NETTING ZEROES: LEAP OR LOSS?
“Billion pound” City Leap was finally signed off by the Reverend and his cabinet of donkeys in December. Turns out the 20 year public-private energy partnership is not worth a billion in private investment at all but £424m with a “hope” that it becomes worth over £600m in the five years.
It’s not £424m of private investment in Bristol either. Half of the so-called decarbonising projects branded ‘City Leap’ are public sector projects with public finance in place such as plans announced at the last budget to spend £84m from the Housing Revenue Account making council homes energy efficient to an unambitious Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ‘C’ rating.
The only new money coming from the private sector is potential investment in the city’s heat network system. And this money only arrives after council bosses handed our publicly-owned network to Swedish government-owned multinational Vattenfall at a knockdown price kept top secret for “commercial reasons”.
Although it’s an open secret that our heat networks were shifted to Vattenfall “at cost” rather than “current value”. Meaning we only charged them what it cost us to install the network rather than what it’s worth as a going business concern. A considerably smaller sum. Ask yourself if Jeff Bezos would sell Amazon at the price it cost him to build the warehouses and website?
Add this latest loss to the £10m we spent procuring the whole farrago and it looks like City Leap is really City Loss.
VENTURER SCREWS WORKFORCE
Worth around £500m, Merchant Venturer weirdo Andrew Nisbet of Nisbets PLC, a catering supplier in Avonmouth, is one of Bristol’s and the UK’s richest men.
No surprise to learn, then, that this super-rich slave trade cultist fired over 400 staff during lockdown. Despite Nisbets trousering £9m in government Covid cash and the firm’s hard-pressed directors sharing £2.3m that year.
Employment websites Glassdoor and Indeed reveal few positives about the firm. Recurring themes at the Avonmouth warehouse operation are low pay, monitoring of loo breaks, blame culture, bullying, nepotism and unachievable sales targets. All ignored by a useless HR team.
Comments from former staff include: “This place is the worst by a long mile. Surprised they’ve not been exposed like Sports Direct”; “KEEP AWAY! UNLESS YOU WANT TO WORK IN A MODERN DAY SWEAT SHOP!”; Absolute Joke of a company to work for!”; “WORST JOB EVER!”
On the bright side, Key West Holdings (Nisbets’ parent company) generously donated £1.5m to the Nisbet Trust, the family charitable trust. This money was then handed to charities around Bristol.
Let’s hope Nisbet’s filthy cash from misery is worth it.
KILL THE BILL 2: POLICE AND THE PRESS
The Bristol NUJ has sent out ‘advice’ to local journalists regarding the ‘Kill the Bill 2’ protest meeting at the Bearpit this Tuesday (21 March) from 5.30pm. And there’s some very interesting framing and attitudes in it indeed:
Our observations and comments on this email are in italics:
Some of you will be covering what’s billed as KilltheBill2, a demonstration on Tuesday next week which marks the second anniversary of the notorious disturbances in which Bridewell police station was attacked and many arrests made.
No mention of police attacking protestors first as plenty of eye-witness statements claim?
We can expect this event to be well attended and it may be the most antagonistic public order event in Bristol since the attack on Bridewell.
Surely the most anatagonistic protest since Avon and Somerset Police assaulted protestors outside Bridewell?
There may also be hostility towards the media from a minority of protesters.
Really? Surely the hostility towards journalists came from police, with at least one local editor being arrested last time? If protestors are ‘hostile’ to journalists it’s usually because they’re being filmed for clickbait articles. This film can be and is seized to use as evidence to lock protestors in Bristol up for a long time through abuse of the Riot Act. The kind of miscarriages of justice those same local journalists won’t bother reporting. Regardless of who you are or who you think you are, film people at protests and you’re asking for trouble.
The mood may be heightened by the release on Tuesday of the Casey report, expected to show endemic racism, sexism and homophobia in the Met.
Turns out that those of us who have said for years that the cops are a violent racist misogynist gang are correct.
Hence we thought it was worth reminding those attending of some advice to keep safe (not that most of you need it) and to assure you that the union is on hand if you have any concerns.
We have a good working relationship with Avon & Somerset Police and I spoke to Zoe Hebden, force head of comms, today.
They have a relationship with the city’s most violent gang. How cosy. You have been warned.
She’s promised to update me on Monday evening after the police have held a meeting in advance of the event, and if there’s any new information you need to know I’ll email you all again.
For the moment, I’ll reiterate the advice we gave originally.
1. Be very aware of your surroundings. Don’t get into an isolated situation where you could be in danger. Also, don’t inadvertently put yourself in the path of a police charge, or get swept up in moving disorder.
In danger from who?
2. If you want to identify yourself to the senior police officers present they will welcome this. TV crews often stay close to police lines and any journalist can choose to do this if it helps their safety. However, police understand and accept that many journalists will not choose to stand near the police, and many will not want to be identifiable as journalists.
Don’t identify yourselves to senior cops you fools. They’re dodgy and will only try and play you.
3. Police know what a real Press card looks like – thanks to the NUJ, this is now part of their training. They also know that there are fake cards out there, and others of dubious validity. Always carry your card and identify yourself as Press to the police if necessary.
A piece of plastic won’t protect you from a baton in the hands of a certifiable psycho.
4. We hope there won’t be any problems on the night. I thought we had an emergency legal hotline if people did find themselves in difficulty, but on checking I don’t think it’s always active. I will try on Monday to get a hotline set up so people have someone to call for legal advice in an emergency.
5. Here are some more points from the NUJ guidance on covering protests:
• Where possible, buddy up with another NUJ member and watch each other’s backs.
• Make sure that you distinguish yourself from those who are there to demonstrate as much as possible, seeking to make it clear that the only purpose of your presence at the event concerned is to act as a bona-fide, professional, newsgatherer. Professional journalists on assignment as an observer should never take part in a protest.
• If taunted by protestors or demonstrators do not respond to provocation.
What about provocation from the cops, which is far more likely to happen?
• Tell your employer if you’re uncomfortable being sent into a dangerous situation. Ask for a risk assessment. If you’re still unhappy, contact the NUJ.
• If you have concerns about the use of your byline or photo credit raise the issue with your commissioning editor or line manager in advance.
• This is not an environment to send inexperienced, untrained, journalists – certainly not if they are alone.
In that case we suggest 99.9% of the city’s journalists stay away then. Especially if you believe this pro-cop; anti-protestor shite.
BRISTOL WASTE: IT’S THE MEDIA’S FAULT!
An article last week in the Nazi Post reporting that the council’s Independent Shareholder Advisor, Fiona Ross, had told the council they need to consider whether they should continue to badly run failing companies, produced a panicked response from Bristol Waste’s latest interim MD Ian “Not Another One” Osborne.
He immediately wrote out to Bristol Waste’s workers explaining there was no problem at the firm whatsoever and that the press had published “an exaggerated story”. Apparently by quoting precisely what the “very concerned” Independent Shareholder Advisor had written in their own report.
This included describing the basketcase waste firm as “a significant drain on scarce [council] resources in terms of time and funding”.
We’ve been told, “anyone with any sense should take notice of Fiona Ross rather than the latest plonker to be handed the top job at Bristol Waste.”
Check the MD’s message to his staff to see how desperate it’s got at the top at Bristol Waste:
ELDRIDGE, HE BOUGHT THE MOST POINTLESS MILK FLOATS IN THE WEST!
Recently departed Bristol Waste Managing Director Jason “Benny” Eldridge certainly had an interesting approach to doing business with our money.
One of his great ideas was to spend south of £100k buying some dodgy old milk floats off a mate. More public cash was then splashed renovating the ridiculous old rust buckets.
All but one has never been used and they are now mothballed at Days Road tip.
You couldn’t make this shit up.
BRISTOL WASTE BOSSES HAVE STOLEN OUR MONEY
Highly paid waste bosses bought luxury lifestyles with public money while cutting our services.
Despite the best efforts of Bristol City Council to keep it under wraps, there’s a major corruption scandal brewing at Bristol Waste.
Multiple sources have now approached The Bristolian telling us that some firms using the weighbridge (or Transfer Station as they now call it) at Avonmouth tip on Kings Weston Lane to dispose of their waste were not formally paying for the service. Instead considerable sums of dirty money have been changing hands behind the scenes between bent bosses.
The Avonmouth weighbridge is a straightforward system that’s easy to monitor with limited opportunities for systematic fraud without the collusion of senior bosses.
Trucks carrying commercial waste drive onto the weighbridge, present a Waste Carriers License, have their registration recorded and the vehicle weighed. The waste is then tipped and the truck returns to a weighbridge and is weighed again. A charge per kilo of waste is automatically calculated, charged to the firm and a waste transfer note issued.
Workers ripping this system off without bosses knowing would be tricky as there’s automated records of how much waste has been recorded as tipped and how much money is collected. The two figures are easily accessible to management and would need to tally. And they didn’t … For years.
Our sources tell us certain firms have been systematically not charged, obviously with the full knowledge and assistance of Bristol Waste bosses. Firms named to us include major corporate players in the waste industry. Who were they paying for their waste disposal?
We understand that a significant whistleblower stepped forward last summer and this resulted in the immediate exit of Bristol Waste MD Terry “I Am The” Lawless and his finance director sidekick Adam “Dumb” Henshaw.
We also understand that Bristol City Council has been undertaking one of its painfully slow arse-covering investigations ever since. When they intend to report, if ever, isn’t known.
Meanwhile, our street cleaning is being reduced, flytipping not collected and public opening times at waste tips slashed to make up a financial shortfall partly created by thieving bosses on generous six-figure salaries. All conveniently helped out by our council’s slack oversight of a council taxpayer-owned business.
Further concerns have also been raised with The Bristolian over what materials may have been tipped at Avonmouth. If Bristol Waste bosses were breaking the law to fill their boots why would they be bothered about hazardous waste regulations?
Further tip-offs about Bristol Waste we’re currently investigating include stories of bosses signing off massive expense claims for themselves and the latest recently departed interim MD, Jason Eldridge, making generous and expensive use of Plan B Waste Management consultancy. Where a Mr Shaun Eldridge works – Jason’s brother!
Isn’t it about time Inspector Knacker got involved?
Got any info’ on Bristol Waste and its bent bosses? Contact the Bristolian firstname.lastname@example.org. Discretion assured.
FEELING THE HEAT
Strange goings-on at Housing Association Curo’s new social housing in Old Market. A few lucky new residents were all set to move in October when suddenly the whole thing was called off.
The properties were meant to be connected to the new Old Market Heat Network, currently owned and run by Bristol City Council but being secretively handed over to Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, at a knockdown price.
Residents now have been told they can’t move in to their new homes until January at the earliest because of “a disagreement about the heating with the council”.
Let’s hope the disagreement is nothing serious and that our city’s public assets are still on the way to a global corporation to make a fat profit from.
SEND WATCH: PROVISION CANCELLED
Has the council just given up paying for some SEND provision they’re legally obliged to provide?
A lot of children require so-called ‘Alternative Provision’ (AP) in Bristol because they are unable to attend school. This may be because the council is unable to provide a school appropriate for the child.
Or it may be because the child has been thrown out of school because their parents have attempted to assert their child’s legal right to SEND provision that the school has taken funding for and then not provided.
Many of these children are taught by private tutors paid by the council. However, The Bristolian is receiving news that “one-by-one families with kids in AP or EOTAS (Education Otherwise Than At School) are having provision stopped because the council has stopped paying the bills for it.”
So far the council has provided no notice to parents and no reason why they’ve stopped paying for this provision. Our information comes from SEND parents who would probably be viewed by the council as “troublemakers” but we’re assured the problem is now “widespread”.
What’s on earth is going on? Why is our council randomly cancelling SEND children’s education?
SEND WATCH: GRANT NEWS
At the scrutiny meeting where councillors discussed SEND spying, senior council boss, Vikki “Mata Hari” Jervis also tried to convince councillors that refusing to sign-off funding for the Bristol Parent Carer Forum, who council bosses hate for supporting parents and encouraging some to take legal action against the council was fine.
Instead, explained Jervis, the money and work could be split among the 22 groups that make up a new so-called “Community of Groups” selected by the council to best represent the interests of SEND parents by never mentioning legal action.
Jervis’s claim is not true. Contact, who actually administer this grant Jervis is trying to award, say on their website, “Contact administers, and pays a grant of up to £17,500 available to ONE parent carer forum in each local authority area of England, funded by the Department for Education (DfE).”
Is anything council management say about SEND true?