Monthly Archives: November 2017

PLANNING NEWS

A retrospective planning application for 14 homes on Bridgwater Road, Bedminster Down may have hit the jackpot for STUPID DEVELOPMENT in the city. Originally granted permission in 2014, with no affordable housing, developers UKS Group Ltd, a heating firm, have set about about breaking the original planning conditions with considerable panache.

Chief among these is their RANDOM CHANGES in the design of the development; a FAILURE to properly decontaminate the land creating a potential health hazard and an INCREASE in parking spaces above legal levels.

Meanwhile a closer look by planning officers at the viability assessment for the development than they managed the first time around suggests it’s riddled with MISLEADING errors, which mean the company could still turn a generous profit and provide affordable housing.

Errors discovered in the viability assessment included: the use of LOWER property values than those provided by independent valuars with no explanation; a CLAIM the scheme contained 1,649 square metres of floor space when it was actually 1,761 square metres, meaning that the build costs were overly inflated, and a CLAIM of costs of £110,000 for parking spaces when the tender document put the costs at £21,700.38.

A council planning committee has now REJECTED the retrospective application citing the lack of affordable housing. Will the developer appeal?

Watch this space.

FRIENDS, CRONIES, WEALTHY MEN …

The state of the mayor is laughable. Another year, another self-aggrandising “State of the City” speech by a mayor from the city’s citadel of entrenched public school privilege, Bristol University’s Wills Hall.

Again, this year, the thick-as-a-brick Reverend attempted to bang on about his BACKGROUND and invite us to marvel at his achievement in getting to be mayor. Presumably this being a better bet than parading his record of HAPLESS non-achievement as mayor?

The overwhelming sense of second rate FAILURE was ignited early in the evening when the Reverend began his schtick by showing his audience a self-produced “comedy” video made with his mate. This was followed by another of his mates reading out an EMBARRASSING poem. The Reverend then thanked a roster of friends and cronies for their help and support in the ongoing decline and decay of our austerity hit city.

In terms of announcements in the speech, what went unsaid was – perhaps – most significant. The arena, promised by 2019 in his speech last year WASN’T MENTIONED. So it’s safe to say there’ll be no arena in 2019 or any other time soon since the Reverend called a halt to his current plans two weeks after his speech. Instead the Reverend’s dreamed up a couple of totally unfunded new major projects – or “AMBITION PLANS” as he called them – to distract us.

One “ambition plan” is an UNDERGROUND rail system he’s going “to speak to the government” about. The other proposal is to DIG UP the Cumberland Basin road and bridge system and build 1,000 houses there along with another bridge (and, maybe another road) for Christ knows what cost or purpose. The Reverend and his team of advisors have obviously worked extra hard on this imaginary plan as they even thought up a crap name for it – WESTERN HARBOUR.

Other than that, we got some WAFFLE from the Reverend about how well everything’s going for him and his mates and a cheery explanation that his Congestion Task Force – which he also announced last year – has had a couple of meetings and is thinking about things.

He also announced – mainly to save himself from being deselected for the next mayoral election by his own party – that he would NOT be implementing his gormless plan to cut Council Tax Relief to the city’s poorest. Our libraries, he’s threatened with closure, would also survive, he suggested, based on some UNEXPLAINED plan devised by his loopy privatiser cabinet friend, Asher “The Slasher” Craig.

And with that, the Reverend was gone. Hopefully to find the plot he mislaid some time last year?

COUNCIL STAFF STUFFED AS AIMLESS UPHEAVAL IS FOISTED FROM ABOVE

The naval-gazing SELF-OBSESSION of senior bosses at Bristol City Council continues unhindered by reality as the Reverend Rees launches another so-say “new structure for senior management”.

Naturally this restructure also means PAY RISES boosting top directors pay by a cool TEN PER CENT after Labour councillors led by self-styled militant trade unionist Kye “Rimmer” Dudd, the current chair of the council’s HR committee, steered the new pay deal through his committee for the Reverend last month.

This restructure and pay rise announcement – 18 months into the Reverend’s term – arrives shortly after a series of finance reports over the summer presented to his cabinet and councillors claimed such a reorganisation was officially ‘at risk’ and would NOT be happening.

However, with the speedy and mysterious DISAPPEARANCE of his hand-picked Chief Exec, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski in September, the Reverend reversed the ferret and instructed his latest teacher’s pet interim £1,000 a day private sector consultant Jackie “You’re Fired!” McGeachie to embark on the delayed project IMMEDIATELY.

The Reverend’s headline claim for this latest DECKCHAIR REARRANGEMENT at the top at the Counts Louse is that it will reduce the number of managers by seven and save £750k a year. A virtually UNVERIFIABLE claim considering the pay rises being doled out and the hidden number of highly paid interims, consultants, former bosses and corporate wonks wasting time, money and oxygen throughout the council at any given time.

The Reverend also doesn’t seem to realise that “a new structure for senior management” is also a new structure for the WHOLE organisation. This means yet more BUREAUCRATIC CHANGE and UPHEAVAL for ordinary low-paid staff who have been subjected to mass redundancy programmes in 2013 and 2016 and a ridiculous New Ways of Working “agile” office move programme ongoing since 2015. More redundancies are on the cards this year too.

Meanwhile, a PROMISED restructure for ordinary staff at the council, likely to deliver significant pay increases to the lowest paid workers to stop their wages collapsing to the low level of the minimum wage, has DISAPPEARED without trace. Despite a promise when bosses’ wages were hiked last year by up to 20 PER CENT – just after they conspired against us all to set an unlawful budget – that a fair staff pay structure was a priority for bosses, the mayor and councillors.

As one member of staff told The BRISTOLIAN: “Another management reorganisation means absolute chaos and a decision-making vacuum for six months at least. Then some dull, witess twat on vast wages who we’ve never met will start emailing corporate crap at us claiming they’re our ‘leader’. Then they’ll be more uncertainty as they start trying to get rid of us all, all over again. Then they’ll leave with a massive top secret pay off because it turns out they’re actually a load of shit”

Alas, it seems, the priority, as usual, is the bosses, the bosses’ pay, the bosses’ egos and more aimless upheaval for frontline staff trying to deliver actual services.

COLSTON DAY CANCELLATION SHOCKER

A pleasant surprise for protestors who took themselves to St Stephen’s Church on the Centre yesterday for COLSTON DAY. This is the day when the city’s sad old white men with too much money and no functioning conscience pursue their CULT OF COLSTON by donning fancy dress and parading through Bristol before attending a church to hear sermon from a hired vicar heaping praise and warm words on mass murderer Edward Colston.

Alas, when protestors arrived to confront the cult of Colston directly yesterday, no one was there! Finally someone from the church came out and explained that St Stephen’s wants “NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH COLSTON“. A little later the church administrator appeared and confirmed that “the ceremony was CANCELLED, not postponed”!

A brief glance at St Stephen’s Church Annual Report 2016 explains a little more. Under the heading ‘Colston Day’ on page 5 it tells us last year’s Colston Day and the accompanying protest “had led to a QUESTIONING over what our involvement should be in future years given the feelings in the city as a whole about the historical slavery issue and Edward Colston’s part in it.”

It’s clear that the Diocese of Bristol is now CRACKING APART over celebrating slave trader Colston. They have SUPPRESSED any reference to Colston at the Girls School Commemoration at the Cathedral; got rid of the Colston symbols (Buns, Crysthanamum broaches) and it looks like St Mary Redcliffe’s Colston event is changing too. Now they have BOOTED the Society of Merchant Venturers and its satellite charities out of St Stephens Church on Colston Day! Victory is in sight …

However, the Society of Merchant Venturers aren’t going down without a fight. An organisation called ‘Embracing Our History’ (sic) has emerged. Basically a FRONT for the Venturers, they are personally inviting selected members of the ‘black community’ onto their ‘Embracing Our History’ forum. Will this patronising, paternalist, racist nonsense from the Venturers be enough to maintain their influence and keep their DAMAGED ICON afloat in the city?

Let’s hope not.  The Colston flagship is dead in the water. We say switch to ramming speed … Let’s send her to the bottom, not help the Venturers patch up their leaking rust bucket.

THEM THE ELITISTS

Daddy? Why has Mrs Tumble got a Howard Jones haircut?

Much hilarity across the city as @Bristol launches a high profile rebrand under the cheerfully INANE GUIDANCE of its “Creative Director” Anna “Mrs Tumble” Starkey, formerly a big player at Cbeebies. 

Launching her finely crafted nonsense across the internet and airwaves with the assistance of a vacuous local PR firm, Mrs Tumble explained to a dumbfounded audience that our local science centre will now be known as “WE THE CURIOUS” and, apparently, will “be a leading player in the global drive to champion the value of curiosity for everyone”.

“We The Curious marks a new direction and intention to create a culture of curiosity,” rambled the Creative Director in a desperate effort to sound “creative” that left the general public and most of the city’s journalists scratching their heads, utterly BAMBOOZLED at what Mrs Tumble was intending to actually put in their museum.

A day later the project managed to descend further into FARCE when one curious member of the public wrote to Mrs Tumble asking how much her weird and highly personal rebrand was costing?

“As a charity, we have a duty to make sure our mission is as strong as possible and we felt in order to have a relevant and meaningful position it was worth putting some money towards. All of our costs are audited by our board of trustees and the audit committee, so we’ve been sure to make every penny count,” came the VAGUE and UNINFORMATIVE reply from a minion.

Is curiosity towards elitists and how much public money they’re spending the wrong kind of curiosity in this “global drive to champion the value of curiosity for everyone”? Indeed, Are We The Curious continuing that fine old-fashioned elitist tradition of entirely IGNORING the public while claiming to do the exact opposite?

Get your tickets now – We The Curious: leading players in vague answers to direct questions in the name of science.

DEMAND EQUALITY! COLSTON STATUE MUST NOW BE REMOVED

Not offensive, not censored:

Edward Colston: right wing mass murderer

Offensive, censored:

Walter Ayles: left wing pacifist


Call Mark Parsons at Bristol Waste on 07584581243 or email Mark.Parsons@Bristolwastecompany.co.uk and demand that Colston’s statue is removed. We want equality!

CENSORED! JOURNEY TO JUSTICE

News release: for immediate release

Popular exhibition that got praise from the mayor is censored by waste company

It has been brought to our attention that Bristol Waste Company has removed a
board from the exhibition in the Bearpit which was jointly organised by the Bearpit
Improvement Group in conjunction with the national charity Journey to Justice which
also hosted a major series of arts and history events in Bristol this October.

We understand that Bristol City Council ordered the board to be removed following a
complaint by Councillor Mark Weston (Henbury and Brentry), the leader of the
Conservative group on Bristol City Council.

We request the immediate reinstatement of the board and an apology from those
responsible for its summary removal.

We also request further information about the process that led BCC to order the
board to be removed without consultation with the Bearpit Improvement Group or Dr
Madge Dresser of UWE and the University of Bristol who jointly curated the
exhibition with the Group’s organisers.

The board in question is a piece of art celebrating the role of Walter Ayles in fighting
for social justice and in particular his role as a leading campaigner against the First
World War. Ayles was a Bristol councillor before the First World War and was sent to
prison for his opposition to it. Soon after his release he was elected MP for Bristol
North.

The information for the board was researched by Journey to Justice trustee and
Bristol Coordinator Madge Dresser (a Senior Research Fellow at UWE and Honorary
Professor of History at the University of Bristol) and by Colin Thomas author
of Slaughter No Remedy: The Life and Times of Walter Ayles, Bristol Conscientious
Objector. The board was created by artist Bo Lanyon who worked with the Creative
Youth Network to inspire their boards in the Bearpit.

For your information, Journey to Justice is a group of educators, youth, community,
human rights and faith organisations, artists, film makers, lawyers, musicians,
historians, curators and trade unionists. It aims to inspire and inform social
engagement through history and the arts. Its patrons include Dr Paul Stephenson,
one of the leaders of the Bristol Bus Boycott, who this week received a Daily Mirror
Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in fighting racism and
intolerance.

This exhibition sought to celebrate some of the untold stories of Bristol’s past social
campaigners and should be seen as stimulating debate and interest in Bristol’s
distinctive history. Ayles has also been written about by other Bristol-linked
academics including Professor Emerita June Hannam of UWE and is featured in the
authoritative Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The removal of the board is a clear act of censorship by Bristol City Council that has
no place in an open and democratic society. It is ironic that it was taken down during
the same week that George Orwell’s statue was unveiled at the BBC in London with
the motto: “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they
do not want to hear.”

Scary monsters: #1 The ghost of racism

Desperation | Altercation | Emancipation | Realisation | Frustration.

Ignorance is not bliss but as children we played together blissfully. One day we became frightened, some one said that some of our friends were bad and we should not like them. A new influence of fear had infiltrated our world.

We live in a world of beautiful complexity; nothing was black and white only the TV with its continual negative broadcasts. If it was not political polarisation it was now acceptable to make racism a joke.

Despite all our efforts to undo the damage done the ghost still haunts us. See how he forced his way into this text.

The Ghost is is not of this world he has no material content. The ghost does not talk of race. Black is not a race white is not a race. The strength of the ghost is how he torments us, making us continually reassess how we should deal with him.

Now is the time to Exorcise the ghost.

PROPERTY IS DEBT

Ding, dong the Spunkface is dead!

 Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, brought in to the council in 2012 for his “PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERTISE” has ceased to run the world’s most useless council department that specialised in draining us of public money.

Last year, Spunkface’s department – responsible for all the council’s buildings and its lucrative land and property portfolio – posted an inexplicably HUGE LOSS of £7.7million due to his failure “to achieve savings”. This ABJECT FAILURE went on to comprehensively fuck up the whole of the council’s accounts. This year, Spunkface, already facing losses of – at least – £2.6million in more unachieved savings, has finally quit.

Perhaps the Reverend Rees was no longer prepared to tolerate Spunkface, who  – when not losing enormous amounts of public money – is best known for his crude COVER-UPS of “mismanaged” cash in his Facilities Management Department’s markets and security operations?

We understand that Spunkface has now taken up a role locally at YTL PROPERTY alongside his former boss at the council, Barra Mac Ruari, the posh urbanist twit mate of Mayor No More Ferguson. YTL is Merchant Venturer, Colin Skellett’s development firm that bought the huge Filton Airfield site for development after an extensive marketing exercise by, er, Colin Skellet’s Local Enterprise Partnership!

Housing Tsar, Paul “Wolfie Smith” was handed responsibility for the council’s Property Services over the summer, mainly to act as nursemaid to the latest  multi-million pound Broadmead corporate makeover.

But did Wolfie finally pull the trigger on Spunkface and put our city out of the misery he imposed?

ONE RULE FOR THE RICH… VENTURER SCHOOL KEEPS NAME OF MASS MURDERER

Colston Girls School: keeping the toxic brand of a mass murderer because wealthy twits say so

Does anyone remember these schools… Monks Park, St George, Whitefield, Speedwell, Hengrove, Portway, Brislington, Hartcliffe and Withywood? Two things unite them all; they were not private schools and they have all had their names changed (or rebranded as some consultant tosser would say) over the last few years. All of this renaming was carried out when they became ACADEMY SCHOOLS, the decisions being made by unaccountable management bodies.

One of these bodies is the VENTURERS TRUST, a front for the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS (SMV) who have been trying to takeover Bristol’s state education for more than a decade. The SMV now manage a series of schools which were once run by the Local Authority but are now apparently their property to do with as they will.

When the SMV took over WITHYWOOD SCHOOL in 2008, they almost immediately changed its name to the MERCHANTS ACADEMY. That is, the arrogant bastards named it after themselves. So the SMV clearly thought they were more important than the traditions of the school, the place or the people of Withywood.

So it is with great irony that we read that another one of the SMV schools is NOT changing its name despite pressure from pupils, parents and the public to do so. Why pressure to change the name? Well, this school is named after MASS MURDERER EDWARD COLSTON, who was involved in the deaths of 20,000 PEOPLE including 3,000 CHILDREN during his time running the transatlantic slave trade. According to a representative of COLSTON GIRLS SCHOOL (CGS), the brand COLSTON represents “outstanding education” and traditions must be must be protected… blah, blah.

Here at The BRISTOLIAN we are not sure how keeping the TOXIC BRAND OF A MASS MURDERER is more important than keeping the name Withywood? But then having seen the Ofsted report on how the SMV’s have fucked up the schooling at the so-called Merchants Academy maybe they want to erase both the name Withywood and the education of its pupils.

One rule for the rich and clearly no respect for us or our traditions amongst the Merchant Venturers.