Category Archives: News

Juicy tales of corruption and stupidity from across Bristol

BUILDING OUR WAY OUT OF THE HOUSING CRISIS?

Jessop Way

Plans and sales literature have been published of the new 3 bedroom homes at William Jessop Way, Hartcliffe near Bridge Learning Campus that we are now invited to call ‘Jessop Park’. According to the blurb these homes are “ideal for first time buyers and growing families”. And the cost to first time buyers and growing families” in south Bristol? A snip at just £307,950!

The development by Keepmoat Homes is on former council land and the Reverend Rees gushed to the press when his plans for the land were announced: “We are delighted to be involved with a project that addresses one of our city’s most urgent priorities – building more housing, particularly affordable homes in areas that need it the most. We want to make Bristol a city where everyone has a safe roof over their heads, and we cannot do that without developments like this.”

Look out for much more ridiculously expensive “developments like this” on council land when the council’s housing company Goram Homes in partnership with private developers gets building near you.

You’ll be delighted!

SCHRODINGER’S CONSULTANT

THE EMPEROR'S NEW WAGES

Chaos at a Bristol City Council HR meeting today as hapless HR Director Mark “Bashar” Williams cheerily announced that Town Hall Fat Cat Colin “Head Boy” Molton, our very own semi-detached senior officer on £1,500 a day, no longer worked for Bristol City Council.

This was shortly before Tory Boy councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy described Bashar and his boss, Head of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh’s statements on outsourcing cleaning and security staff as “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich”!

Alas, Head Boy’s surprise disengagement from the second highest paid local authority job in the UK was short-lived after a member of the public asking questions about Head Boy’s whopping £274k pa pay packet piped up that Molton had attended  a Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh Cross Party Working Group on 22 January!

This left Bashar to foolishly mumble that “this is the information I have been given”. While who provided such an outright lie to Bashar – peering out from Zoom beside his boss, notorious liar, Head of Workforce, John Walsh – to feed to a committee of elected councillors was not made clear. 

Irish Tory councillor, Paula O’Rourke who creeps and crawls around the Counts Louse under Green branding made a feeble attempt to ride to Bashar’s rescue explaining that she chairs the Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh Cross Party Working Group and that everything was above board and Head Boy was being paid by “projects”!

So that’s all right then. All sorted. The man earning the second highest local authority salary in the UK does not work for Bristol City Council, he’s just paid by them while doing their work?

HISTORY COMMISSION’S OWN GOAL HELL

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Own Goal Cole: let’s hope his taste in history is better than his taste in shirts

What do you get if you combine a committee of snooty academics from the University of Bristol with a committee of time-serving Labour Party Hacks? THE BRISTOL HISTORY COMMISSION!

This ongoing FARCE, set up by the Reverend Rees in the wake of the Colston statue dethroning, has lurched from PR COCK-UP to PR DISASTER and now seems to be aiming to achieve all-out city-wide LAUGHING STOCK status. 

The Commission got off to bad start with lots of people from across the city when its newly appointed Chair – who no one had ever heard of – University of Bristol History Professor Tim “OWN GOAL” Cole, decided, after a phone call with the CPS over the summer, that his Commission would COLLABORATE with the Avon & Somerset Police and become part of the criminal justice system. 

Own Goal, we learn, UNILATERALLY made the dubious decision – of questionable academic ethics –  that his commission would be part of the PUNISHMENT for protestors who hauled down the Colston statue and got conditionally cautioned by police for criminal damage. Prof Own Goal agreed to oversee a questionnaire where protestors would set out their reasons for their actions. Remarkably, most members of the commission only learned of Own Goal’s dodgy decision when they read about it in the Guardian on 18 September!

Own Goal’s next brilliant wheeze was to get some interns in to do the commission’s work for them because all these very important people are “TOO BUSY“. Own Goal personally advertised the internships – exclusively for University of Bristol post grads – at £10 PER HOUR funded by his Brigstowe Institute who, we’re told, receive money from, er … Wait for it … the MERCHANT VENTURERS, the city’s loathsome Colston cultists and dodgy statue enthusiasts!

Own Goal’s ad immediately came to the attention of #shitjobwatch, who monitor “very precarious or exploitative University of Bristol jobs”. They described the four internships as a “FIRST CHOICE” example of such practices. What does History Commission member and head of the South West TUC Nigel Costley have to say about that then?

And finally, when is Own Goal going to get off the phone to the Guardian, get his arse in gear and answer the simple set of questions about his commission sent to him last August by the Bristol Radical History Group? 

Has Own Goal got any answers?

LABOUR HOUSING ROW

A row has broken out among Bristol’s Labour councillors over the Reverend Rees’s efforts to freeze council rents this year. The result is that crucial budget papers for the Housing Revenue Account were pulled from a Cabinet meeting at the last minute this week. Could a WAFER THIN voting majority at the Council House mean that the Reverend finally has to take some notice of his long-suffering backbenchers rather the unelected City Office business wankers and evangelicals he usually surrounds himself with?

The Reverend, having already made a song and dance in the local press about his generosity in freezing rents to help the poor, has been left high and dry by these backbenchers. The row directly pitches the LONG TERM VIABILITY of our council housing stock against short term electoral needs. The Reverend and his supporters are keen to push through this freeze believing it will ATTRACT VOTES when elections finally happen. 

Another section of his party is more concerned that the freeze will create a HOLE in the Housing Revenue Account and will affect the council’s ability to build new homes; renovate old homes and meet their targets to retrofit homes to meet climate change targets. The cost of retrofitting, alone, is conservatively estimated at £0.5 BILLION

The £1.8m cost of a freeze for this year reduces the council’s ability to borrow to meet their housing commitments in the future. LESS rental income means LESS ability to borrow money. We’re told that this £1.8m actually amounts to over £50 MILLION less to spend on our council housing over the next 30 years. 

There is also evidence from around the country that other authorities that have not raised enough money through rents have been forced to PRIVATISE their housing stock or seek out private ‘partnerships’ to support building and renovation plans.

As well as an effort to hoover up votes with POPULIST PLOYS, is the Reverend also trying to further lever open the door for a CORPORATE ASSAULT on our council housing through his mysterious City Leap public-private partnership programme that’s been eyeing up our city’s council housing assets?

Watch this space.

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

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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