Category Archives: News

Juicy tales of corruption and stupidity from across Bristol

ONE RULE FOR THEM …

Dim Labour cabinet member for women, children and young people, Councillor Helen “Oh My” Godwin has come up with an INTERESTING WHEEZE.

She’s demanding a new maternity leave policy from the council, which would mean that councillors have BETTER maternity benefits and pay than their council employee plebs. This is the same Oh My Godwin who told Full Council in 2016 that she wouldn’t support a cost of living increase in councillor expenses while people were LOSING THEIR JOBS!

No doubt it’s just a coincidence that her friend and Labour cabinet colleague Nicola “La La” Beech is just about to pop off and have a sprog? And if the new rules are passed then La La would be entitled to these ENHANCED maternity benefits through her £40k a year councillors wedge.

Isn’t it nice to see senior Labour councillors looking after themselves so well?

COSTLY CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE JOY

bristol-energy

Our old friend Old Sparky from Private Eye’s ‘Keeping The Lights On’ column cast his eye over municipal ENERGY RESELLING COMPANIES again in January. He explained that Notttingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy would require its THIRD bailout in a year very soon.

He then observed, “the municipal energy supply model is FINANCIALLY UNVIABLE“. A message virtually everybody now gets except the Reverend Rees and his gormless sidekick, responsible for council finance, Craig “Crapita” Cheney.

Early in January, on the day Bristol City Council-owned Bristol Energy announced a further LOSS of £11.2million for 2018, Cheney cheerily announced that the company was at a “at a turning point where it can now begin to play a greater role in the city’s journey towards a CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE.”

What a load of bollocks. How can running up a DEBT, now standing at over £30million – that will never be repaid – help our future? Carbon neutral buzzwords or not?

The Reverend and Cheney need to shut their energy business fiasco down today and apologise to the people of Bristol for wasting their money.

DERANGED ACADEMY TRASHES PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

StokeLodge004

Cotham School’s determination to fence off their Stoke Lodge playing fields to “safeguard” pupils and keep the local community OUT has moved quickly from a little over-enthusiastic to stark raving bonkers in a remarkably short space of time.

The BATTLE over Stoke Lodge has been RAGING since 2011 and efforts to keep the city council land, used as recreational space by the community since 1947, public were finally thrown out by the High Court last year when it rejected a Town Green registration by Bristol City Council.

Now Cotham School are going ahead with their unpopular £160k plan to fence off most of the 26 acre site using dubious ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT’ rules signed off by council planning officers. These rules conveniently stop the issue coming to a planning committee, despite the fact that the school’s plans are OPPOSED by the community, their councillors and their MP, Darren “Dipshit” Jones.

Although all is not quite going to plan for the school, who, since moving contractors on to the site in January, have been caught UNLAWFULLY attempting to put fence posts through the roots of ancient and protected trees and close enough to a badger sett to endanger the animals. Both actions are unlawful and the school already has been forced to quickly redraw their plans TWICE while on site.

Quite why the school needs to fence off the land, let alone DESTROY our city’s NATURAL HABITAT in the process, is something of a mystery. Many schools use public land WITHOUT FENCING as playing fields and, even, OFSTED, has agreed there’s no safeguarding reason why the land should be fenced off and the community effectively THROWN OFF THEIR OWN LAND.

Why can’t this annoying little school run by destructive nature-hating loonies share the space?

‘DAVE’ OF WESTBURY-ON-TRYM ROTARY CLUB DECLARES HIMSELF BRISTOL’S INTERIM MAYOR

By Lucy Balderdash for the Nazi Post

A surprise YouTube video announcement was made today as a hitherto unknown ‘Dave’ stepped forward and declared himself as interim elected Mayor of Bristol, declaring his intention to ‘restore democracy’ to the benighted city.

‘Far too long have we’ve languished under the oppression of the dictator in charge of Bristol City Council,’ said Dave. ‘The state of crisis in the city is intolerable. I call on BCC’s departmental managers to immediately transfer their loyalty to me, and in return I’ll grant those who do a pardon once I take office.’

Consternation at this announcement ensued at College Green, where the Revd. Rees shortly appeared with his response in a fanfare in front of the Counts Louse, flanked by his redoubtable deputy Asher Craig. ‘I will not stand down to this impostor,’ he said. ‘I alone was elected to implement Tory austerity in Bristol, not this “Dave”. I’ve done the job Tessa [Theresa May] gave me well. It’s nothing but an unconstitutional coup organised by my persecutors: those allegedly-homeless racist vagabonds in the Bear Pit and disgusting anarchists working together.’

Dave however claimed to have rather received the tweeted support of other council Mayors including the new Mayor of South Kensington Council, Steve Bannon, and from Bristol’s Merchant Venturers via Mayor-No-More George Ferguson. ‘This proves that not only UK councils but also the international business community is solidly behind me,’ he said. ‘Donald Trump added his tweet of support this afternoon.’

Bristol’s city centre homeless were asked for their opinion of the crisis. ‘Can you give me your coat?’ said a shivering man in a blanket down Broadmead. ‘I’m fucking freezing to death out here.’

MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MANIFESTO

Manifesto

Keeping his manifesto promises was always going to be challenging for the Reverend Rees, not least because we calculated at the time that it contained about 78 UNCOSTED PROMISES in all. However, what we couldn’t predict was how the Reverend would smash through any BARRIERS TO FAILURE quite so spectacularly.

Top of the list must come his promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“, which has now been downgraded to, “I will cancel the existing arena project I promised and instead support a global corporation’s efforts to build an arena in Filton named after an obscure dead bloke who owned our local privatised water utility scam”.

Meanwhile in terms of the Reverend’s highly contested housing promise – “WE WILL BUILD 2,000 NEW HOMES – 800 affordable – a year (by 2020)” – his housing guru, Paul “Wolfie” Smith continues to carefully calibrate the spin with the line that his PROJECTIONS are on target … Even if the actual number of houses being built isn’t!

Then there’s the recycling promise. The Reverend’s recently promoted former waste boss, The Former Socialist Known as Kye Dudd simply CHANGED THE TARGET and hoped no one would notice. We will “increase recycling, setting a target of 55% for all waste by 2020,” thundered the Reverend’s manifesto in 2016.

Fast forward to 2019 and we find The Former Socialist Known as Dudd’s waste overseer, Bristol Waste managing director Tony Lawless telling the Nazi Post, “We are delighted to see Bristol is on track to meet its ambitious RECYCLING RATE OF 50 PER CENT BY 2020.”

The comment came after the Reverend’s council managed to announce in January a measly ONE PER CENT increase in recycling rates since 2015 to 46%. Nothing like enough of an increase to reach 50 per cent, never mind 55 per cent, by 2020 as promised in their manifesto.

Have Rees and Dudd changed their promise in a vain attempt to claim they have courageously fallen a little short of a hugely ambitious target and hope we’ll not notice?

LOOKING KINDLY ON THE CORPORATES WATCH

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The Reverend Rees’s most recent Q&A on Facebook found him in top lying form explaining his super tough policy on developers who FAILED TO DELIVER on affordable housing for the city.

“If on your piece land you FAIL TO DELIVER what Bristol needs, we won’t be very impressed by that and WE WON’T LOOK KINDLY on that when we’re looking to develop our own land and looking for partners to come and develop with us,” he boomed from his Facebook pulpit.

But is this the same Reverend Rees who’s apparently awarded a lucrative contract to a London-based corporate, LEGAL AND GENERAL (L&G) to create a mixed use development on the extremely VALUABLE council-owned Arena Island site? And is this the same L&G that was exposed last autumn as only offering 4 AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS out of a potential 120 on another valuable Temple Quarter site on Bread Street?

When it comes to saying one thing and doing another, the Reverend really is on to something. Indeed, it would appear that the Reverend and his personally appointed £200k a year friend and regeneration chief, Colin “Head Boy” Molton, have looked INCREDIBLY KINDLY on L&G despite them totally failing to “DELIVER WHAT BRISTOL NEEDS” in Temple Quarter and have, instead, embarked on an expensive planning appeal process to get exactly what L&G needs at the city’s expense.

When he was first MYSTERIOUSLY APPOINTED by persons unknown, virtually the first thing Head Boy Molton did was visit the London offices of L&G ALONE on12 December 2017. He met them again ON HIS OWN at the Council House on 24 January 2018. On 5 March 2018 he had a telephone call with representatives of L&G and “NO NOTES FROM THE CONVERSATION EXIST“. On 8 June 2018 Molton and the Reverend met representatives of L&G in the Mayor’s Offices.

Early on Tuesday 2 October 2018, the Reverend and and Colin Molton attended a breakfast with representatives of Legal &  General and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative on “how we can create renewed infrastructure, housing, energy and urban regeneration in Bristol”. Later that morning the Reverend and Molton met with the CEO and the Head of Public Affairs of L&G at City Hall and “NO NOTES FROM THIS MEETING EXIST“.

During this time the Reverend and Molton FAILED to meet with arena developers, Arena Island Ltd at all. Then on 23 August 2018 L&G released a press statement titled ‘Legal & General unveils vision for major urban regeneration project at the Temple Island (former Arena Island) site in Bristol’.

Failing to deliver for Bristol seems to work rather well for some corporate developers who have the ear of the right people doesn’t it?

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

Council bosses continue to deliver a pile of NONSENSICAL CRAP instead of working WHISTLEBLOWING ARRANGEMENTS for their staff.

Delivering their ‘Annual Review of Whistleblowing Arrangements’ to the Audit Committee, bosses trumpeted to councillors that their review included “a survey of 100 CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYEES“.

Although the sheepish bosses went on to admit “the response rate to the survey was limited with only 22 RESPONSES RECEIVED“. This means around 0.3 per cent of council staff were actually surveyed, which seems a rather small amount to be building a working policy around.

The information gathered from the small amount of staff brave enough to respond was, however, deeply worrying. As staff admitted they have not reported concerns due to “FEAR OF REPRISAL” and “CONCERN THAT NOTHING WOULD BE DONE.”

Audit bosses response to this, supported by the city council’s hapless HR department, was to advise the Audit Committee that they needed to “REINFORCE THE MESSAGE“. Even though “the message” coming through to staff appears to be “don’t you dare blow the whistle at Bristol City Council”

After discussing the matter for a while, councillors concluded that their HR department needed to take responsibility for “REINFORCING THE MESSAGE” so that staff understood that whistleblowers have legal protections and any allegations of malpractice are taken seriously (honest guv, ed).

An odd decision since their current Director of HR and Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, appointed last year, was working as a senior HR consultant in Wakefield in 2006 when six social workers were SUMMARILY DISMISSED for trying to reveal serious children’s SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS.

The concerns were regarding children living in care homes run by Wakefield Council who were being exposed to DRUGS and were at risk of SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Within a month of making their complaints in January 2006, the whistleblowing workers were FIRED. Wakefield Council then tried to get the six workers placed on a government blacklist usually reserved for SEX OFFENDERS.

Bedwetter scarpered from Wakefield in March 2006, before the fallout from the affair, which cost the council £1 MILLION in an out of court settlement to the exonerated social workers. There was also red faces all round at the council when it publicly emerged that they had sought to protect potential CHILD ABUSERS at the expense of WHISTLEBLOWING SOCIAL WORKERS.

Is Bedwetter Walsh really the best person Bristol City Council can find to promote a better deal for whistleblowers?


Rotten Comrades: Disability, Part One By the Dwarf

I had no idea that two weeks after my last article about the (bad) experience of (quite a few) black and ethnic minority staff that the council would hold a ceremony celebrating the council’s, er, success in supporting people from marginalised backgrounds (otherwise known as the ‘Stepping Up’ program). I might not have helped.

So it is with that recognition that I am hoping that the council aren’t about to announce some sort of ceremony celebrating the Council’s success in supporting people with disabilities, because today – hold on to your hats – I have quite a few things to say about how the Council treats its disabled staff, too.

The Council is bad on disability. Its worst offender is Adult Social Care (the “caring” profession), but other departments get a dishonourable mention as well. It’s not always the manager’s fault, because sometimes they want to help their staff, but pressure from more senior managers and woeful advice from HR makes it inevitable that staff don’t get the help they need.

Let’s be clear about this: the employer MUST make reasonable adjustments to help disabled staff overcome organisational, operational and physical obstacles. The Council – or at least its managers – treat any adjustment that requires them spending any of their budget on it, as unreasonable, which is quite wrong.

So what happens is that a person who has deteriorated in physical or mental ability takes some time off – perhaps they have an operation or a spell recovering from a breakdown of some kind. They consult their doctor who says, ‘I’ll write you a fit note saying you must have light duties. Here you go, they have to give it to you – it’s the Equality Act 2010.’

Except, when that person does return to work they get told: ‘we don’t have light duties.’ So the staff member goes back on the sick. They don’t have any choice, they have a disability, they aren’t as able as they were before.

A few months later, the sick pay has run out, management have popped round twice and very nicely, over a cup of tea and a digestive, given you a level one and then a level two ‘notice of unacceptable attendance’ and you have to go back to work or face ruin. The HR adviser was a very nice woman who nodded whenever you spoke and frowned in all the right places.

That HR adviser is the one who will tell you, when you get back, that because of ‘the needs of the business’ there are no light duties and that we will now need to give you a ‘stage three final review of attendance’. You reply that there is always paperwork that needs doing, or perhaps it is just visiting people’s homes that you can’t do anymore and perhaps you could do triage instead? And why are you giving me a stage three when I have done what you wanted and come back to work? But the answer is no and the stage three is just policy.

One of three things happen next: you go back to work on their terms and have a fall; you go back on the sick and they hold the stage three in your absence, dismissing you; or you phone the union and try and get what is supposed to be an ethical employer to accept its responsibilities.

There is another pitfall that unwary staff fall into that the employer is only too happy to lay. If there are no adjustments that can reasonably be done – and scepticism would be my default position on this – then medical redeployment is a reasonable adjustment. What if there are no suitable jobs? What if I get no help? Well, at the end of the redeployment, if you haven’t found another job you are then on the dole.

What sort of impairments are we talking? Cancer, musculo-skeletal injuries, fibromyalgia, depression, macular degeneration – those sorts of things. All serious and all debilitating unless you get the support you need to work with less pain; happy and productive in your occupation. You may have seen them struggling their way around City Hall, terrified of being managed out of the business.

It didn’t use to be like this. In the old days, if you had seen better days your manager would’ve done his best to look after you. Something bitter and hard-hearted has happened to the Council.

LABOUR NEWS

The selection process for the Labour mayoral candidate in 2020 continues to be gripped by BUREAUCRATIC INERTIA. As nobody, it seems, in the entire Labour movement still has any idea how the trigger ballot process they’re proposing to use to decide if the Reverend runs again or not actually works or when it might take place.

However, we do now have some idea about the Labour-affiliated organisations who will DECIDE whether the Reverend Rees gets a free run at re-election next year or whether he will need to go through a proper and, likely, very tricky ONE MAN ONE VOTE selection process within his own party.

We’re reliably informed that 25 Labour WARD BRANCHES made up of members have a vote each in the trigger ballot; 15 SOCIALIST SOCIETIES have a vote and 77 TRADE UNION AFFILIATES have a vote. Members, many of whom oppose the Reverend, are therefore outgunned THREE TO ONE by the votes of faceless trade union bureaucrats. If this ballot ever happens, the result seems a foregone conclusion.

Meanwhile the Bristol Labour Party, encouraged by Momentum campaigners, has forged ahead with an “open” selection process for its candidates for councillor. Although all might not have gone quite to plan after a well-organised LGBT LOBBY helped out by right wing  DARREN “DIPSHIT” JONES SUPPORTERS in Bristol North West managed to get two female socialists and opponents of Rees’s Tory austerity agenda REMOVED from the councillor list for “transphobia”.

Naturally, the usual ragbag of Blairites, social climbers and former Lib Dems who tend to make up the majority of Labour’s council candidates have all been waved through for selection as candidates.

ONE CITY FOR BUSINESS

ONE CITY FOR BUSINESS

With a large public relations fanfare, the Reverend’s ONE CITY PLAN and re-election campaign was launched upon us in early January. This plan is another absolute tsunami of DRIVEL of the kind we have now come to expect from the Reverend Rees.

Created by overenthusiastic copy writers working to the Reverend’s instructions, the plan attempts to PREDICT what the city will be like in 2050 thanks to the Reverend’s ideas. And yes, it is as embarrassing as it sounds.

For a LABOUR Mayor leading a LABOUR administration, the plan, however, lacks much in the way of traditional left wing content. Our search of the document revealed the terms ‘socialism’; ‘nationalisation’; ‘tax’; ‘taxation’ and ‘public ownership’ appear a grand total of ZERO times. While ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’ get ONE appearance each in the Reverend’s grand design for a golden future.

However, the term ‘BUSINESS‘ appears 63 times while meaningless Reverend Rees jargon such as ‘sustainable’, 50 appearances; ‘leadership’, 17 appearances; partnership, 13 appearances; diversity, 23 appearances and ‘innovation’, 10 appearances, are LITTERED throughout the document.

Basically, it’s a load of right wing American BUSINESS SCHOOL BOLLOCKS of the kind the Reverend was spoon fed on his crappy leadership course at Yale.

Is this the future we want?