Category Archives: Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty’s Cabinet Diary

The inside scoop on life inside George’s Big Rainbow Tent from Ashley’s Green kingmaker


Welcome to the Hoyty-Toyty World of Bristol Politics!


Bumped into our brilliant new Chief Executive Mrs Yates today while I was wandering around on the third floor trying to find something useful to do. She was at the photocopier running off a considerable amount of paperwork headed ‘GAGGING ORDER’. I asked her what she was up to as a bit of a conversational opening gambit and apparently she was just doing some early preparatory work to pop in the top drawer of her desk. Then she gave me a little grin, grabbed the paperwork and headed off to her office – sorry, I mean flexible work space.

I must say she seems very professional and efficient and she can operate a photocopier! Certainly an improvement on Mr Sims, who seemed to need a PA to switch a light on for him never mind operate a Blackberry or that iPad he was given that he thought was a clipboard for the first three weeks. I sense already that Nicola is the person to lead the new hi-tech open City Hall culture George and I are embedding. Good times!


High-level meeting with new Cabinet member, Labour’s superb Mark Bradshaw today. To be able to work alongside such a supremely gifted and able politician and first rate intellect is a privilege. Mark and I discussed very important matters relating to George’s proposed RPZ scheme that I can’t tell you about. Although we will inform the public at an appropriate time. As Mark said, car parking is far too important to discuss in public.


Had an excellent two o’clock with George today. I must say he’s in a far better mood since he went up to Harley Street to see his doctor about his anxiety issues. He’s now installed a comfy sofa in his office and he was lying on it wearing only his favourite Fairtrade silk dressing gown (red, of course) with his feet up reading Fifty Shades Of Grey! He’s also mentally firing on all cylinders again and has had yet another brilliant idea – ‘City of Cheese’

Apparently he bought a particularly ripe and vibrant brie at our first Make Sunday Special food market and he thinks Bristol Brie could be a really amazing international place-making tool for the city. I could only agree and promised – as the Cabinet lead on food – to get on it right away. I then had to leave as he needed to take his Effexor, whatever that is, and relax for a while.


Finally got in today to see Mr Mann, our transport boss, over at Brunel House. What a strange meeting. When I walked in Mr Mann was holding a small teddy bear at his face level and appeared to be having a conversation with it. “Hello Sir Gus,” he said, “this is Teddy. He helps me with policy.”

Thinking I had better change the subject sharpish, I pointed at a large green safe in the corner of the room that seemed to be wrapped in about four toughened steel chains secured by around six padlocks. “That’s where I keep the Greater Bristol Bus Network performance statistics,” explained Mr Mann. “We can’t be too careful. We don’t want them getting out to the press or public, do we?” he muttered quietly.

If nothing else, I suppose we should be impressed by Mr Mann’s commitment to information security. The rest of the meeting was about RPZs, which I can’t tell you anything about because car parking is quite rightly a top-secret issue.


Had a row today on Twitter with those horrible, nasty, beastly people at The BRISTOLIAN. They keep banging on about this missing £165,000 missing from the Market Service that I’m ultimately responsible for. It is of course all complete nonsense. As George has kindly explained to them there is no evidence of any wrongdoing at all. So come on guys, sometimes you just have to accept that £165,000 just disappears from public sector organisations without any explanation. Mankind isn’t perfect, is it? We just can’t explain everything, can we? Like how bees fly; UFOs; the Loch Ness Monster; the Bermuda Triangle; Alastair Sawday; homeopathy and David Lynch films. Some things are simply pure mystery.

Besides I’m happy to confirm that Mr Harvey, the Facilities Manager responsible for overseeing the money, has fully investigated himself and has confirmed nobody has done anything wrong. The Metropolitan Police seem to be able to investigate themselves without all this fuss. What more do these people want?

They should join UKIP with all the other racist stirrers and RPZ resisters who want to destroy mine and George’s progressive coalition for Green progress in Bristol with their relentless focusing on silly little details and small amounts of missing money rather than looking at the big canvas of Bristol George and I are busy colouring in green.


Welcome to the Hoyty-Toyty World of Bristol Politics!


First meeting of the new four-strong city council Green Group and it went very well indeed. We almost fill a small corner of a Committee Room now! We covered everything from how totally opposed we are to any of the cuts we vote for, to hammering out some VERY SERIOUS POLICY POSITIONS.

First in the in-tray was the super controversial Resident Parking Zones. After some frank, open discussion and very serious debate, and with brilliant input from all our councillors, we agreed a consensus policy on the issue. Basically, on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, we are totally in favour of the Resident Parking Zones. We will meet again next week to hammer out what to do if there’s a fifth Wednesday in the month. On weekdays – except, obviously, the first and third Wednesdays – when the sun shines we are against the parking zones. On weekends, regardless of the weather, we think it should be left for the communities affected to decide.

We then had a vigorous debate about rainy days and Mondays, except – obviously – any rainy first and third Wednesdays and all days on weekends – but remain undecided.

We agreed to come back to the issue next week after George had made his mind up about it all anyway. We’ve also drawn up an EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY on the issue to cascade to all Bristol Green Party members. It reads:


Tried to pop in to see George afterwards but he was busy in a meeting with the very independently-minded MR PERRY FROM CLIFTON, so he asked me to come back tomorrow.


Popped back up to the third floor to see George this morning and bumped straight in to a beaming MR HOLT clutching a handful of BRISTOLIANs and shouting at me, “Have you seen it? Have you seen it? I’m in it!” I congratulated him and he skipped off to show ANGIE RIDGWELL. It must be said that being called by a girl’s name in The BRISTOLIAN may well turn out to be Peter’s crowning achievement from his time in the city.

Tried to see George but he was with Mr Perry again. Indeed Mr Perry was sitting in George’s Eames chair with his feet up on his desk while George appeared to be standing listening intently. In my opinion Mr Perry was very rude telling me to go away as they were busy running the city.


Tried to see George again. When I got to the third floor I could hear raised voices or, rather, a raised voice that sounded rather like Mr Perry’s. It was something to do with resident parking I think and the words “Stop dithering! Just bloody get on with it, you useless red-trousered old” something-or-other.

Mostly I could hear what they were saying, but I have never heard of a ‘STANKWAIN’ before, and it’s not in My First Illustrated Dictionary. When I tapped on George’s door he immediately opened it and shouted at me to – and even as I write this I’m blushing – “Eff-you-see-kay off and stop stalking me!”

Charming! After everything I’ve done for him. That’s the last time I iron his silk pyjamas as a favour before one of his late-night list-ticking sessions.


Decided it was time to start focusing on my new cabinet portfolio. Started with council housing today and explained in detail to the council housing boss MR PALMER how I wanted a wraparound strategy to retrofit our housing for the forthcoming environmental apocalypse in place ASAP. In the meantime I told Mr Palmer to set up a Twitter account to talk up solar panels and cavity wall insulation.

Mr Palmer said he thought his housing officers would be “thrilled” by my “creative approach” as it would make a change from all that depressing Bedroom Tax Spare Room Subsidy stuff. He also invited me to his leaving do, as he’s going next Tuesday. “Who’ll be in charge then?” I asked. He just laughed and said, “SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY, GUS!”


Tried to find out today who’s in charge of the city’s council housing from next Tuesday. Nobody seemed very sure. Also bumped into my new Cabinet colleague MRS MASSEY in the corridor this afternoon. She was trying to find out who was now in charge of education as the excellent MRS HUDSON was also leaving. We both decided to call it a day and go to the cider bar at Eat, Drink, Bristol.


Attended the Reed Service at St Mary Redcliffe Church today. It’s a special ceremony for us councillors, and a great opportunity to dress up. Someone asked me if I was a Christian and I did my usual response of staring at the ground and shuffling about a bit before changing the subject. As it was the weekend, I just said, “I think the communities affected should decide on parking zones, don’t you?”

But George didn’t find it funny, though.


Welcome to the Hoyty-Toyty World of Bristol Politics!


Finally saw George for our 10 o’clock at 11.30am when he finally arrived for work, apologising as he’d been up late with Zoe list-ticking again. They seem to have so many lists and so much to tick!

But at last I finally got to lay out to George the Bristol Green Party’s ideas for the new arena. He appeared very excited by our proposals for an all-wooden structure with a THATCHED ROOF POWERED BY WIND. Although he did have some reservations, such as what would happen when there’s no wind to power the amplifiers.

The solution is simple but brilliant. Top bands from around the world would simply have to do acoustic sets. What better way to put Bristol on the map than as the international home of the impromptu acoustic gig? “Imagine,” I said to George, “Take That with just Gary on piano, Robbie playing a bit of acoustic guitar and Jason, Mark and Howard doing the harmonies. That’s not something you see every day.”

“I guess not,” said George, who then went very quiet, overwhelmed by the groundbreaking consequences. He brightened up considerably when I pointed out that there were also some interesting sustainable employment spin-offs from our plan such as the potential for the reintroduction of the artisan craft of thatching to Britain with Bristol as its epicentre.

Before I left I also put in a special request from the younger members of the Green Party who really want to see the exciting folk-rock act Mumford & Sons do the honours at the grand opening of the arena. George, who is a big fan, was thrilled at the suggestion.

I know this is going to come as a big upset to some our older Bristol Green Party members who had been holding out for a reformed Lindisfarne to appear, but hey fellas! You got to move with the times.

It’s forward not back at George’s City Hall!!


A fantastic day. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett visited Bristol today to support our local election campaign. She was superb. OK, as a former Guardian journalist she might be prone to making embarrassing spelling errors (but who isn’t?) and utterly clueless about foreign policy, but she’ll happily sympathise for hours with whingeing school teachers and moaning social workers.

Natalie was especially keen to get our “total opposition to the cuts” message across and she dealt with any challenges supremely well. When asked why if we were totally opposed to cuts did we vote for them in Bristol she gave the questioner a FUNNY LITTLE SMILE and then rushed off to find a school teacher to moan at her. What a professional.

We all know how to say one thing at election time and do another at George’s City Hall!


Attended a ‘Keep Sundays Special’ Project Meeting at City Hall.

Exciting times seeing George’s plan to create a traffic-free environment on Sundays come to fruition thanks to a crack council officer team. We’re now at the detail and delivery phase and it’s great to see a proper ‘one council’ approach in action. Mr Mann the traffic boss has agreed to shut three roads at a cost of just £190,000, which is a great deal. Mr Holt, Head of Press and Marketing, knows a face painter and someone who knows someone who knows a unicyclist. George’s friend in Southville will make 100 yards of cloth bunting for us, and Mr Morris, the Markets Manager, says he’s got EIGHT ARTISAN CAKE STALLS lined up already – and even promised to personally come in every Sunday to collect the stall fees (cash only please!) himself. What commitment.

We’re still on the lookout for jugglers and Morris Dancers so give us a shout if you can help.

We love dancing with bells on our toes at George’s City Hall!


Back at work after yesterday’s special social media course (George’s idea) after that minor thing the other day when I was accidentally racist. And it worked! No major diplomatic incidents, plus Mr Holt taught me how to write ‘BOOBLESS’ on a calculator.

It’s a digital wonderland, George’s City Hall!


Welcome to the Hoyty-Toyty World of Bristol Politics!


My amazing plan to transform Neighbourhood Partnerships into MODERN SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRATIC MOOTS OF THE PEOPLE where they can have a proper inclusive say in how this fine city is run has taken a great leap forward.

The very nice people from the consultation team have set up an excellent online survey for people to have their say about their Neighbourhood Partnerships – and judging by the smashing comments we have had from all seven people who engaged with this inclusive process, it’s all looking really positive and exciting indeed for democracy in this city.

Not long now before every neighbourhood from Stockwood to Henbury will be able to ‘cry freedom’ and decide everything from which potholes they want repaired to what colour they want their park benches painted (well, if there are any park benches left once we start chopping them up and burning them in the City Hall biomass boiler to save on fuel bills). Because as the lovely and clever Parks supremo Mrs Morgan explained to me when I bumped in to her in the corridor, “the parks amenities furniture transformation sub-budget has been reabled for cultural regeneration initiatives, and the transformated budget will be expended on the long term place making objective of delivering a contemporary continental green capital streetscene scenario through the promotion of non-permanent sculptural practice.”

I was confused too but then Mrs Morgan said, “George is going to spend the money on large inflatable vegetables, dear”.

Sometimes it’s all really bananas at George’s City Hall!


Had hoped to get started on my brilliant plan to transform equalities in the city today, so I popped down to the Equalities Unit at about 9.30am but no one had arrived for work yet. When I popped back at 1 o’clock they had all gone to lunch, and then in the afternoon they were all on a training course. Still, it is good to know that we’re investing so heavily in equalities training. It really underlines my commitment, don’t you think?

Even without my amazing equalities plan to make us all more equal I think there’s the buzz of equality in the air right now in this city. I saw two black men across the street in St Paul’s yesterday who looked perfectly happy. They even stopped and greeted me with some of their traditional street jive moves. One I had not seen before. They both raised their right arm and flicked their wrist from side-to-side while chanting “KING ANCHOR, KING ANCHOR”. Not sure what it means? Probably traditional patois? Or is King Anchor a popular dancehall artist?

We’re nothing if not streetwise hepcats at George’s City Hall!


Went over to the Create Centre today just to breathe some amazing sustainable air. Touched base with lots of the green sustainable thinkers this council has. It gives me a lot of hope for the future when I meet a staff team where hemp clothing’s the norm and who think nothing of still wearing their bicycle clips in the office.

While I was staring out of the window with not much to do, I saw the Property Services guys from the sixth floor all heading out for lunch. Does anyone know why so many of them take their golf clubs when they go out to lunch?

Sometimes it’s a confusing place, George’s City Hall!


After spending yesterday helping my good friend Dr Jon sort out his bottle recycling (it soon mounts up), today I met with finance boss Mr Robinson again. I wanted him to go through the figures for my brilliant plan to save the Homeless Prevention Fund by scrapping adult education. He must have been there for ten minutes punching figures in to his calculator, scratching his head and swearing under his breath. Eventually he got up, said, “I won’t be a minute” and disappeared. He reappeared ten minutes later with a sheet of paper full of figures and confirmed it all added up. He also told me he thought it was a great idea and A FINE EXAMPLE OF CREATIVE THINKING from a politician and made a funny little laugh.

I also asked him why we couldn’t collect the £165,000 worth of market licence fee arrears the Lib Dem administration were responsible for, and then spend that money on the homeless. Mr Robinson went very quiet for a minute while his mouth open and closed like a goldfish before explaining that this “wouldn’t be possible for all sorts of reasons”. He then had to go as he was attending a house warming party for Mr Morris the Market Service Manager at his big new house in Weston-super-Mare and he was already running late.

Reflecting on Mr Robinson’s explanation, I must say it’s very convincing. We’re right on top of the accounts at George’s City Hall!



Long, long meetings with senior council officers all day today. One after another! With lots and lots of information! All the officers were very nice to me indeed and they all listened very politely and attentively to everything I had to say. So there’s no doubt in my mind that they are very interested indeed in what I have to say and are on board the Bristol Green Express departing for a sustainable future!

Funnily enough, every officer had with them an extraordinarily long and detailed report for me to read later. Although we agreed, due to time constraints, it was best to discuss the contents right away because with our busy diaries we don’t know when we might be able to meet again.

It’s a crazy and hectic place, George’s City Hall!


Finally managed to get in to chat to George today. I was waiting almost two hours for him to finish meeting Zoe in his office with the door locked – what a dedicated guy he is! Courteous as ever, George apologised loads and said that they had got sidetracked into a discussion about Uganda or something. I never realised our decisions reached that far!

Sometimes it’s a crazy, freewheeling open forum of diversity, George’s City Hall!

Councillor Hoyt – he’s so cuddly (& easily confused)!


Met Mr Robinson, the chief council finance man today. Some of the figures were very confusing indeed but Mr Robinson kindly explained that there were some “presentational issues” with the figures that he and his colleagues would iron out by, possibly, as soon as next year.

We both had to laugh at one point when Mr Robinson said he hadn’t brought one set of figures because his dog ate them last night!

We’re an animal loving bunch at George’s City Hall!


Cabinet Meeting/Knowle West. Try as I might I couldn’t find anywhere to buy a carob-coated quinoa bar or a soy latte before the meeting. Oh well, I struggled through it anyway.

We’re all up for a bit of personal sacrifice in George’s City Hall!


Bumped into my good chum and fellow Ashley councillor Dr Jon on Stokes Croft this morning as he was leaving Best In with his cans of special ‘breakfast drink’. He looked a bit sad, so I tried to cheer him up by inviting him over to my new pad later on. I told him we could make a den with chairs and sheets in the living room and pretend that we are astronauts on a moonbase. He seemed to like this idea because he called me a “space cadet” – awesome!

It’s a proper hub of cross-party cooperation, George’s City Hall!


Just noticed I’ve put my name to a press release announcing the closure of seven youth clubs in the poorest areas of the city. This is the Lib Dems’ fault not mine and, anyway, it’s no use crying over spilt milk! Now, I must stop writing my diary and get on with mine and George’s plans to protect the vulnerable of the city.

It’s all about caring, George’s City Hall!


Left my homework to the last minute again – forgot to read all those important reports and check those budget cuts figures, oops! Oh well, I’m sure the nice council officers will help me get a better understanding of it all tomorrow, they’re all really clever and nice. I love being a Cabinet Member, I feel I am really making a difference!

And what a great place to work: George’s City Hall!