Downs Committee Statement March 21st 2022

The vile Merchant Venturer creatures on the Downs Committee: selfish; anti-democratic; unaccountable; dishonest; rude; arrogant; ignorant; misleading and stupid …

Here’s the full statement from Green Councillor, Christine Townsend made to the Downs Committee today:

As stated in January this committee must be served by the Nolan Principles, current composition prevents this. The Society of Merchant Venturers is an unincorporated, undemocratic, invite only, private members’ club whose position derives from ongoing environmental extraction and the historic horror of the TST [Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade] that saw human exploitation, kidnap and murder for private gain. The legacy of the TST is structuralised throughout present day society and personified in Merchant Venturer presence on this committee. Despite Freed claiming that the Merchant Venturers will
follow the Nolan Principles, the statement he then read out in January ran contrary to each and every one of them: –

Selflessness – Fighting members of the public in a prolonged, unwinnable judicial review, funded by the public purse to ‘save face’ is not in the public interest.

Integrity – Merchant Venturers are on this committee by way of this undemocratic, unaccountable private members club and, by definition, are here to represent and promote that organisation’s interests

Objectivity – Freed attempts to blame Downs for People for the cost of the judicial review. But it was the Merchant Venturer dominated sub of the Downs Committee, not Downs for People, that prolonged the case even though they will have known it was hopeless. They did not concede until they were almost on the steps of the courtroom. Downs for People were pursuing the case in the public interest to safeguard the Downs, mainly at their own expense.

Accountability – This committee has repeatedly failed to engage with scrutiny from members of the public, ignored email requests for information and has to date failed to make public the amount of public money wasted attempting to fight an unwinnable judicial review. As I stand here as a democratically elected representative there remains zero public information about the total sum wasted on this failed venture.

Openness – it is not acceptable that members of the public are needing to resort to making Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulation requests to get basic information. It was necessary for Downs for People to get a disclosure order via the court to have sight of the 20 year licence they were challenging, the judge was unimpressed with the Committee’s behaviour. Needing to approach the Information Commissioner to access requested information is shameful and the antithesis of the Nolan Principles.

Honesty – Freed’s statement references ‘the court case’ the process was a judicial review – accurat language use matters. Freed referred to the history of the Downs and claims that ‘at a time when the others were making a fortune out of developing houses all around it….they bought the land specifically to stop that from happening’ This statement is factually incorrect, the Merchant Venturers purchased the land in the 17th century and sold leases for development pocketing the money and quarried large parts for private capital gain. The idea that Merchant Venturers act in a manner that benefits anyone other than themselves is ludicrous and is demonstrated in other aspects of their ‘work’. The public words of their ex-head teacher John Whitehead stated that the instinct of the Merchant Venturers is ‘self-preservation’ days after the felling of their statue mascot the enslaver Edward Colston.

Leadership – Whilst Freed promoted historical inaccuracies, myths about the history of the
involvement of the organisation with the Downs and private profit made from it, described a judicial review as a ‘court case’ the rest of the Merchant Venturers sat back silent, this is not leadership this is complicity.

PARKLIFE WITH THE DUDD

Dudd Southmead
Dudd and the comrades outside a library they closed

An otherwise dull by-election in Southmead, following the resignation of the Reverend’s cabinet member Helen “Oh My” Godwin to become an, er, consultant at dodgy big four accountants KPMG, was brightened up by the epic stupidity of Labour candidate Kye “The” Dudd.

Halfway through the campaign The Dudd, who lost his Central Ward seat last year to the Greens, took it upon himself to get himself photographed in the middle of Southmead’s Doncaster Road Park along with his gormless Labour colleagues Brenda Massey and Tom “Plasticene Man” Renhard. Together, they announced, they were “saving the park from development” by Bristol City Council.

All well and good, except, legally, the park is already “saved” from development like every other park in the city by virtue of it being designated important open space in the Local Plan.

Protection that Renhard’s loopey housing development droids programmed to build have zero authority to overturn without an expensive court battle they would almost certainly lose.

Therefore the only thing that The Dudd has “saved” is an enormous sum in legal costs had he supported such a daft idea.

THE SOCIETY OF MERCHANT NITE SPOT BOSSES


motion_i1_s4
Bristol City Council managing Covid

Bristol City Council is using council tax money and government public health handouts for Covid to, er, promote nightclubs!

£15k from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund and £15k from the council’s Growth and Regeneration budget were used last year to pay the council’s ‘Night-time Economy Advisor’. 

This year the money will come from the government Covid cash and from the council’s private sector partner, Sound Diplomacy, “an international consultancy” who are going “to develop a framework to capitalise on the cultural, social and economic benefits that night-time industries offer the city”.

Other partners in the Sound Diplomacy project include Master of the Merchant Venturers David Freed’s Deeley Freed; Merchant Venturer Marti Burgess’s Lakota nightclub; Motion nightclub; the University of Bristol; the Bedminster and City Centre BIDs and PfP Capital Limited

So who’s likely to benefit from the public money handouts that are likely to emerge from this corporate night time industry framework then?

Watch this space

THE PRINCESS AND THE POLLSTERS

Princess

With Clifton Down councillor Carla “The Green Princess” Denyer elected co-leader of the Green Party last year, her recent reselection as candidate for the Greens’ number one target seat, leafy Bristol West, was pretty much a procession. Even though The Princess got well and truly stuffed at the 2019 election by Labour’s  “Thingy”  Thangam Debonnaire.

After a vigorous campaign full of crazed Green promises that they could win the seat, the Princess was rejected by voters and trailed in nowhere near power, almost 39,000 votes behind Labour. She even managed to get a smaller share of the vote than hapless carpetbagger Darren “Tamanay” Hall got for the Greens in 2015.

In response to these ongoing electoral disasters, the Princess and the Greens, who remain convinced she’s a great candidate even if the public don’t, have hatched a cunning plan. Starting their campaigning early, it appears they are throwing money at dodgy pollsters Survation, to convince people that they are popular.

A reader in Bristol West says they received a call from Survation recently and they were asked a series of “ridiculous questions”. “It was obvious,” they say, “by the way the questions were structured that Survation were desperate for me to say I would vote Green. I refused and eventually had to decline to continue with the poll.”

Well, that’s one way to convince a dubious press and public you’re going to win an election. Pay a polling company to tell people they’re going to vote Green even if they’re not and then announce you’re going to win again.

We predict crushing defeat as in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

CIL-LY GAMES

CIL

To that most boring of events, the council’s annual budget meeting. Where 70 councillors argue for hours over a few million quid of a £400m budget that gets passed largely unscrutinised.

Last year, the Green’s longwinded Redland Councillor Martin “Yoda” Fodor – “Ramble for hours at a tangent, I can” – spotted that there was £12.5m of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding from corporate developers sat there doing nothing.

So he popped in an amendment suggesting that the money be spent on improving parks and the city’s national laughing-stock public transport system. This was voted down by Labour who claimed the money was earmarked for projects such as: City Centre/Castle Park, Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway, Green Infrastructure (inc tree planting & biodiversity improvements), City Region Sustainable Transport Strategy and Avon Flood Strategy.

At this year’s budget Yoda reappeared, he did, and popped in another amendment asking for £1m for parks and liveable neighbourhoods after he discovered there was £12.1m of CIL still sat there doing nothing. 

And Labour’s response? “The money’s earmarked for projects such as  City Centre/Castle Park, Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway,blah, blah, blah.”

Yoda’s amendment got through this time but then the Reverend’s took five days “to think about it” and then rejected it!

What a joke.

NEW ENERGY FIASCO AHOY!

City Leap  BE

The company currently running the city council’s businesses, Bristol Holding Ltd, delivers its final ever business plan. It arrives just before the company’s dumped on the bonfire and management of the council’s private businesses – Bristol Waste, Goram Homes and Bristol Heat Networks Ltd – is effectively handed back to the Mayor’s Office and serial business failure, the council’s Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson

The most intriguing aspect of this final business plan is the lack of anything at all about Bristol Heat Networks Ltd, which is alleged to have been trading since 2020 – 21. So how’s it doing? Er, who knows? Any report on the company has been disappeared with the promise that an exempt – or secret as we call it – document will appear for councillors some time before April.

This failure to provide any kind of business planning comes just months before Bristol Heat Networks is supposed to be handed over to City Leap to be part of a joint venture with a private sector partner, currently being procured at a cost of over £7m to the council tax payer.

The apparent basketcase nature of Bristol Heat Networks is no hindrance, we’re assured by Bristol Holding, to “a successful share sale to the winning City Leap joint venture.”

Really? A company with no published finance records, assets, staffing or operational plan is no threat to the council’s latest energy venture? Even Bristol Holding is forced to admit that there are “gaps and financial and operational risks” involved.

Is this Bristol Energy all over again?

AMAZON WATCH

Amazon, making big bucks out of people’s misery

Amazon watch

While Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos, plays at Star Wars, his new employees aren’t feeling the force. Initially drawn in by a decent pay offer, starting at £11 ph, they soon realise it ain’t worth it.

Amazon has a massive warehouse in Avonmouth. When we say massive, we mean bleeding enormous. One worker tells us they have a five minute walk, after stashing their stuff in their lockers, to get to their work station.  

The work station amounts to a fenced-off booth. You cannot see your colleagues and are not allowed to talk to them. You are stuck there for your 10 1/2 hour shift with one conveyor belt coming in and one going out.  One brings the goods in which you pack and then the other takes them out.  

During your 10 1/2 shift you are expected to pack 92 parcels every hour. That’s nearly impossible and puts great strain on the workers. The only human contact is managers poking their noses in to check that you are keeping up with your quota.  

Workers get two 30 minute breaks but with a five minute walk there and another five minutes back. it does not give you enough time to eat anything substantial.   

The worst thing about the working arrangements is that the employees have to stand all day. This is fine if you are a fucking hobbit but difficult if you are over 5 foot 2.  Most workers complain of back and leg pain.  

After a four day shift under these conditions, they are knackered. Most do not last long and there is a continuous stream of new employees who work until they cannot take it anymore. Only to be replaced by someone who looks at the wages but hasn’t got a clue about the working conditions.

Unions are trying to organise in there. While Amazon refuse to recognise any union for collective bargaining.  If you are effected  by these working practises by these working practises, want to fight back and want to know more, give ’em a shout.iww.org.uk/bristol

NIGHT OF THE LIVING HOUSING CRISIS

Layout 1

No, not the opening treatment for a new horror movie being shot soon in Bristol but a local resident’s comments about proposed tower blocks for Mead Street in the shadow of Totterdown. The developers of the scheme are a pension fund fronted by corporate real estate business DTZ Investors and the architects are “award winning” Sheppard Robson.

Someone urgently needs to drive a stake into the hearts of these bloodsuckers.

INFAMY! INFAMY! IT’S A WECA MAN CONSPIRACY!

dan-norris signing off
Dan signs off road that is ‘a conspiracy theory’

News that the government is handing WECA over £500m to give to First Bus (surely to “transform regional transport infrastrucure”? Ed) has got our brand new Metro Mayor Dan “The Weca Man” Norris hyperventilating with joy.

However a closer look at the plans reveals most of this money will be going into so-called “transport corridors” to develop more bloody Metrobus routes. The Metrobus having been conveniently redesignated from public laughing stock to “a step change in public transport” by the WECA Man’s optimistic transport bods.

An even closer look reveals the majority of the money may well be splurged on just one route – ‘The Bristol – Bath A4 Corridor’ in the jargon. Does this mean that on-off plans to build the Callington Road Link that would take cars off the A4 Bath Road and along the route of the disused North Somerset Railway line between Sandy Park and Callington Road are back on?

This a road scheme that the Reverend and his Labour councillors, taking time off from pretending that Brislington Meadows won’t have housing built on it by Homes England, deny is happening and have described it to locals as “a Lib Dem conspiracy theory”! 

Not a theory at all, however, according to WECA’s Public Transport Manager Phil Wright who confirmed on Twitter in the autumn that the road plan is very much under consideration again.

Is there a WECA conspiracy against Marvin’s Bristol Labour?