Monthly Archives: October 2019

ENERGY SHAMBLES

bristol-energy

As the Reverend launches his long, tedious re-election campaign with the comedy slogan “GETTING STUFF DONE”, devised by his tin-eared PR guru “Slo” Kev Slocombe, let’s take a look at what stuff the Rev’s got done with his energy reselling business Bristol Energy shall we?

The headline stuff is that he’s lost a load more of our money with the company announcing a  £10 MILLION OPERATING LOSS in the year to March 2019. Virtually identical to the £10 million loss he notched up last year! This brings total losses, so far, at Bristol Energy to about £34MILLION.

Our man in the energy business says it’s worth comparing the Reverend’s mess at Bristol Energy with Robin Hood Energy, the energy company wholly owned by Nottingham City Council. “Bristol Energy has 165,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER £76.2 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.3 PER CENT,” he says. “Meanwhile Robin Hood has 167,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER OF £70.3 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.2 PER CENT. So they’re broadly comparable.”

“But Robin Hood made an OPERATING PROFIT on these figures of £742,000. On the same turnover and customers, Bristol Energy made a thumping OPERATING LOSS of £10.1 million. Will the Reverend be asking hard questions as to why this is?”

“Does it have something to do with the 200 STAFF Bristol Energy employ for an identical customer base to Robin Hood who manage with just 99 STAFF? Or Bristol Energy’s wage bill of £7.23 MILLION while Robin Hood’s is just £3.31 MILLLION? Or the highest paid director at Bristol Energy pocketing £242,000 while Robin Hood’s scrapes by on £99,000?”

“Anyone who thinks that Bristol Energy can become profitable by 2021 only needs to study the 2019 accounts. Even if they doubled customers to 330k (highly unlikely) and made only modest increases in staffing/admin costs to support this customer growth they would STILL be loss making,”

These are the inconvenient facts. The Reverend may be able to spin his pet project as a success to a cabinet of clueless arselickers but the public requires a proper explanation for this LOSS-MAKING SHAMBLES overseen by a bunch of unaccountable MONEY GRUBBING SCROUNGERS.

I doubt we’ll get it





SMART CITY WATCH

SMART CITY WATCH

On September 12 the Reverend Rees launched the city’s Smart City Strategy at the ‘Bristol – Sweden Future Cities Summit’. This five-year strategy, “sets out how Bristol City Council will support Bristol’s smart city journey” and, “aims to ensure smart city projects will provide opportunities to more people and communities to assist in the city’s inclusive growth and help towards solutions to issues such as public safety, traffic congestion, energy poverty and health and social care”. But what is a ‘Smart City’ and what are ‘smart city projects’ and why do we need them?

When you see the word ‘smart’ prefixing an object it means one thing. Deploying the internet – originally devised by the US military as a weapon – to collect as much behavioural data about the ‘Smart’ device owner as possible so that the data can be used to predict, suggest and, increasingly, control the user’s actions. Often through ‘nudging’ victims into better corporate citizenship if not outright threatening them with extra-judicial sanctions.

It began with the smart phone. A mini computer in your pocket beaming detailed behavioural data about your life back to unaccountable tech firms and their government and corporate partners. This is the ‘big data’ you hear about or what Google call ‘data exhaust’ as if it’s a harmless waste product without value. If you’ve got one of these phones, then you’re likely to be providing real time information to unaccountable corporations about where you are and what you are doing. And, rest assured, this information is being stored and analysed by tech companies, the government, security services and various corporate third parties.

The smart phone has been so successful at collecting your data and making tech corporations money through the ruthless competitive dynamic unleashed by big data that there’s a huge economic imperative to produce more ‘smart’ products to collect more data about you and your family. Silicon Valley has given this all out assault on your life and privacy a cuddly name, ‘The Internet of Things’.

Cars, homes, public services, exercise aids, finance, shopping, health products, utilities, white goods and much more are all in the firing line for a ‘Smart’ makeover. Google even owns the tech to know what’s in your smart fridge. (Imagine visiting your GP and being told you have been struck off because you had too many pies in your fridge contrary to your ‘Smart Health Agreement’?)

However, to collect this huge amount of behavioural data from the digital crap being foisted on us, you need a ‘Smart City’ infrastructure. A dense mesh of 5G transmitters and receivers throughout the city that can upload and manage the huge amounts of real time behavioural data the ‘Smart City’ prophets require for their big data society.

This is sold to you as “innovation” that will create “jobs and sustainable growth” while delivering personal benefits such as faster internet speeds to download a movie to your handheld screen or the quicker uploading of holiday photos for gran.

Don’t be fooled. The internet is a weapon and the smart city aims it at you.

REVEREND’S HARA KIRI ELECTION PLAN

REVEREND'S HARA KIRI ELECTION PLAN

Is Bristol’s Labour Group at the council, led by the Reverend Rees, attempting to commit some weird form of RITUAL POLITICAL SUICIDE before the local elections next May? What other explanation is there for the STUPID DECISIONS and CRAZED OUTBURSTS emanating from the Reverend Mayor and his daft councillors?

The Reverend has already pissed off loads of communities throughout the city who are unlikely to vote for him or his party next year. These include WHITCHURCH where he’s proposed running a ring road through the community past a primary school; HOTWELLS, ASHTON and SOUTHVILLE where he wants to build his corporate high rise wet dream on their doorstep; STOKE BISHOP where he’s allowed their open space to be fenced off by Cotham School; TOTTERDOWN where his councillors voted through, contrary to the Local Plan, a hideous 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road; KNOWLE where he’s backed another tower block and WINDMILL HILL and BEDMINSTER where the Reverend’s been unable to get any grip on unruly private developers at Bedminster Green.

Then there’s the Reverend’s thicko cabinet sidekick, Kye “The” Dudd’s treatment of the FLY PROBLEM in Avonmouth. The Dudd has courted voters by variously accusing residents of planting dead flies to create a FAKE PROBLEM; blaming the flies on DOMESTIC WASTE left on St Andrews Road and, even, claiming there’s NO FLY PROBLEM and that fly levels in Avonmouth are the same as other areas of Bristol. A claim recently rubbished by the BBC who did their own tests for their ‘Inside Out West’ documentary slot.

Remarkably, things now seem to be TAKING A TURN FOR THE WORSE for Labour. At September’s Full Council, the Reverend, behaving like the last officer standing on a Pacific island as GIs storm the beach, raged about “SABOTAGE” by opposition councillors before burnishing his ANTI-UNION CREDENTIALS by refusing to allow his council to be involved in the Climate Strike on 20 September. The Reverend’s Labour colleague, Tom “Charming” Brooks, then PLUMBED FURTHER DEPTHS while responding to a petition from 3,979 voters calling for a moratorium on 5G rollout.

Rather than calmly quote scientific sources to rationally dispute the petitioners health claims, the Horfield councillor launched into a DEMENTED RANT instead. The petitioners were “naive people who had been taken in by MALICIOUS MISINFORMATION” and “conspiracy theorists fuelled by
fake news and misinformation” and were “PEDDLING PSEUDO-SCIENCE using technical sounding words to confuse people”. However, Brooks dismally failed to cite ANY EVIDENCE to support his insults. Instead, he argued, he was right because he had “the ability to Google and was also as an engineer working in risk and safety”.

Lib Dem, Green and, even, Tory councillors were much CANNIER and CALMER towards this large group of potential voters. Explaining they accepted Public Health England’s view on 5G for now but agreed the health situation should be monitored as the technology was rolled out.

That’s another 4,000 votes down the pan for Labour next May then

 

CITY LEAP SELL-OFF LATEST

Simple District Heat Layout

The ‘Permanent Energy Centre’ on Castle Park will eventually generate some of the energy for the wider ‘OLD MARKET HEAT NETWORK’. This is a plan to supply low or zero carbon heat to connected buildings around Old Market at a cost equivalent to, or lower than, mains gas. To this end the council has now agreed to spend £9.4MILLION (plus £8.8MILLION of government money) installing a heat network around the Old Market area.

However, rather than the people of Bristol and council tax payers DIRECTLY BENEFITING in lower bills from their PUBLIC INVESTMENT into CHEAP ENERGY, the council say, “these projects are important parts of the Bristol Heat Network system and will be important assets under the CITY LEAP INITIATIVE“.

In other words, once this network has been completed at PUBLIC EXPENSE, it will be FLOGGED to the private sector so that they can extract a PROFIT from the cheap, clean energy infrastructure we’ve paid for. A similar heat network at Redcliffe, directly serving SOCIAL HOUSING, has also been put up for sale to the private sector as part of the Reverend’s energy fire sale (surely the billion pound City LEAP Prospectus? Ed).

Why can’t these heating systems REMAIN IN PUBLIC HANDS to deliver any financial and social benefits directly to the Bristolians that paid for them? Why are they being SOLD, before they’re even built, to make PROFITS for a group of global shareholders? Why are Bristol Labour Party using public money to build assets that are already on the market to global corporations?

Who voted for this corporate scam?

CASTLE PARK: WHAT A GAS!

News drifts in about what’s in store for the former city council parks depot on Castle Park. At a cabinet meeting over the summer it was announced that the site would be used for … Wait for it … A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT! Basically luxury flats and a mid-market chain restaurant, then. However, the Reverend’s Cabinet have also agreed to use the site as a ‘PERMANENT ENERGY CENTRE’. With the PR claiming that a Water Source Heat Pump “which draws waste heat from the floating harbour along with gas peak and reserve boilers” will be located there.

co2--thermal-efficiency-energy-efficiency

The reason for the sudden need for an energy centre on the site is that in December 2018 the council’s first COMMERCIAL HEAT NETWORK AGREEMENT was finalised with Castle Park View, the 26-storey residential block being built on the site of the old ambulance station at the edge of the park. On paper, a Water Source Heat Pump is a good thing, providing low cost, low carbon energy from the docks. However, The BRISTOLIAN learns, this ‘low cost’, ‘low carbon’ energy solution will not be ready in time.

Instead, “while the Permanent Energy Centre is being designed and built, heat will be provided by ‘INTERIM GAS BOILERS’, one at Castle Park Depot and the other at Gardiner Haskins car park” just a few metres from HANNAH MORE PRIMARY SCHOOL. Yes, Bristol City Council is installing highly polluting gas power plants in Castle Park and by a Primary School to provide CHEAP HEAT to a commercial development.

The council acknowledge, “this is not a low carbon solution and therefore increases the need for the Water Source Heat Pump which will ultimately replace the use of the gas boilers at Gardner Hoskins which will then be removed with gas boilers at Castle Park Depot retained as peak and reserve boilers only”.

So the long term plan is for a permanent gas boiler on Castle Park to supply cheap heat to luxury flats. Who’s up for that then?

ST MARVIN’S-UP-THE-CREEK NEWSLETTER #23

I trust you all had an optimal summer and managed to get away to a few exotic locations on generous expenses, as I did, for some quiet prayer, reflection and contemplation and to help prepare for the trials and tribulations ahead identified by the parish’s senior leadership team at our recent ‘One Parish’ horizon scanning event. Have you, too, noticed how the dark winter evenings are beginning to descend upon our souls like a spectre haunting Europe?

As most of you are aware, my fixed term contract with the parish is up for renewal in May and, ridiculously, I will have to reapply for a job where I have consistently driven senior leadership excellence. While I know I can rely on most sensible parishioners to support me, I am aware that there are weak-minded waverers among you. But rest assured, any waverers are on Mr Slocombe’s special list and will be receiving a ‘comfort and reflection’ visit from my One Parish Encouragement Team in the coming weeks.

No doubt you are as disappointed as I am that some parishioners have decided to apply to be vicar themselves. I’m talking about Ms Page, already widely regarded in the parish as a socially and sexually deviant woman without husband whose lack of attendance at our cake sale events while brazenly attending local pubs to smoke cigars and talk about bridges with men is well known. And I’m talking about you, too, Mr Hore-Ruthven. Let’s face it, your role on the Parish Committee supposedly supporting young parishioners has, frankly, been a costly and disastrous failure and has led many ordinary parishioners to just point and laugh whenever you swagger past them trying to portray yourself as the only moral guardian in the parish.

I’m also led to believe that Mr Weston, the representative for small business and golfing matters on the Parish Committee, is after my job. Although I can’t help thinking his time and energy might be better spent on a serious weight loss programme. Then there’s Ms Townsend and her ragbag of troublemakers, terrorists and rumour mongers at the parish’s OFSTED ‘Needs Improvement’ Dave Spart Academy – now joined by rowdy elements from the Cumberland Basin, Stoke Bishop, Whitchurch and Hotwells – still attempting to undermine my leadership with Brexit campaign-like sabotage tactics.

They will not win, I shall prevail. My mentor, the Texan psychotic preacher and notorious anti-communist homophobe, the Pastor Righteous Loon’s letter from a Birmingham, Alabama whorehouse comes to mind at times like these :

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the stumbling block in our stride toward heaven on Earth is not the racist, the homophobe, the misogynist, the conservative or the free market liberal but the leftie troublemaker- often the schoolteacher, the local historian, the trade unionist or that annoying jackass who does something techie I don’t understand – who just doesn’t know when to shut up and do what they’re told by senior leaders.”

Fear not, together we will overcome and I will rise again unto a senior leadership role among you.

The Vicar

EASTON ROAD RAGE

All Hallows

There’s still a lot of anger in Easton as the final phase of a council traffic scheme, designed by Sustrans, is implemented with the CLOSURE of All Hallows Road at the Bannerman Road School site.

Critics of the HAREBRAINED TRANSPORT SCHEME claim that in a ward of approximately 14,000 people, just 855 people – about six per cent of residents – were involved in an expensive £180k ‘consultation’ based on hookie stats such as the claim that “39,883… vehicles enter and/or leave the area during a 24 hour period” (by comparison, 60,000 vehicles use the M32 every day). However, since NO RECORDS of this consultation were kept, the council can’t confirm that the people who took part even live in Easton and they can’t deny that the same people attended multiple consultation meetings.

The closure of All Hallows Road is especially controversial as this “additional filtered permeability” didn’t appear until the final phase of the consultation which had less than 92 participants. So, even assuming every single one of them was enthusiastic, we’re talking about LESS THAN 1% OF THE POPULATION in favour. Residents say they were never offered any different ideas or plans. There was never any vote held nor public meetings to discuss options. There was just an announcement “WE’RE CLOSING THE ROAD“. The closure has been opposed at public meetings; opposed in a resident-run survey of over 1,000 people and opposed by local businesses, faith groups and the community centre.

Residents recently fought the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to close the road and requested evidence of how the closure would achieve any of the things being claimed for it such as a REDUCTION IN TRAFFIC, CLEANER AIR and SAFER STREETS? Indeed, they asked, how would the council even measure success since they made no effort to quantify their aims, goals or success level?

A resident says, “They are literally spending money with no way to tell if it has done any good. And you know that this is the case because they have REFUSED at every opportunity to address any of our concerns. Instead, at every phase we have been told “PEOPLE WANT THIS” and “IT MEETS OUR TRANSPORT OBJECTIVES“. Who wants this? Because I can find no-one outside of a tiny group of a dozen people who actually want it. How does it meet their transport objectives? Which ones? In what way?”

Residents continue to say there is an alternative. Close the road between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 4pm. Two hours a day and open on weekends. Simple. Straightforward. Protects the children, makes the area safer at the times when it needs to be safer and doesn’t disrupt traffic into well-known accident hotspots. The council and their councillors just say, “IT’S TOO LATE“.  

Welcome to democracy, Bristol-style.











ON THE BUSES

Is there a city council news blackout about the large decline in bus passenger numbers in Bristol over the last year? Journeys are down 5.3 per cent compared to the same period last year and reveal the current administration, just prior to next year’s election, is bucking the
trend of increasing bus use in the city over the last ten years. Self-styled “city leader” and “change maker”, the Reverend Rees appears to have delivered significant change in at least one important area then.

The Metrobus, which the Reverend strongly supports, contrary to all common sense, as a “first step towards an integrated rapid and mass transit network” apparently, is among services showing
obvious signs of failure after just a year in service. Numbers on the M2 from Long Ashton Park and Ride are down. While the M1 service from Hengrove to the Centre has quietly had its service reduced from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes due to a lack of passengers.

This must be classified as a significant personal failure for the Reverend who has twice taken on the
cabinet transport portfolio during his reign of error. Then there was that ‘State of the City’ address last October. Remember his announcement and the accompanying gushing PR about a “flat fare” scheme in partnership with First Bus? This turned out to be a nonsensical mess, resulting in a
variety of different fares and a price increase for the majority of passengers. Further compounded this summer when First hiked their prices again.

The Reverend’s current cabinet transport chief Kye “The” Dudd also remains silent on this failure.
Preferring instead to waffle on about a pie-in-the-sky ‘Green New Deal’ and the “billion pound City Leap” prospectus, his sell-off of public assets to the private sector.

The Reverend, meanwhile, is now cooking up a pre-election ‘Bus Deal’ with First. Another woolly agreement between Rees and the untrustworthy corporate sharks, that commits public money to various road ‘improvements’ so that First can attempt to further increase their monopoly profits from our pockets. Meanwhile any talk of an underground or any other proper rapid transit system for the city appears to have been removed from the Reverend’s talking points by mayoral spin doctor “Slo” Kev Slocombe.

Hopefully the next stop for Rees and Dudd will be the Job Centre.

 

HEAD BOY’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

HEAD BOY'S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

Disquiet over the Reverend Rees’s plans to ‘transform’ the Cumberland Basin and its aging 1960s road system into ‘Western Harbour’, a GLOBAL CITY HIGH RISE HELL, in the shadow of Clifton Suspension Bridge is growing. A ‘public engagement’ on the gruesome plan, while everyone was away on holiday in August, led to an OUTCRY after it emerged that the Reverend was consulting the public on just THREE of the ten proposals he had received from his consultants, Arup. The remaining seven proposals remain SECRET.

The three proposals the Reverend deemed suitably “transformational” all involve DEMOLISHING the existing road system to “RELEASE LAND FOR DEVELOPMENT“. All three lack detail – just pink lines on a map indicating where any new road system may go – while potentially having A HUGE IMPACT on surrounding communities and the landscape around the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Concerns are also emerging about the involvement of The ENGLISH CITIES FUND (ECF) in any plans. ECF is a joint venture between HOMES ENGLAND, LEGAL & GENERAL and MUSE DEVELOPMENTS. Which raises questions about the role and independence of the Reverend’s semi-detatched £1,500 a day regeneration chief, our old friend COLIN “Head Boy” MOLTON, who will have had a major influence on any plans.

Head Boy was chief exec at HOMES ENGLAND – when it was the Housing and Communities Agency – until he joined Bristol City Council on a unique TAX EFFICIENT PAY ARRANGEMENT in 2017 and immediately cut a secretive, unminuted deal, on behalf of the council, with LEGAL & GENERAL. A deal handing these developers the land at Arena Island should the arena be cancelled.

Remarkably, this is the SECOND TIME Head Boy has been involved in cancelling an arena at the Arena Island site as he happened to be Executive Director of Operations & Development at the SOUTH WEST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (SWRDA) in 2007 when they cancelled their plans for an arena on the site that they then owned.

Head Boy left the SWRDA in 2008 to become director at the South and South West Region of the HCA (now HOMES ENGLAND). By remarkable coincidence, with the winding up of the SWRDA by the Tories in 2011, the Arena Island site was transferred to the HCA. In early 2015, Molton’s HCA, handed the site to Bristol City Council to build an arena and then Molton PITCHED UP at Bristol City Council in 2017 to work for the Reverend. He immediately set to work CANCELLING an arena and negotiating his sweetheart deal with LEGAL & GENERAL to hand them the site for an unispiring, if highly profitable, mixed use development.

Head Boy is now being thrown out of the job he never went through a competitive recruitment process for at Bristol City Council. But will the man, who lists his address with Companies House as Donington Le Heath, Leicestershire, continue to take a personal, proprietorial interest in ANOTHER VALUABLE PIECE OF PUBLIC LAND in Bristol?

Watch this space.

REWARDING FAILURE

REWARDING FAILURE

During a rambling speech to long suffering parents of SEND children in June, council Education and Social Services boss, Jacqui “Trust Me I’m a Doctor” Jensen, admitted there was  “A KIND OF MIX BETWEEN PARALYSIS AND PANIC” in her SEND department. A department that she was paid £150k a year to run with a kind of mix between efficiency and professionalism.

During the same speech she also made the barking mad claim that the humiliating Judicial Review she lost to SEND parents forcing her to reverse the unlawful cuts she had made in her department was, in fact, a  “A TECHNICAL PIECE OF CONSULTATION“.

So what is the council’s response to this shambolic performance from their very own VILLAGE IDIOT? Er, a pay rise! At an HR Committee meeting less than a month after this exercise in absurdity by a senior council boss in front of parents, councillors agreed to accept a recommendation from Jensen’s subordinates that “the annual salary for this appointment be set at the maximum of the range for the Executive Director – People role”. The maximum range being £165k. Or a £15K PAY RISE.

What would a council boss have to do to not get a generous pay rise?