Category Archives: News

Juicy tales of corruption and stupidity from across Bristol

Solidarity with the Colston Statue Defendants – 1st Court Date 25th January – Events Online All Day

From Alternative Bristol

Solidarity with the Colston Statue Topplers – Events & Background

4 Defendants face their 1st date in Court on charges of criminal damage, for their alleged involvement of the toppling of the 125 year old statue of Edward Colston, whilst a huge Black Lives Matter protest  was taking place in Bristol on the 7th June 2020. Many hundreds of protesters participated in the toppling of the Colston statue, and then dragging it to the harbour before sending Colston to swim with the fishes – the same fate as that experienced by so many enslaved Africans on the transatlantic slaving ships, a business the slave-trader and former Tory MP Edward Colston, and others, got very rich from.

What’s On?
Initial plans by campaign organisers & supporters for a solidarity protest on 25th January outside Bristol Magistrates Court (Court info) have been scuppered by covid-19. The risk of infection; the high likelihood of dispersal orders and fixed penalty notices (£200) or arrests for supporters; and fines of upto £10,000.00 for identified organisers; and the subsequent media frenzy about ‘illegal’ protests would distract from the Defendant’s case – it should be noted this is just a Plea Hearing, where defendants plead Not Guilty, or Guilty, and if Not Guilty a Trial is expected to follow, possibly as far away as 2022?! So events have now moved online:

9.30-10.00am: see this FB eve – a 30minute teach-in & spoken words on a livestream, with an 8 minute silence at 9.45am to remember the 84,500 people whose kidnap and enslavement Colston helped to fund and organise during his time with the Royal Africa Company. As well as taking time to celebrate the enslaved whose many rebellions brought about abolition.

9.30am-10.00pm
 – please share solidarity photos and post to the FB Event or to your social media using #GladColstonsGone, saying why you’re glad Colston’s statue is no longer on our streets. And keep checking back for updates/more details. Feel free to drop banners, paint murals/slogans, go chalking, or just do your thing – DIY.

7-10pm
: Livestream of local films via the Cube Cinema from 7-9pm, then panel discussion 9-10pm with Lawrence Hoo, Michael Jenkins and Rob Mitchell – chaired by Councillor Cleo Lake.
Info & tickets (free but donations to campaign welcome!) via Cube Cinema or BRHG.

Background: Campaigners in Bristol have spent years trying to tell the truth about Colston, his kind, and their murderous business practices. They have worked to bring an end to the continued memorialisation of Colston in Bristol – the statue, paintings & other monuments, buildings, schools, pubs, street names etc promoting his name are a continued expression of racist oppression & exploitation, perpetuated by Bristol’s white wealthy elites. Because of their classist and racist beliefs, Bristol’s elites, led by the Society of Merchant Venturers (articles), have resisted attempts at change & ignored factual challenges – being forced into only minor reforms & adjustments…although since 7th June Closton’s name has disappeared at a rapid rate! The protesters on 7th June clearly decided Colston’s towering racist presence could continue no more, and pulled him down. Well done we say – We All Did It!

For the 25 January & after – get ready & get active – here’s some local links that will provide you with all the info, news & comment you need to get upto speed & involved:
Countering Colston campaign –  FB / twitter – @CounterColston / useful links for more reading
All Black Lives Bristol (organisers of 7th June and later protests) – Instagram / FB /
Bristol Radical History Group – articles on Slavery & Resistance / articles on Colston / twitter – @BrisRadHis
Alternative Bristol – articles on Colston & protests / FB / twitter – @Alt_Bristol_
Bristol Cable – articles related to Colston / article looking at reparatory justice
Bristol Post – articles over several years on Colston & related issues – mainly by journalist Tristan Cork
Byline Times (8 June article) – 12 Facts that Prove Black Lives Don’t Matter in Britain
St Paul’s Carnival – scroll down this link here for history resources
The Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership – research and analysis of slave-owners & how they benefitted from compensation when slavery abolished
Bristol Defendant Solidarity – Know Your Rights – info & legal support for protesters

MORE OUTSOURCING NEWS

outsourcing-it-e1601990841992

News that the Reverend Rees has decided to ‘co-source’ (that’s the same as out-sourcing but with ‘out’ replaced with ‘co’ to fool the very gullible indeed) security and cleaning jobs at the council out to one of their badly governed and unaccountable private company arms, Bristol Waste, has been met with dismay from just about everyone. Even the city’s number one raving proto-fascist, Richard “Bunter” Eddy, Tory Councillor for Auschwitz (surely Bishopsworth? Ed.) has criticised the move.

Our man on the picket line, “I’m all right” Jack Stalin, tells us, “The only possible reason for doing this is, in the long term, to cut the terms and conditions of low paid cleaners and security staff and outsource the council’s risk to a third party who can operate public services without being accountable to the public. The simple fact is that these low paid staff will be forced on to Bristol Waste contracts where terms and conditions are not as good as at the council. 

“They also lose any democratic oversight of their terms and conditions. Instead, they’re now part of the private sector and subject to the whims of the council’s shadowy unaccountable company directors, corporate bean counters and highly paid consultants who want to squeeze every last penny out of the workforce while awarding themselves fat fees as a reward for their ‘efficiencies.'”

Is the council’s new “Build Back Better” post-Covid plan to put all their staff on crap “Built Much Worse” contracts? How many Labour supporters in Bristol voted for this latest piece of right wing toxic Tory shit from the Reverend Rees? 

Unison, the GMB and the Unite unions have all raised a formal dispute with the council about this latest assault on the lowest paid by the highest paid. It’s one of ELEVEN separate disputes the unions now have with our shambolic Labour-run council. Security staff, meanwhile, have already managed to collar Rees and ask “How would you like it”? 

They got no useful response from this bosses’ lackey, we’re told.

OUTSOURCING WATCH

A readers writes …

H&S

“Please find attached photo (courtesy of Bristol Post today) of a contractor working for Bristol City Council on the Centre. For a council that states it is a leader in health and safety, surely they should know anybody using the tip of a chainsaw to cut timber without safety trousers is asking for an accident?”

How easy it is to save money and outsource risk by using the private sector to risk lives instead …

BRISTOL’S SOCIAL HOUSING REVOUTION IN FULL

In the week that the ridiculous Guardian newspaper ran a story funded by a bank – ‘Meet the man who was part of a social housing revolution‘ – featuring Paul ‘Wolfie’ Smith, the Reverend Rees’s housing supremo who ran away, a new banner appears on Hengrove Way. The latest attempt to sell glamorous new build flats next to a dual carriageway?

investment

Buy-to-let flats? How revolutionary. By strange coincidence, the other side of Creswicke Road, overlooking this new banner lies the Reverend’s new corporate chipboard housing project courtesy of Ikea:

Boklok

The 3 bedroom homes here are currently listed on Rightmove at a price point of £275K.

Vive la revolution (if you can afford it)!

LABOUR PURGE LATEST

Reports emerge of more Labour Party madness in the lead-up to Christmas as apparatchiks from the party’s South West regional office turned their attention to the Bristol East Constituency Party. And the party bureaucrats are now so keen on purges that although the chair and secretary in Bristol East had resisted a Corbyn-supporting motion passed by their membership earlier this month, they got purged anyway! 

This means that the elected leaderships of Bristol’s North West, West and East Consituency Parties have all been suspended without explanation by their party. Nationwide, 40 more CLP officers were similarly removed during the week before Christmas.

In Bristol North West, now managed by Councillor Brenda Massey, who’s previous career high was quietly decorating George Ferguson’s useless rainbow Cabinet, and the South West Regional Office, requests to hold a constituency party meeting have been directly refused by the regional apparatchiks. They insist the next constituency meeting will be an AGM to elect new officers some time next year at a time they decide.

Looks like an interesting year ahead in Labour politics …

THE GREAT BRISTOL NORTH WEST PURGE

masseycoup (2)

Has there been an anti-democratic RIGHT WING COUP in the Bristol North West Constituency Labour Party, home of ambitious Blairite “Dipshit” Darren Jones MP?

It sure as fuck looks that way as the Chair and Secretary of his branch have been mysteriously PURGED and “DISAPPEARED” by Jones and Labour South West Regional Office bureaucrats. This followed an overwhelming popular vote (58-19) at a meeting of the constituency Party last month in favour of a mildly supportive motion of former leader Jeremy Corbyn and questioning his suspension from the Labour Party.

Bemused Labour Party members in Bristol North West have received no explanation about what’s happened to their Chair and Secretary. Instead they’ve received a cursory note informing them that they CAN’T HOLD MEETINGS FOR TWO MONTHS and that Labour Councillor for Southmead Brenda “Beria” Massey, a hardcore Stalinist and Dipshit Daz groupie, has either been appointed by Regional Office orr else she has appointed herself “Acting Chair” of the constituency Party and then has unconstitutionally SUSPENDED THE ENTIRE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE until further notice.

ENTER NAPOLEON IN DRAG

Requests that the upright-standing pigs Dipshit, Beria or the Regional Office bureaucrats explain what’s happened to the elected Chair and Secretary and how Commissar Massey was able take over a constituency party and obtain the member information database have so far been REBUFFED.. 

Instead, members have been told by Beria Massey that she will be holding an AGM “as soon as party rules allow”. This is unlikely to be until LATE FEBRUARY. Although the Great Leader Sir Keir “Bell-End” Starmer’s Bristol NW chief of secret police does not seem to be able to quote the Party rules concerned when asked for them.

Dipshit, meanwhile, has infomed Party members that it’s “NOT FAIR” to ask his Acting Chair what the hell is going on and announced, “I have been asked to host an MP’s  [Zoom] Q&A in place of the [constitutional] December meeting of the CLP”. Who asked Sub-Commissar Dipshit to host this event is not clear. Did the move originate in Regional Office or in Bell-End Starmer’s Central Politburo itself?

PAT BALL OR PAINT BALL?

Rumours are now filtering out as this goes to press that certain “known” Labour members were not even permitted access to Dipshit’s Zoom meeting. And of course, Jones answering a few PAT BALL questions from a selective audienceof former Tories from Westbury-on-Trym is no replacement for a Constituency Labour Party meeting, where he’d likely get a volley of PAINT BALL questions.

In Bristol NW these recently elevated upright-pigs insist that they remain “in charge” – in contravention of all discernible LP rules and procedures. 

What a fucking shit way to run a so-called democratic party

ONE SMALL LEAP FOR BRISTOL: ONE GIANT PAYDAY FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR?

Leap 82429

“We should never have been in the energy business,” is the Reverend Rees’s mantra regarding Bristol Energy. The deranged energy reselling wheeze delivered courtesy of a pair of hapless elected mayors and a supporting cast of idiot senior council bosses and greedy private sector troughers that has cost the city an estimated £50 MILLION during a long period of austerity and public service cuts.

But why, if we should never have been in the energy business, is the Reverend now setting up ‘CITY LEAP‘, a “billion pound” public-private vehicle to decarbonise the city? Or is “the delivery of a local interconnected, low carbon, smart energy system in Bristol that provides long-term social, environmental and economic benefits for its residents, communities and businesses” not “the energy business”? If not, what is it?

This latest Bristol City Council energy project, which, like the last one, is promising social, environmental and economic benefits to the city is also, like the last one, shrouded in mystery. Albeit an even more EXPENSIVE mystery with the best part of £10million already shifted to the private sector to pay for legal and procurement consultants who have finally delivered a shortlist of three multinational corporate ‘partners’ for the project.

But what is this project? So far, we understand, the council will be handing over their limited number of ENERGY ASSETS – mainly some half-finished city centre heat networks and wind turbines to a multinational company to “implement competitive heat retail and competitive heat generation across the heat network”.

In English that means the multinational will be making A PROFIT from public assets by charging the competitive rate they choose to supply energy from our public infrastructure. However, this is nowhere near a “billion pound” project, which makes some recent announcements from the council’s housing department rather interesting. 

They say, “Housing recently assisted the City Leap team with updating and revising documentation for the City Leap project, which included the INFORMATION ON OUR STOCK and the potential OPPORTUNITY for improvements to net zero. Housing will continue its liaison with the City Leap team and notes the significant benefits that having a pre-procured partner for project delivery and, potentially, investment could have on the rapid roll out of carbon reduction programmes.”

In other words Bristol City Council Housing Service intend to sign A CONTRACT IN ADVANCE with a multinational to retrofit all their council homes. Then should any large government grants for retrofitting council homes roll in to the council – such as through a ‘GREEN NEW DEAL‘ – they’ll roll straight out again and offshore to a corporation who can charge whatever they want and do whatever they want.

They’ll be no competitive tendering; no local opportunities; no local profit and little democratic control over any housing improvements or the public funds for them. This could, potentially, amount to tens, if not hundreds, of MILLIONS in grants.

Of further concern is another missive from the council’s housing department, “it is anticipated that the retrofit of domestic properties will be included in the program of works delivered by the City Leap Energy Partnership. The REQUIREMENT to retrofit domestic properties is essential to the decarbonisation of heat and to achieving carbon neutrality.”

Is this a reference to privately owned homes? And what is this “REQUIREMENT to retrofit domestic properties”? A project that might well cost that magic “billion pounds”. But how will home owners be “required” to retrofit their homes? Will this have to happen through the council’s multinational partner? Do homeowners pay or do the government pay? Can homeowners be FORCED in to debt to meet this new “requirement”?

Will households in the city end up INDENTURED to some faceless multinational corporation so that the council can live the green dream while delivering an extravagant pay day to a lucky corporate? Is the plan, this time, that the council’s foray into the energy business dumps the inevitable huge losses directly on to us?

We think we should be told,

PARKVIEW DEATH STAR IMPLODES

Parkview-Bristol-1-1

An update on our notorious high-living slum landlord friends, Caridon, who took over ‘Imperial Apartments’, a cheap, shoddy conversion of the old Parkview council offices in Hartcliffe. 

Caridon won a small lottery when they managed to rent 216 of their shitty little apartments, mostly studio flats, to the council. A policy promoted by defective housing department bosses over the summer who thought this was a great spot run by great people to dump the city’s homeless.

Alas, it transpires the council has only let 150 of these pokey little rabbit hutches in the middle of nowhere to the desperate and vulnerable. While the daft contract BCC housing officers signed with Caridon (publicly available online) states clearly that if BCC can’t let the spaces, then they still have to pay the rent in full. This is, we understand, £695 a month per empty studio flat. That’s about £45k a month being shovelled directly to the repulsive boss of Caridon for doing fuck all except owning a property.

 An outcome that the pair of clowns who created this mess, Bristol HomeChoice Fuhrer Paul “Speer” Sylvester and his snooty boss from London, Housing Director Julian “Luvvie” Higson, assured everyone could not happen. They would expertly manage this obvious risk, they assured us, by “raising interest from people in the local community” and holding “a daily morning meeting to monitor progress”! 

Wouldn’t it be fun to attend one of those morning meetings now to hear all the vain and self-serving excuses from Speer and Luvvie for their wholly predictable failure (surely sub optimal progress in a challenging environment? Ed)? A failure that will come as no surprise to the huge number of ordinary Bristolians without any high-earning housing management expertise who told them in the summer, “this is a totally shit idea on every level that you should have no part of”.

In further bad news, it appears that overpaid pillocks Speer and Luvvie have contracted the council to pay for all these apartments, whether full or empty, on a rolling contract with no fixed end in sight. And the pair even negotiated an option to take up a further 199 apartments on the site in January. Will our amazing housing business experts be taking up this exciting offer? Will their contract let them refuse? Do these chumps have the foggiest idea what they signed us up to?

Meanwhile, Health and Safety responsibility in this disastrous deal remains highly ambiguous. Officially, it’s Caridon’s lookout. But we all know how well a very similar relationship of this nature went at Grenfell Tower don’t we?

Speer and Luvvie’s Daily Progress Meeting when the first tenant on Caridon’s watch carks it will be interesting.

WESSEX WATER: KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

Skellett statement

The shape of the YTL/Wessex Water public relations response to the death of four of their staff in an explosion at their Avonmouth sewage plant on Thursday is becoming apparent.

Fronted by Merchant Venturer sleazeball Colin Skellett, there’s a focus on this Bath resident’s attachment to Avonmouth and what the wealthy Tory patriarch calls the ‘Wessex Water family’.

Talk of ‘family’ reminds us of hit and miss leftie luvvie author, George Orwell. Here’s what he had to say when he compared England to a family:

“[England] resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

Who needs this sort of family?

CORPORATE MURDER IN AVONMOUTH?

 A worker that delivers to the treatment tanks at the Wessex Water plant in Avonmouth, one of which blew up today, has told The BRISTOLIAN, “Wessex Water workers there have been complaining for ages that the tanks were in disrepair but the company would not shut down the process. It will have been a methane gas explosion.”

Wessex Water is owned by Malaysian multi-national YTL who are developing the arena at Filton along with a load of unaffordable housing there. The Chief Executive of Wessex Water is Tory donor and Merchant Venturer, Colin Skellett.

YTL paid for the Reverend Rees to fly from China to Malaysia in December 2017 and stay overnight in the Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. they also paid for all his meals on the trip and a flight back to Bristol. The Reverend then set about cancelling the arena at Temple Meads and promoting an arena by YTL in Filton.

Was it worth it Marvin?