Category Archives: News

Juicy tales of corruption and stupidity from across Bristol

RELIGIOUS NUTTERS TO RUN BCC’S HOUSING PROJECTS

The Mayor’s Christian crazed-cultic friends to run a new 200 home housing development in Bristol.

RELIGIOUS NUTTERS TO RUN BCC’S HOUSING PROJECTS (main)

Grave-sucking Bethel cult (see The BRISTOLIAN, 50) ‘apostle’ and Bristol Housing Festival director JEZ “I’m no housing expert” SWEETLAND has used his weirdo ‘fluence over Marvin Rees to SEIZE control of a projected housing development of 200 HOMES on Airport Road. Public funding will come from Homes England and the homes built by IKEA/Skansa, according to cabinet papers signed off by the Reverend Rees this evening. For providing land to the circling corporate and evangelist vultures, BCC gets ground rent.

30 per cent of these cheapo IKEA houses will go to Bristol’s vulnerable and needy at ‘affordable’ rates (no doubt including bonus ‘spiritual’ brainwashing by Marvin’s grave suckers), while the rest of the chipboard ‘innovative modular technology’ FLAT-PACK CRAP gets sold to wannabe home-owners who can’t afford anything better and are desperate enough to sign up and pay a mortgage on one.

The IKEA/Skansa house building vehicle is aptly named BOKLOK(s) and has been expanding into the UK’s cash strapped housing-for-low-earners construction market since 2007.  A summary of what BoKloks ‘housing’ is all about is found in Australia’s ‘The Daily’ of June 28, where Dr Troy of New South Wales University says that focusing “on reducing construction costs … JUST REDUCES STANDARDS OF HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS.”

As well as his efforts to warehouse the city’s poor in crap accommodation under the ‘Bristol Housing Festival’ brand, Sweetland also attended the MIPIM ‘property developer’ CARTEL JUNKET in Cannes with the Mayor in March. He’s also linked to a circle of local churches (New Hope in Hotwells, Woodlands in Cotham, and Christchurch in Clifton are three out of five or more) and a wider network of front businesses and ‘community’ organisations, especially active in the Stokes Croft area. These include Love Bristol, Release Academy, Happytat, Elementary Bakery and The Well Launderette. All are directly or indirectly connected to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, California .

BSSM, as The BRISTOLIAN has warned before, is a BONKERS US evangelical cult that seeks influence in high places across the world by placing its ‘advisors’ (such as Marvin’s RACHEL MOLANO – is she a BCC employee or not?) close to leaders it has BRAINWASHED. These include right-wing Australian PM SCOTT ‘Let Them All Drown’ MORRISON, and our very own Reverend Mayor.

Beyond their bizarre, creepy beliefs and practices, readers should be aware that the BSSM founders have expressed SUPPORT FOR TRUMP, EQUATED ABORTION WITH GENOCIDE, and rally behind the discredited ‘CONVERSION THERAPYFOR GAYS. BSSM also loudly assert that Bristol is their ‘SECOND CITY ON A HILL’. Their takeover of rust-belt Redding, California being their first CHRISTIAN GENTRIFIER COLONY.

The Reverend can have whatever personal beliefs he likes, but he cannot COMPROMISE HIS PARTY or ABUSE THE SECULAR AUTHORITY OF HIS OFFICE to advance his dodgy cult and its dubious agenda in our city.

The BRISTOLIAN SAYS… BOKLOKS TO THAT!

Hear Jez Sweetland for yourself (from 23 minutes he preaches the Bristol Housing Festival to his church and boasts about his Bristol City Council connections: http:// https://www.mixcloud.com/hopecommunitychurch-talks/jez-sweetlands-life-of-faith-and-bristol-housing-festival/

Cabinet report: http:// https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/documents/s41854/190923%20Airport%20Road%20Cabinet%20Paper%20FINAL.pdf

DON AND DUDD’S DOOLLALY BRIDGE SHAME

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Built in 1820, Kingsweston Iron Bridge, which takes pedestrians safely across busy Kings Weston Road, is Grade II listed and a source of pride and affection across North Bristol. It’s now been CLOSED FOR OVER THREE YEARS after a lorry hit it in November 2015. This happened immediately after a botched resurfacing job by Bristol City Council, which raised the height of the road, built on solid bedrock.

Bristol City Council finally released a bizarre plan to repair and restore the bridge in March but have now CANCELLED any works because “there’s a lot of heritage issues” according to clueless Labour transport boss, Kye “The” Dudd. This latest delay arrives after The Dudd personally fronted a madcap and expensive proposal to DISMANTLE THE BRIDGE and then attempt to raise it by a metre to stop lorries smashing into it.

A plan that The Dudd’s own impact assessment states would cause “SUBSTANTIAL HARM” to the bridge and a plan immediately rejected by Historic England, concerned that if the council dismantled the bridge it would never be put back up.  “Historic England have seen other examples of structures being ‘temporarily’ dismantled for repair, only for their reinstatement to be abandoned for financial or operational reasons,” they warn. Instead Historic England say it would be cheaper and quicker to put up some SIMPLE METAL POSTS either side of the bridge to protect it from tall vehicles.

Meanwhile, exasperated residents in north Bristol have been left scratching their heads at a fiasco that’s taking longer to resolve than Brexit. They’re especially pissed off with their local councillor, our dear old friend Don “Lenin” Alexander. Promising residents he would sort their bridge out, Lenin has FARTED ABOUT FOR THREE YEARS now failing to keep any promises while assuring residents that council highways middle management clown Chris “Doolally” Dooley had the solution. The man who fucked the bridge up in the first place.

At present the only winners seem to be the scaffolding contractors, responsible for keeping our bridge up. They are now into a fourth year of easy money from the council taxpayer.

TRANSPARENCY WATCH

Another showpiece meeting of the council’s Human Resources Committee in early July left Bristolians none the wiser about what’s going on and who’s earning what in the council they fund. No less than three items on a very short agenda of, er, four items for the meeting were conveniently ‘exempt’ and therefore KEPT SECRET FROM THE PUBLIC.

And what were these items marked as top secret? The ‘SALARY OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – PEOPLE’ and the SALARIES OF ‘DIRECTOR EDUCATION & SKILLS AND EXECUTIVE CHAIR BRISTOL HOLDING COMPANY‘. A final secret item was an ‘Exempt Minute extract’ on the subject of the SECRET PAYOUT by the mayor to his former Chief Exec, Anna Klonowski.

Meanwhile, another report sneaked out by the council to the cabinet tells us that, “organisational redesign including the council’s senior management structures” OVERSPENT BY £248K IN THE LAST YEAR. This means the Reverend’s heavily publicised claim to have cut executive pay at the council is not accurate.

No wonder a committee with a Labour majority is keen to keep secrets about any further executive handouts.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS CRISIS

As it emerges that they’re going to miss their affordable housing target of 800 homes by 2020, the Reverend and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith are now resorting to DESPERATE MEASURES and cheerleading some pretty shabby development proposals through the planning system.

In June a Bristol City Council planning committee waved through permission for a 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road at Totterdown. THE HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN in the local community over a development that doesn’t meet the requirements for tall buildings outlined in the Local Plan – a policy revised just months before by the Reverend’s administration – was overlooked by a Labour majority Planning Committee, apparently IN A HURRY TO JUST GET SHIT BUILT.

The Reverend’s Housing Czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith took to social media before the planning meeting to give the development a PR BOOST, announcing, “Great to see Hadley group commit to at least 30% affordable housing and up to 50% for their proposed development on the old garage site on the Bath Road”.

Although developers, Hadley, had actually committed to just 20 per cent affordable housing and the council had agreed to SUBSIDISE a further 10 per cent (with possibly a bigger bung to come) with public money. This is despite the development being unsuitable for families and children, not least because it’s on one of Bristol’s busiest roads and has NO OUTDOOR PLAY AREA.

Meanwhile over at Hengrove Park – where the council’s vision of 1,500 homes on a public park was thrown out by planners just a few months ago because it didn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan – A NEW PLAN has appeared proposing just 50 houses less, which still doesn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Residents in Hengrove and Whitchurch are UP IN ARMS at the poorly revised plans, which look set to be forced through by another Labour majority planning committee seeking affordable housing numbers rather than decent development. However, if the committee passes the plans, the community are promising a messy Judicial Review. And we all know Bristol City Council’s record at Judicial Review is ABYSMAL.

Watch this space.

Rotten Comrades: Unfair Dismissal Appeals and Other Problems For Our Class


By The Dwarf

It is commonly recognised that appeals to government bodies very often help. As a rule of thumb I would say appealing loss of benefit or a parking ticket should give you around a fifty-fifty chance (should you have some sort of excuse), so you may as well have a punt. I say usually, that is if you appeal anywhere else but at Bristol City Council where properly mandated, democratically elected bodies no longer seem to be able to action their decisions. We’ve seen this recently with the special education needs appeals but we also see it in both Councillor and Mayoral inability to control council officers.

Controlling council officers is a political problem because, for reasons of national policy, council officers have the right to (effectively) water down possibly loony council decision-making. Sort of. Essentially. So it is quite hard for the Mayor to sack someone if there is a democratic decision to do something and nobody puts that into action properly. This decentralised style of administration trickles down further to organisations such as local authority controlled schools who have the right to do whatever they damn well please while being funded by us.

So, when a struggling single mother with a handful of a child (perhaps with profound learning difficulties) wins her appeal to have a better specialist education for her child, the school refuses to obey the decision, making the whole process a hopeless waste of time. What then happens, the appeals team try and gauge what the school will accept before giving up and making some sort of feeble, virtue-signalling non-decision.

“So, Brother D,” you might ask – “what has this got to do with the unions?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First off, this is about class, both for struggling mums and dads in an uncaring society, but also about having a functioning, municipal democracy. And secondly, this trickle down of irresponsibility and intransigence is affecting the staff too.

The appeals committee which hears dismissal appeals from our staff, has for some time given up trying to reinstate staff who are innocent or who are naughty but don’t quite deserve sacking; but do deserve to be given a kick up the backside before being told to get back to work. I’m not saying the odd one or two haven’t charmed their way out of the ‘long walk’, but the majority haven’t, in my and the other comrades’ experience. I used to be quite happy, back in the day, making the usual ritual protest while the member got the dressing down of their lives, taking comfort in the fact that we’ve managed to avoid another walk of shame to the dole office (or worse). But HR (you know the weaponised, smiling assassins I wrote about last time) now make it clear such actions are impossible.

Since then, the kindly old gentleman chairman, firebrand eco-warrior and old class warrior we normally get invited to address, offer the staff member a nice cup of tea, a bit of sympathy and a biscuit, before tapping the member on the shoulder and showing him the door. I preferred the kick up the arse and reinstatement.

More recently, the tea and biscuits have also gone.

Which makes the whole process a complete, bollocking, waste of time, because we then go off and win a tribunal. The point of the appeal is to set right unfair dismissals: they should consider the matter with open minds and bravely overrule, if that is the just decision, regardless of the pressure from HR. It does beg the question what sort of feedback auditing there is to the committee so that it can review how well it has done.

There is more to say about HR and its militant strategy of getting people out the door regardless of the settlement cost, and just how motivated they are in doing this, but I’ll leave it to next time.

Solidarity,
Brother D

COUNCIL SCREWS VULNERABLE RESIDENTS OF ‘HOSTEL FROM HELL’

Despite the EMERGENCY CLOSURE of a hostel at 57 Prince Street for fire hazard and impending criminal charges for negligence, the disgusting capitalist scum, unregistered landleech Jayne Brown and her scamming, corrupt ‘business partners’ in the University of Bristol, Barbados and Spain are allowed to hold on to their STINKING PROFITS.

Meanwhile, 85, mainly young Spanish people, evicted from the hostel have been refused help from Bristol City Council because they “DIDN’T MEET PRIORITY CRITERIA“.

Neither, as promised, have the city council opened a hostel at St Anne’s for these victims of capitalist gangsterism. This means 85 mostly young Bristol-Spanish service sector workers are now SOFA-SURFING and many have LOST THEIR JOBS in the shite end of Bristol’s low pay gig economy.

In the words of one forcibly-homeless Spanish worker speaking to BCC staff yesterday in the Temple of Doom: ‘The GOVERNMENT in Spain is FUCKING SHIT, but at least EVEN THEY would have GOT US RE-HOUSED BY NOW.’

Unfortunately not in Bristol, a ‘CITY OF SANCTUARY’. Neither has this blatant evidence of the mass warehousing of foreign gig economy workers in dangerous conditions and the involvement of
dubious employment agencies,  attracted the attention of Bristol’s, usually, noisy modern slavery campaigners.

Are they on holiday? Or do low waged European nationals not count in Bristol?

 

OFFICIAL: GYMKHANA JESS HAS NO STANDARDS

GYMKHANA JESS HAS NO STANDARDS

Bad news for the snooty twats of BBC Radio Bristol up in leafy Clifton. The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit has concluded that their hilarious ‘joke’ song ‘Hartcliffe Lass’, broadcast by Tory public schoolboy twerp James “Posh Cunt” Hanson on his shite radio show in March was a “SIGNIFICANT BREACH OF THE BBC’S EDITORIAL STANDARDS”.

This follows months of denial from Posh Cunt and his snooty Radio Bristol station boss, “Gymkhana” Jess Rudkin. Both claimed the song, which characterised young women in Hartcliffe as slags up for a bit of dogging and incest, was ABSOLUTELY FINE. Indeed, these entitled twats, who don’t seem to understand or care about their own editorial guidelines, began their defence by thoughtfully broadcasting to anybody objecting to their representation of working class Bristolians that they needed “TO GET OVER IT”.

However, when people chose not to, er, “get over it”, thicko station boss, “Gymkhana” Jess wrote out gormlessly explaining that “SOME PEOPLE FIND SOME THINGS FUNNY, SOME PEOPLE FIND THEM OFFENSIVE”. An explanation so vacuous and insipid it could be used to justify rape gags and race gags. Is this good enough from an arbiter of taste and standards on the public payroll?

At this point, presumably, to save the BBC from further embarrassment, “Gymkhana” Jess was sidelined and a new crew – “SENIOR STAFF IN BBC ENGLISH REGIONS” – took over to deal with mounting objections to Jess’s shit song and her shit excuses for it. This new lot of well-heeled BBC bosses first claimed that Hartcliffe was “A FICTIONAL SETTING” and therefore no offence could have been caused. Then they claimed that complainants’ views were “EXTREME“. Thus pitching Posh Cunt’s public schoolboy misogyny as some sort of normal, mainstream attitude suitable for broadcast on daytime BBC radio with no explanation or apology.

Insulted complainants, sick of the lies and bullshit emanating from local BBC management, passed the matter to the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit who have admitted what most people already knew. THAT THE SONG BREACHED THE BBC’S EDITORIAL GUIDELINES and complainants had been subjected to a load arse-covering bullshit from inadequate local BBC bosses deliberately overlooking their own editorial guidelines. Although the person ultimately responsible for this dubious conduct, “Gymkhana” Jess, seems to have received NO SANCTION WHATSOEVER.

We suggest that both her and Posh Cunt are forced to quit the BBC and give up the generous pay and benefits. Then they can fuck off into YouTube obscurity with all the other nutters in the small corner of the internet reserved for their brand of reactionary, misogynistic right wing shit.


ARUP’S PLANNING CONFLICT

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Another example of the Reverend Rees’s WEIRDO corporate free market Christian evangelical ideology appears with news that the CORPORATE PRIVATE SECTOR are moving into the city council’s planning department to deal with planning applications.

Corporate consultancy firm Arup, who specialise in picking up OUTSOURCED PUBLIC SECTOR work, will soon be, “processing a range of planning applications and associated work within reasonable timescales and will contribute towards housing delivery amongst other objectives.”

Will this contribution towards housing delivery include Arup overseeing the Reverend’s major development plans for the CUMBERLAND BASIN? The one where the company delivering the masterplan is, er, Arup!

The contract has been awarded with no political oversight or input from councillors.

BANKING BONANZA FOR THE FEW

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Another wheeze from businessmen aimed at getting Bristol City Council to part with our money under the guise of “SOCIAL INVESTMENT”? This time it’s a once-in-lifetime opportunity to invest in a regional community bank where remarkable profits and social benefits await according to the bank’s highly optimistic guff.

The bank’s called Avon Mutual and their blurb is predictable. ‘Restoring trust in banking’; ‘Banking for inclusive growth’; ‘Reducing the poverty premium’ shout some of the straplines from this “SOCIAL MISSION” to address “REGIONAL INEQUALITIES” and “MAKE FINANCIAL INCLUSION THE NORM“. The bank’s just completed, a year late, Stage One of a three stage fundraising process after it blagged £100k off the Reverend’s cabinet, promising “two free shares for every share purchased”.

Stage One’s £600k target was reached thanks to the Reverend, gullible hippies at Stroud Council, two unnamed “local foundations” and an unspecific number of “local individual impact investors”. Stage Two will see the bank attempt to raise A FURTHER £2M for “Investment to finalise licensing, test systems, build bank team and first branches and an HQ”. Avon Mutual promise “one free share for every share purchased at this stage, which they estimate” equates to circa 15% IRR“. A remarkable rate of return not promised since the early days of Bristol Energy! How can Bristol City Council resist?

Stage Three, currently touted for 2021 wants £18M OF INVESTMENT to draw down the day after their license is gained “to capitalize (sic) the bank”. Investment in this round we’re told “will result in one share and circa 7.5% dividend”. However, before the city council jump even further in, perhaps they should note how their investment in Stage One is being spent.

A brief glance at Avon Mutual’s annual report reveals Jules Peck, Director and Secretary of this social benefit, has been DRAWING A SALARY OF £85K A YEAR since 1 January 2018, which means ONE FIFTH of Stage One monies have already ended up in his pocket. More of our money is also forked out to the Chairman of the board at £750 A DAY (£195k pro rata) and to directors at £500 A DAY (£130k pro rata). Posts all conveniently earmarked for the gang of retired ex-bankers featured in the bank’s prospectus and the very people who made banking untrustworthy in the first place.

Very nice work if you can get it (and, trust us, you can’t).

BATTLE OF THE BEARPIT

As the dust settles on the Reverend’s underwhelming and overpriced ‘BATTLE OF THE BEARPIT’ eviction assault on the city’s street homeless, People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and Bearpit Improvement Group stalwart, Chris “The Pot” Chalkley should allow himself a wry smile at the council’s thinking behind this latest turn of events. The Reverend Rees unleashed his PRIVATE STORMTROOPERS to clear the Bearpit of squatters and the homeless on 19 June after what he called “escalating public fears” following a low-key statement from the police that a man had suffered a minor facial injury in the Bearpit.

The Reverend’s assault led by ineffective community worker turned ‘Street Czar’ Kurt “Wendy” James appeared to be devised as a HIGH PROFILE MEDIA EVENT and troops were piled in ready for a headline-grabbing scrap with the squatters of the Bearpit. Although things didn’t go quite to plan when just one man was arrested for a non-violent offence while the rest just drifted away from the Bearpit with a “fuck you” to the Reverend’s para-military bailiff team. Within a few hours bailiffs were stood around with the press in the middle of, possibly, THE MOST EXPENSIVELY SECURED ROUNDABOUT IN HISTORY.

The Battle of the Bearpit took place after an eviction hearing at Bristol’s Court of Justice where the city council arrived with a swanky barrister on top-dollar who proceeded to fail to prove the council owned the Bearpit. The court, instead, had to make do with a statement from ‘Street Czar’ Wendy claiming the council did own it but just couldn’t prove it at the moment. The barrister also blustered to the court that there was “AN URGENT NEED FOR “REDEVELOPMENT AND REGENERATION” at the Bearpit.

Really? An urgent need to expensively redevelop and regenerate a concrete underpass beneath a roundabout? This is why Chris The Pot should be pissing himself laughing. When he announced ten years ago that he intended to turn this ABANDONED, UNLOVED and UNDERUSED underpass popular only with the street homeless into an important cultural quarter, vibrant public space and open-air art gallery there were gales of laughter. Followed by a shrug of the shoulders from anyone in authority who had spent years pursuing a policy of “TARGET HARDENING” and “DISSUASION OF USE” in what studies had discovered was THE MOST FEARED SPACE IN CENTRAL BRISTOL. Certainly, no mention then from snooty bastards about “an urgent need for redevelopment and regeneration”.

So what’s changed? When did the Bearpit become valuable real estate? Who changed it and how? And who gets to cash in?