NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

An alliance of LABOUR and GREEN councillors – taking a break from pre-election climate emergency PR fisticuffs for the benefit of the gullible Guardian-readers of Bristol West – have granted planning permission for 1,400 homes on Hengrove Park, THE LARGEST PUBLIC OPEN SPACE IN SOUTH BRISTOL. Their reason for this crap decision is that old chestnut for foisting sub-standard shite on us – “THE HOUSING CRISIS”.

The development means the LOSS, not only, of a huge amount of PUBLIC OPEN SPACE and PLAYING FIELDS but of 850 TREES on the land. The poorly connected new housing estate is also likely to bring TRAFFIC CHAOS to local residential roads as more car users are poured into a working class suburb where a rapid transit system isn’t even AN UNLIKELY PROMISE from the Reverend Rees.

This is also the suburb already earmarked by the same climate emergency obsessed councillors as an ideal location for a NEW RING ROAD designed to CHOKE CHILDREN in south Bristol in order to get traffic out of the city centre to improve air quality there. The new road will also help get punters to an EXPANDED AIRPORT at Lulsgate.

Residents in Whitchurch and Hengrove are “LIVID” at the loss of their park and the planned destruction of their neighbourhood and local social media pages are full of lively chat about THE SELL-OUT COUNCILLORS and the scheme’s political architect, the Reverend Rees. The usually quiet and undersubscribed pages have leaped to life and are full of RIPE LANGUAGE on the subject of the city’s politicians. Popular terms include “wankers”; “arseholes”; “hypocrites” and “tossers”.

Hengrove and Whitchurch are unlikely to be returning any Labour or Green politicians to power any time soon, then.

ST MARVIN’S-UP-THE-CREEK NEWSLETTER #24

STATE OF THE PARISH SERMON (Transcript)

It is of the utmost importance that we work together as a congregation to iterate the next iteration of my parish so that this reiteration addresses the critical issues of our time: climate change; inequality; Brexit but, mainly, doing something about people who disagree with me. We, of course, must also ensure our parish partners in business are making lots of money. It is therefore a priority that my influence, as a parish leader, extends into inclusive, cross -organisational work and dialogue with other city leaders and change makers. This requires a new form of parish leadership by exciting thematic boards where I can talk about issues at great length with members of the congregation I have personally selected because they will do what I say no matter how stupid.

Another purpose of us parish leaders and change makers is to regularly fly half way around the globe to listen to speeches by exciting former global leaders scratching out a living on the lecture circuit such as my new close friend, Al Gore. This is how change makers can ensure a more diverse demographic is being reached and their desire to join our iterative future parish journey enabled. Sometimes this will mean many of the little people in the congregation will need to be entirely ignored for the greater good of the global spiritual goals we all share. Let’s celebrate your sacrifice the way Christ celebrated the wealth creators, the innovators and the creators.

Often, our important shared priorities may find me associating with vastly wealthy old men or with global corporations. Sometimes I must join high-level trade delegations to the US with our local business friends where I may also find time to commune with my mentor the Texan psychotic preacher and notorious anti-communist homophobe, the Pastor Righteous Loon. Let’s now recall and celebrate his wisdom on the subject of international travel, “a plane is God’s way of making you a bird”. Indeed, it is. So what say now the negative naysayers with their clickbait of pointless point-scoring on Twitter and 30 second soundbites of opposition from the pews? The silence is deafening in here isn’t it? Not least because Ms Townsend and anyone else from parish’s OFSTED ‘Needs Improvement’ Dave Spart Academy have not been invited.

As Gracie Fields once said, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and as Michelle Obama says, “when I’m low I get high”. The state of this parish and my mind is strong. Woof! Woof!

The Vicar.

A LABOUR KINDA LOVE by Soapie Oprah

A LABOUR KINDA LOVE

It’s quite the bromance isn’t it? Will the lovestruck Reverend Rees ever let his wannabe property speculator FRIEND WITH BENEFITS, city council Executive Director of Growth and Regeneration, Colin “Head Boy” Molton, go?

Stephen “Preening” Peacock, the replacement for the Reverend’s dubiously appointed CONSTITUTIONAL WRECK of a £1,500 a day council exec with a taste for £200 taxi trips on us, finally arrived at the Counts Louse on the 26 September. However, we were soon informed that Head (Lover) Boy would NOT BE WALKING OUT on the Reverend just yet and that the starry-eyed lovers could carry on sharing their public land giveaway fetish, romantic Cote D’Azure mini breaks and secret trysts on the third floor of the Council House for a while yet.

The latest excuse provided by a council PR for the NON-EXIT of Lover Boy and his ample wage demands is that “There will be a sensible period of handover between Colin and Stephen to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain momentum with major projects”. Although, the poorly briefed PR was UNABLE TO SAY when this bizarre ménage a trois might end. How much longer will we have to pay Lover Boy £1,500 a day for services rendered to the mayor? Days? Weeks? Months?

Rees’s new love interest, Peacock, will have to struggle along on a wage of just £165k a year and the GOOD NEWS is that he will also be subject to PAYE like his employees. The BAD NEWS is that Peacock’s another South West Regional Development Agency reject with a “huge amount of experience of economic development, major regeneration projects, technology and the energy sector”.

Doesn’t this sound dangerously similar to Lover Boy? Has the Reverend fallen head over heels for yet another naive career bureaucrat with a high opinion of himself who’ll get SHAGGED ABSOLUTELY SENSELESS when he falls prey to CORPORATE PROPERTY PIMPS with an eye for his assets?

Will there be more kiss ‘n’ tells to follow?

LOST LABOUR WORLD DISCOVERED IN BRISTOL

LOST LABOUR WORLD DISCOVERED IN BRISTOL

Have the stroppy TRIGGER BALLOTS going off all over the place to see if our local Labour MPs should face a selection contest created a CHAIN REACTION in the fabric of the city’s time-space continuum? How else to explain a MYSTERIOUS LOST WORLD that has been discovered in Bristol by the Labour Party’s Regional Office?

Unscientific reports say the newly discovered land is in BISHOPSTON AND ASHLEY DOWN in the Bristol West constituency. However, due to some sort of unexplained Schrodinger’s cat-type time-space quantum field, it “is NOT PART OF BISHOPSTON AND ASHLEY DOWN” and is actually somewhere else entirely in Bristol North West, the constituency of under-threat honorary Lib Dem MP, “Dipshit” Darren Jones.

Even more remarkably, A LOST TRIBE OF 20 MYSTERIOUS LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS are alive and well in this impossible new land and were able to vote as their own branch to decide whether Dipshit should be put up for reselection as a Labour candidate.

Have you noticed any mysterious time-space displacement phenomena in your area recently? Maybe flying discs in the sky or portals to Bristol North West? Has the Labour Party discovered a lost world and set up a quantum branch near you?

A BRIDGE NOT FAR

Locals in North Bristol have come out against The Reverend’s cabinet transport supremo, Kye “The” Dudd’s CRAZED and EXPENSIVE plan to increase the height of the damaged grade II listed Kingsweston Iron Bridge on Kingsweston Hill to stop more high vehicles crashing in to it. The Kingsweston Action Group (KWAG) is instead SUPPORTING Historic England’s SENSIBLE and considerably CHEAPER plan to install sacrificial “goalpost” height restrictors at the junctions with Shirehampton Road and Westbury Lane to the south of Kingsweston Hill, and Kings Weston Lane in the north.

The damaged bridge could then be dismantled, taken away for repair and restoration, and rebuilt back in place as it now is and at a far cheaper price than the £2MILLION estimated for The Dudd’s plan. KWAG’s advisers, Dorothea Restoration, say it would take a week to dismantle the bridge, three months to strip, repair, re-cast broken sections and repaint and then a further week to reassemble back in place. Job done! KWAG say, “We genuinely need public feedback on these proposals before we develop them into a more finished form for planning”.

Support these plans and help get the bridge back in action sooner rather than later.

MORE MARKETS

Our story in BRISTOLIAN 50 about the council’s ODD ACCOUNTING and WEIRD PROPOSALS for rent hikes at St Nicholas Market created a flurry of activity suggesting that old habits are dying hard when it comes to management of our historic market.

A number of sources tell us that the market’s ‘Food Coordinator’, Lorna Knapman, described as a friend of the current interim market manager, was appointed WITHOUT ANY FORMAL RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Moreover, it seems, Ms Knapman, who has worked at the market for some years, was NOT ON THE COUNCIL PAYROLL for much of this time and instead collected her salary through a tax-efficient private company, claiming she was a contractor for the council.

This cosy tax-dodging arrangement was almost certainly CONTRARY to all known council HR policy and it’s unlikely that the council has met its obligations under so-called ‘IR35’ tax legislation by paying what is almost certainly an employee in this fashion. To add insult to injury, we’re informed that the markets coordinated by Ms Knapman “ARE DYING A DEATH“.

There’s “often only one trader for the ‘Award Winning Vegan Market’ on a Monday and traders are RAPIDLY DESERTING the popular Farmers Market,” we’re told. Meanwhile, Ms Knapman appears to have personal control of all the market’s social media accounts, which she uses to SOLELY promote her street food markets, ignoring any traders in the main market.

Presumably because they don’t matter to market bosses who have other plans for their stalls?

“HOUSING OF THE FUTURE” NEWS

"HOUSING OF THE FUTURE" NEWS

It looks like more problems may lie ahead for TV celeb Kevin McCloud’s HAB HOUSING COMPANY’s eco housing development at the former Dunmail School site in Southmead.

Launched in a blaze of ecstatic c-list publicity by snooty Channel 4 property presenter McCloud alongside Mayor No More Ferguson in 2015, they promised us the “HOUSING OF THE FUTURE“. And the future duly arrived in 2017 when Bristol City Council agreed to BAILOUT the project by underwriting it with £500k of our money.

Now news emerges about a HAB development, ‘Lovedean Fields’ near Winchester in Hampshire, which a local councillor has described as “RESEMBLING A BOMB SITE“. Originally marketed as “a collection of beautiful three, four and five-bedroom homes” with facilities including allotments, play areas, an orchard and a wildflower meadow, the reality is turning out to be very different.

The councillor reports some of the roads on the development “DON’T HAVE THE TARMAC ON,” while completed roads are already CRUMBLING. A number of homes, due for completion in 2017, have “MAJOR PROBLEMS” including flooding and many are still covered in scaffolding. As for allotments, play areas, orchards and wildflower meadows, they’re all reported to resemble “A BUILDING SITE“.

This latest HAB cock-up follows press reports over the summer revealing that small investors who sank millions of pounds into HAB – which stands for “Happiness Architecture Beauty” – to fund bonds for this celebrity eco-housing adventure have been told they could face LOSING UP TO 97% OF THEIR MONEY. In September it emerged that attempts to restructure HAB bonds had failed and the company risked being wound up or falling into INSOLVENCY.

Quite where this leaves Bristol City Council is anyone’s guess. But if they want their “housing of the future” in Southmead to be habitable and have road access they may have to fork out some large sums of money.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEWS

Urban Quarter

The first tranche of new housing at HENGROVE PARK, courtesy of corporate developer Kier, has appeared next to Hengrove Park Leisure Centre. Despite being obviously located in SUBURBAN SOUTH BRISTOL, it’s called ‘Urban Quarter’ and is being marketed with the tired strapline “Modern living in Bristol”. Meanwhile, Kier’s website illustrates its Hengrove Park location with photos of, er, COLLEGE GREEN and the WILLS BUILDING.

It also says here, “Urban Quarter is an EXCITING DEVELOPMENT of 261 new homes. The development offers a variety of bespoke 2, 3 & 4 bedroom homes. Ideal for FIRST-TIME BUYERS, THOSE LOOKING TO MOVE UP THE PROPERTY LADDER along with GROWING FAMILIES looking for their forever home.”

Although any first time buyers or Bristolians with a growing family may be interested to hear that prices for a 3-bed home start at £310,000 and for a 4-bed at £410,000. This means any property available in this “attractive urban living environment” is, at least, TEN TIMES MORE than the average salary in south Bristol.

Don’t all rush at once.

ENERGY SHAMBLES

bristol-energy

As the Reverend launches his long, tedious re-election campaign with the comedy slogan “GETTING STUFF DONE”, devised by his tin-eared PR guru “Slo” Kev Slocombe, let’s take a look at what stuff the Rev’s got done with his energy reselling business Bristol Energy shall we?

The headline stuff is that he’s lost a load more of our money with the company announcing a  £10 MILLION OPERATING LOSS in the year to March 2019. Virtually identical to the £10 million loss he notched up last year! This brings total losses, so far, at Bristol Energy to about £34MILLION.

Our man in the energy business says it’s worth comparing the Reverend’s mess at Bristol Energy with Robin Hood Energy, the energy company wholly owned by Nottingham City Council. “Bristol Energy has 165,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER £76.2 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.3 PER CENT,” he says. “Meanwhile Robin Hood has 167,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER OF £70.3 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.2 PER CENT. So they’re broadly comparable.”

“But Robin Hood made an OPERATING PROFIT on these figures of £742,000. On the same turnover and customers, Bristol Energy made a thumping OPERATING LOSS of £10.1 million. Will the Reverend be asking hard questions as to why this is?”

“Does it have something to do with the 200 STAFF Bristol Energy employ for an identical customer base to Robin Hood who manage with just 99 STAFF? Or Bristol Energy’s wage bill of £7.23 MILLION while Robin Hood’s is just £3.31 MILLLION? Or the highest paid director at Bristol Energy pocketing £242,000 while Robin Hood’s scrapes by on £99,000?”

“Anyone who thinks that Bristol Energy can become profitable by 2021 only needs to study the 2019 accounts. Even if they doubled customers to 330k (highly unlikely) and made only modest increases in staffing/admin costs to support this customer growth they would STILL be loss making,”

These are the inconvenient facts. The Reverend may be able to spin his pet project as a success to a cabinet of clueless arselickers but the public requires a proper explanation for this LOSS-MAKING SHAMBLES overseen by a bunch of unaccountable MONEY GRUBBING SCROUNGERS.

I doubt we’ll get it





SMART CITY WATCH

SMART CITY WATCH

On September 12 the Reverend Rees launched the city’s Smart City Strategy at the ‘Bristol – Sweden Future Cities Summit’. This five-year strategy, “sets out how Bristol City Council will support Bristol’s smart city journey” and, “aims to ensure smart city projects will provide opportunities to more people and communities to assist in the city’s inclusive growth and help towards solutions to issues such as public safety, traffic congestion, energy poverty and health and social care”. But what is a ‘Smart City’ and what are ‘smart city projects’ and why do we need them?

When you see the word ‘smart’ prefixing an object it means one thing. Deploying the internet – originally devised by the US military as a weapon – to collect as much behavioural data about the ‘Smart’ device owner as possible so that the data can be used to predict, suggest and, increasingly, control the user’s actions. Often through ‘nudging’ victims into better corporate citizenship if not outright threatening them with extra-judicial sanctions.

It began with the smart phone. A mini computer in your pocket beaming detailed behavioural data about your life back to unaccountable tech firms and their government and corporate partners. This is the ‘big data’ you hear about or what Google call ‘data exhaust’ as if it’s a harmless waste product without value. If you’ve got one of these phones, then you’re likely to be providing real time information to unaccountable corporations about where you are and what you are doing. And, rest assured, this information is being stored and analysed by tech companies, the government, security services and various corporate third parties.

The smart phone has been so successful at collecting your data and making tech corporations money through the ruthless competitive dynamic unleashed by big data that there’s a huge economic imperative to produce more ‘smart’ products to collect more data about you and your family. Silicon Valley has given this all out assault on your life and privacy a cuddly name, ‘The Internet of Things’.

Cars, homes, public services, exercise aids, finance, shopping, health products, utilities, white goods and much more are all in the firing line for a ‘Smart’ makeover. Google even owns the tech to know what’s in your smart fridge. (Imagine visiting your GP and being told you have been struck off because you had too many pies in your fridge contrary to your ‘Smart Health Agreement’?)

However, to collect this huge amount of behavioural data from the digital crap being foisted on us, you need a ‘Smart City’ infrastructure. A dense mesh of 5G transmitters and receivers throughout the city that can upload and manage the huge amounts of real time behavioural data the ‘Smart City’ prophets require for their big data society.

This is sold to you as “innovation” that will create “jobs and sustainable growth” while delivering personal benefits such as faster internet speeds to download a movie to your handheld screen or the quicker uploading of holiday photos for gran.

Don’t be fooled. The internet is a weapon and the smart city aims it at you.