To the The Guild of Guardians website, which tells us that this obscure invitation-only organisation for the wealthy “is a registered charity that aims to improve the quality of the Civic life of the City of Bristol. In partnership with the City, the Guild continues to support and enhance the Mansion House and Office of Lord Mayor.”
So far so exclusive, dull and conservative but then it tells us, “It is unique in that through its membership it affords the opportunity for the private sector to discuss with senior politicians the policies of the City Council.”
How nice. Selected wealthy members of the private sector get to discuss the policies of the city council with its politicians in exchange for donations to do up the Mansion House and crawl up the Lord Mayor’s backside.
A heroic reader has suffered Guardian columnist, Owen “Luvvie” Jones’s latest book, ‘This Land: The Story of a Movement‘ so we don’t have to. The book is “a compelling, page-turning journey through a tumultuous decade in British politics” according to the, er, Guardian, and describes the rise and fall of the Corbyn movement in the Labour Party.
Our reader says the book is “overwhelmingly worthy and dull” but a small remark catches the eye.
“Corbyn’s then head of media, Kevin Slocombe, did not respond to requests from the newspapers for comment, and the matter seemed to end there. But the Mear One controversy resurfaced over two years later.”
A rare reference to the Reverend’s PA “Slo” Kev Slocombe who worked for Corbyn during his first year as Labour leader. And, surely, it’s no news to local journalists to find Slo Kev ignoring difficult questions about his boss from the media? On this occasion Slo Kev ignored the Jewish Chronicle from November 2015 when they asked ‘Did Jeremy Corbyn back artist whose mural was condemned as anti-semitic’
The mural, Freedom for Humanity, was painted near Brick Lane in London in 2012 by graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One. Some claimed imagery in the painting was anti-semitic and Corbyn waded in, commenting on Facebook, “you are in good company. Rockerfeller destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”
The comment sparked questions from the Jewish Chronicle, which Slo Kev strategically ignored. But the issue of anti-semitism never went away for Corbyn and ended up wrecking his leadership when the press started digging at loose ends after the general election in 2017.
A question arises: could Corbyn’s career have been saved if his media operator had nipped accusations of anti-semitism in the bud in 2015?
Rather than performing his usual trick of ignoring tricky allegations and hoping they go away?
Bristol City Council’s house building company, Goram Homes, have binned plans for housing on the council-owned section of Western Slopes. However, corporate developer Lovells still have a planning application outstanding on the privately-owned section of the land. This application includes an ecological report prepared by Bath’s Ethos Environmental Planning.
Ethos describe themselves – in purest word salad -,as a “multi-disciplinary environmental planning consultancy providing specialist advice to inform decision making for planning and development”. So does it come as any surprise that Ethos ecologist, Jim Phillips, who’s produced a helpful ecological assessment for Lovell’s at Western Slopes, was found to have breached CIEEM’s (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) Code of Professional Conduct?
This was in relation to an ecological assessment he did for a planning application in Crewkerne, Somerset. Phillips, bearing an uncanny resemblance to a useless partially sighted illiterate, only managed to survey a portion of the Crewkerne site. The bit, coincidentally, that’s not registered as a local wildlife site by Somerset Wildlife Trust. He also forgot to take into account the badger population in the area and didn’t notice a number of ponds and hedgerows on the site.
Now, not dissimilar concerns regarding the quality of Phillips’ efforts for Lovells at Western Slopes are emerging from local campaigners, Bristol Tree Forum and Manor Woods Valley Group.
Of course, any claim that there’s a network of bent ecological consultancies prepared to work for the benefit of corporate property developers with deep pockets would be conspiratorial nonsense wouldn’t it?
An intriguing request appeared on What Do They Know, a public Freedom of Information request website, on 19 February 2022. Subsequently, in early March, ‘extraneous material’ was removed from the request. Here it is with the ‘extraneous material’ unremoved. What can it all mean?
All is not well in world of WECA, the fucked up reinvention of Avon that’s under the notional control of Labour’s loopey Metro Mayor, Dan “The WECA Man” Norris.
Our newswire has been throbbing with gossip that there’s been a number of senior exits from the organisation. All accompanied by non-disclosure agreements and large non-contractual pay-offs, possibly in excess of the £74k forked out last year on a couple of generous exit packages.
Among those ‘disappeared’ is our old Bundred friend, now WECA Monitoring Officer, Shahzia “Dim” Daya. Her latest political crisis occurred a few months back when she incorrectly advised The Weca Man that he had a right of veto over the decisions of the obscure ‘West of England Joint Committee’.
Other senior bosses following Dim Daya out of the door include senior directors Malcolm Coe and David Carter, Jason Humm, Head of Transport, Ruth Wilmshurst, Head of Comms and Scrutiny Manager Ian Hird.
This leaves weirdo WECA Chief Exec, Patricia “Psycho” Greer, to further consolidate the uninterrupted power and influence she enjoys over the Metro Mayor position. Greer – whose corporate culture is “like something out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting” – is well known for denying officers any access to the mayor. Insisting that everything goes through her instead. A situation former mayor, Tory Tim Bowels, and now the WECA Man seem comfortable with.
Word is, as long as the WECA Man has some PR red meat to throw at the public, he doesn’t much care what’s going on with the staff.
The St Monica Trust, one of the city’s most notorious “providers of retirement accommodation and care in a range of different settings” has started an all-out assault on their low paid care workers who worked throughout covid for the wealthy charity in appalling conditions.
The Trust is pretty much a front for the racist slave trade cult, The Society of Merchant Venturers, who manage a “substantial endowment on behalf of the charity” as well as providing six trustees to the charity. Among these trustees are some of the cult’s most notorious scumbags, including former Masters such as Ross “Arsehole” Ancell and Tim “Dross” Ross as well as former chair of Green Capital Andrew “The Pie Man” Garrard.
These institutional racists’ are using the despicable practice of ‘fire and rehire’ on their hard-working low paid care workers. Their plans include substantial cuts to pay by reducing night and weekend enhancements; slashing weekly hours and removing paid breaks.
The wealthy toerags also propose targeting other terms and conditions including sick pay and are looking to change shift patterns, which will play havoc with childcare arrangements by making long days almost impossible.
Finally, different jobs will be merged into a generic “customer service” role with people expected to do work they never signed up for and perform tasks they aren’t trained to do.
The Venturers, who proudly list Cullum “Cunt” McAlpine, a notorious trade union buster as a member, have also been highly resistant to recognising and working with trade unions over their scurrilous plan. They have been especially keen to identify any workers who may be members of a union.
Rest assured, unions are planning a robust and public response to this right wing anti-worker, anti-union pile on from the racist scum Venturers and any of their revolting little helpers at St Monica’s Trust.
To Tuesday’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting on Tuesday where the horrifying City Leap privatisation project was being discussed. The £7m two year procurement process is now over and US firm Ameresco has got the winning bid with state-owned Swedish firm, Vattenfall, as a partner.
The headline news is that the city’s heat networks, built and funded by council taxpayers and the government since 2015, are to be handed over to Vattenfall to run. This generous award of public assets to a private firm appears to have no price tag attached.
Not that this seemed to concern councillors on Tuesday, who appeared intensely relaxed at news of a multi-million pound public asset being given away to the private sector.
However one exchange between the council’s City Leap kingpin Executive Director Stephen “Preening” Peacock and Lib Dem Councillor Tim “Little Asshat” Kent caught the eye.
Councillor Kent had the temerity to ask the preening Peacock what a cost of £1.2m (which may not have been unattached to a bung to Bristol Energy) was for in Peacock’s exorbitant procurement costs. The exchange went something like this:
KENT: “What was the cost of Energy Innovation Services in 2019 for?”
PEACOCK: “It’s a historic number We don’t have anything more to say on that today”
KENT: “OK I don’t recall that. So what was it”?
PEACOCK: “I don’t have the Information today”
KENT: “Can anyone recall what that is. It’s £1.2m and nobody knows what it is. It’s about 15 per cent of the budget”
PEACOCK: “I’m not saying we don’t remember. I’m saying it’s not relevant … If you’re trying to allude to Bristol Energy. It’s that. It’s been dealt with at previous meetings.”
KENT: “I wasn’t a member of [the committee] then so it doesn’t stop me from asking questions. Even if you don’t like the questions.
PEACOCK: “I’m simply saying this meeting is to talk about the outcome of a procurement and if you want to discuss the outcome of a conversation we had two years ago we’re very happy to do that.”
KENT: “What I’m discussing is the figures that are presented to us here in the room I just asked a simple question. I had a suspicion. I wasn’t actually sure but that figure particularly stood out. My real question about that then – what was it? Because it was a lot of money?”
PEACOCK: “We’ll write to you afterwards if you like? We have been focussing today on City Leap procurement. This is just merely a restatement of a budget that’s been in there with the only additions and changes being the information you’ve now seen to close out that period,. Which effectively, I think, we’re about £100,000 within the budget and then we’re looking for a fresh approval to get into the mobilisation and transition phase. All I’m saying is we’re not in possession of that information today because it’s a historic matter.”
KENT: “I think that the budget was reported about 18 months ago that it would be no more than £6.5m. [it’s now £7.3m]. I thought my question was perfectly reasonable. I see you don’t.. Anyway I’m done. Thank you.”
In the space of a couple of minutes, Peacock variously says: “we don’t have anything more to say on that”; “I don’t have the information”; “it’s not relevant”; “it’s a historic matter”.
Would you trust this man to sell your heat network to a multinational corporation?
The Reverend’s grandest of grand plans to build an underground for Bristol continues to chug along in its own deranged manner as his proclaimed start date for the build, 2024, looms nearer.
The latest word from Metro Mayor Dan “The Weca Man” Norris, who holds many of the purse strings for this imaginary project, is that “tunnels may well be needed”. In the context of this project’s magical thinking and total non-delivery, this statement of the obvious should be considered considerable progress.
After all, who needs anything like an expert feasibility study for this biggest of big projects when we’ve got Dan The Weca Man bringing his searing insight and expertise to the table?
With the Labour A-Team of the Reverend and the Weca Man so well informed and on top of detail what can possibly go right with this project?
Watch this space and, in the meantime, keep taking the bus
A net zero noose is tightening around the centre of the city. A disorganised council mess of road closures, bus gates and half-arsed signage devised by the cream of shit-for-brains council transport officers has made navigating the Centre a near impossibility for motorists. Next year comes the Clear Air Zone, bringing road pricing to the city centre travel party.
But not to worry. You’re not cut off from the centre of your own city in the slightest as you can always follow the net zero apostles’ gospel and hop on a bus to town instead.
That’s what Worst Bus shareholders will be hoping, anyway. As, to celebrate this bright new dawn of Net Zero travel in the sustainable city, Worst have hiked the cost of a day ticket 18 per cent from £4.50 to £5.30.
Net zero is a nice little earner for some isn’t it?