE

Bailiffs

Useless twats employed by senior council bosses fuck off after failing miserably

A PATHETIC attempt by the council’s bailiffs, accompanied by THREE coppers, to evict the occupiers of 44 Richmond Terrace this morning at 5.00am has resulted in a flurry of activity from Bristol City Council.

FIVE bailiffs arrived this morning at dawn at Richmond Terrace causing an unholy racket as they unsuccessfully tried to batter the door of number 44 in. Having FAILED at this pretty basic task for bailiffs, the gormless quintet then attempted to drill the lock out of the front door.

When this, too, was entirely UNSUCCESSFUL, the bailiffs beat a hasty retreat along with their cop bodyguards. Although they did successfully manage to call the occupiers and the entire street, who were by now wide awake and watching the entertainment, ‘WANKERS‘ as they departed. Classy stuff from the forces of law and order there.

To add to the general feeling of wholesale PATHETIC FAILURE for Bristol City Council, the local BBC kindly made their ludicrous bellyflopping bailiffs headline news all day!

By noon, a thoroughly DEFLATED and DEFEATED council, had made an offer of a council property to ex-serviceman Anthony Palmer and his 18 month son. This happened soon after Anthony – the original cause of the protest – was mysteriously handed the BAND ONE housing priority the occupiers have been demanding since 20 April to reflect Anthony’s ex-services status.

The latest RUMOUR is that the council are now in the process of helping the buyer of Richmond Terrace to quickly pull out of the purchase of the home that they have not wished to buy for, at least, two weeks.

The end may be in sight …

44 RICHMOND TERRACE: MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

illegalIn the cat and mouse game of political public relations, it’s sometimes worth looking at what your opponents are calling you and then asking WHY?

So this really caught our eye on Wednesday from Marvin “THE REVEREND” Rees’s PR boss, Tim “ZOMBIE” Borrett and his brain dead council communications team about the occupiers of Richmond Terrace:

“During the course of the occupation the ILLEGAL OCCUPIERS have raised a number of issues around the sale of council houses.”

What the hell is an “ILLEGAL OCCUPIER“? And what’s illegal about them? Is Zombie Borrett suggesting the people involved in this occupation are innately “ILLEGAL“? Their very existence now against the law because they’re challenging his wanky little local authority?

Are senior council bosses openly characterising the occupiers as a class of people without any rights or a voice so the public needn’t have to give a fuck about them?

Zombie’s claim is both a little bit DISTURBING and wholly UNTRUE. For starters, the occupation itself isn’t even illegal. Zombie Borrett should know this from his own council’s statement to the County Court on Wednesday.

This admitted that the police “declined to exercise their powers” under the Legal Aid and Prosecution of Offenders Act (LAPSO) 2014 because the cops didn’t accept the occupation was a criminal act. The occupation is therefore UNLAWFUL. The people involved are not “ILLEGAL” in any sense.

The problem for Zombie and Rees is that their language of ‘illegality’ directly mimics and mirrors the language the FAR RIGHT uses about migrants.

We’ve all heard talk of “ILLEGAL ALIENS” and “ILLEGAL ASYLUM SEEKERS” and we all know this language is deliberately deployed to MARGINALISE and DEHUMANISE migrants and to stir up hatred against them.

Is Zombie Borrett attempting a similar strategy to turn the public AGAINST the occupiers of 44 Richmond Terrace?

Or maybe he’s just WEAK and SLOPPY with language? After all, language and its deployment only makes up the entire content of the job he’s paid a fat wage to do. Why would he know what he’s doing with it?

This behaviour from Zombie Borrett, an over privileged little twerp from East Devon, is of little surprise. But it’s nothing short of SCANDALOUS that the Reverend Rees – within weeks of taking office – is signing off press releases using this kind of language towards his political opponents. Language that has a history of MARGINALISING and SPREADING HATRED toward a section of the public.

This DEHUMANISATION of the vulnerable and their campaigners and protestors is a dangerous game. Many of the occupiers are themselves vulnerable people living in poverty and in precarious housing conditions.

When the occupiers get an ‘accidental’ kicking from The Reverend’s bailiffs will the public turn a blind eye because the occupants have been sold to the public as “ILLEGALS“?

Marvin, the silly little prick, should know better than to be using this ugly language of the far right.