Monthly Archives: February 2024

HOPKINS ON THE MOVE

Hopkins - Guriben colour
Gary Hopkins; the portrait by Guriben

It’s very nearly goodbye to Gary “Fuckbucket” Hopkins, the man who brilliantly wrestled the title of most hated person in Knowle off Mary Smith.

Branding his constituency ‘the desirable part of Knowle’ in 2003, he nailed his colours to the mast. Then blocked off our streets; got the Friendship shut down citing ‘undesirable elements’; shut the historic Talbot Coaching Inn and helped to rob our green spaces.

The icing on the cake was enthusiastic backing for the insane Broadwalk development, which will effectively trash the area. He formed the Knowle Community Party but has now cleared off to Brislington leaving his mess behind him.

Why did he come to Bristol and what has he gained?

PHOTO OP WATCH

Bris meadows (1)
  1. 16 April 2021:  Bristol Labour politicians had their photos taken at Brislington Meadows, insisting they would be saving a Site of Nature conservation Interest (SNCI).
  2. 23 June 2023 Bristol Labour politicians had their photos taken at Yew Tree Farm insisting they would save an SNCI.
  3. 12 September 2023: Bristol Labour politicians had their photos taken at Blackswarth Road Wood at Crews Hole Road insisting they would save an SNCI.
  4. 30 November 2023: Bristol Labour politicians vote to develop South Bristol Crematorium next to Yew Tree Farm, an SNCI – no photos available.

ELECTION WATCH

Desperate times for Greens trying to get their national co-leader Carla “Head Girl” Denyer elected in the new constituency of Bristol Central.

Princess

Formerly Bristol West, the constituency of “Thingy” Thangam Debbonaire with a majority north of 10,000, the Greens are currently begging Tories to vote for them!

A leaflet dropped across the leafy constituency, notorious for its Guardian-reading electorate, explains “the Conservatives can’t win here” and has a Lib Dem-style graph where unidentified “independent polling experts” say the Green vote is up 3.4 per cent; Labour down 7.7 per cent and Tory down 4.5 per cent.

Meaning that Labour are set to easily win the constituency despite ecstatic noises from the Greens over their latest snooty candidate in a constituency they’ve insisted for years they can win.

Another issue: if  “independent polling experts” say that the the combined Labour and Tory vote is down over 12 per cent and the Greens’ up 3.4 per cent, where the fuck have all the other votes gone?

Are voters giving up on the ‘progressive’ crap that the colour branded parties dump on us?

HALLS WELL

Beacon interior

Mystery surrounds how the £80m debt the Reverend Rees has run up refurbishing his cultural legacy project, the Bristol Beacon, is being funded.

Borrowing £80m, even at council rates would cost around £4m – £5m a year. Figures not cropping up in any financial projections published at the council.

That’s because the overpriced hall is being part-funded from this year’s capital underspend. Money that should have gone on other projects but didn’t. In October, Rees’s Cabinet approved “the reprofiling of this underspend of £68.8m from 2023/24 into future periods.”

Among the many budgets raided to fund this elitist concert hall are the schools budget (£5.9m); the SEND investment programme (£3.9m); Highways and Traffic infrastructure  (£4.2m); the housing delivery programme (£3.5m) and the Harbour’s operational infrastructure budget (£2.5m).

All stuff we, presumably, can do without now we’ve got an expensive concert hall?

WATCHING THE WATCHMAN

O'Gara
City Council legal eagle Tim O’Gara in action

Has Bristol City Council’s posh clown Monitoring Officer, “Li’l” Tim O’Gara, broken the law? A recent meeting of the council’s optimistically named Value and Ethics Committee revealed that Bristol has not upheld a complaint against a politician in over six years. Not impressing residents who’ve made complaints.

One complaint was about Asher “The Slasher” Craig’s private company receiving payments from Bristol City Council that personally involved “Li’l” Tim. Another revealed that “Li’l” Tim kept two separate registers of interest for the mayor. One public, one private with different entries!

Oversight of “Li’ll” Tim’s handling of complaints, so far, has been from a so-called “independent person”, appointed by ‘Li’l’ Tim whose identity is a secret.

When grilled by residents why the “independent person” wasn’t appointed in public at Full Council as required by the Localism Act, “Li’l” Tim explained, “it would be a complete misreading of the legislation to think that the appointment would need to be made by Full Council.”

Such a “misreading”, in fact, that at Full Council on 14 November an “independent person” was set to be hurriedly appointed by councillors as the law asks!

Has “Li’l” Tim been caught red-handed breaking the law?

DOG WHISTLE WATCH

Highly paid consultant blames parents and asylum seekers for huge overspends in SEND

Vanessa Wilson
Vanessa Wilson: Interim Director of Racist Scapegoating

Enormous overspends emerging in the council’s SEND budget are not the fault of council bosses squandering money on private sector rip-off artists; spying on parents or paying providers not to deliver SEND services we’ve paid them to deliver.

Turns out, instead, the overspend is the fault of parents and, er asylum seekers. At least, that’s what Vanessa Wilson, a well remunerated management consultant employed on a large undisclosed fee, claimed at a recent council meeting.

“Due to a lack of provision in our area, we’re placing more children in schools out of area. There’s parental choice as well. That’s meant that we’ve seen, in this last year, a doubling in costs of our transport,” she shamelessly explained.

But, as parents are liable for transport costs at a ‘parental choice’ of school, any doubling in transport costs is down to Vanessa’s department’s failures and nothing whatsoever to do with parents.

Vanessa then went after asylum seekers: “We’ve got a large number of children and families coming in who are asylum seekers. We’re seeing an increase in those families where not just the children have complex needs, but also the parents.”

With only 1,500 asylum seekers in Bristol, is it likely this tiny number are responsible for Vanessa’s ballooning costs?

Or is she using them as a convenient scapegoat for her department’s ongoing management failures?

TINFOIL HAT NEWS

Marvin-Rees tinfoil

Has the Reverend let the cat out of the bag? At a Full Council Meeting in September he was asked by a member of the public if he “agreed that planning decisions should remain nonpartisan in Bristol?”

Back came the bizarre response, “It is disappointing when planning applications are rejected on brownfield sites when we have a housing and climate crisis for political reasons.”

Is the Reverend just using the so-called housing and climate crises as convenient pegs to hang his pro-corporate developer right wing economic agenda on?

“The truth is out there, but so are lies …”

NO TRADE UNIONS PLEASE, WE’RE AMERICAN

ameresco

Fancy that! Ameresco, Bristol City Council’s US corporate partner in the City Leap joint venture – the world’s most expensive public works contract – doesn’t recognise trade unions!

Top due diligence there for a £10m outlay from our over-promoted posh twit Tory-boy council Chief Exec, Stephen “Preening” Peacock and his hopeless clean energy team.

What a bunch of arseholes.

MEET THE ‘CLIMATE LEADERS’

Nicola-Yates-1024x684
Lady Gaga: a leading bank balance

News just in from our You Really Couldn’t Make This Ridiculous Shit Up Department:

While hanging around looking for a job in Dubai at COP 2023, the global climate talking shop, the Reverend Rees got a gig on a panel at the UK Climate Action Forum & Dinner.

Rees was billed as a ‘UK climate leader’ along with another familiar face who got to deliver a speech. Please step forward the one and only Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates!

This is the former Chief Exec at Bristol City Council who was rather unceremoniously ‘disappeared’ from Bristol with a generous £200k handout after running up a mystery £30m deficit in the council’s accounts in the lead-up to the mayoral elections back in 2016.

Is it a requirement of a ‘UK climate leader’ that they have a history of failure and being shown the door?

The electorate, of course, sent the Reverend packing last year. Scrapping the post of mayor after an abysmal performance pissing our money up the wall.

Is there some fail Bristol, become a ‘UK climate leader’ rule?