The long and dull mayoral election campaign for 2020 briefly sparked into a bit of life at the end of January when the Lib Dems announced they would campaign in 2020 to SCRAP THE MAYORAL SYSTEM in Bristol.
The Lib Dems are yet to announce who their candidate will be but here at The BRISTOLIAN we think this has the sound of a very popular policy indeed. Will disgruntled and disgusted Bristolians sick to death of their underperforming and overpaid ‘city leaders’ and mayor deliver these clowns the ultimate KICK IN THE ELECTORALKNACKERS?
The news is especially bad for the Reverend Rees. He may not only FACE DEFEAT IN MAY 2020 after a miserable term in office promoting Tory policies but he also may be personally responsible for the REJECTION of the mayoral system altogether! What a humiliating – if deserved – legacy!
The Greens, too, running a long campaign fronted by DULL TECHNOCRAT, Sandy Bufton-Tufton (surely Hore-Ruthven? ed.), may also be disappointed at this news. Having tried to position themselves as the main challengers to Rees and Labour, they may now need to RETHINK THEIR CAMPAIGN quite radically.
The boring, technocratic campaign they envisaged with Bufton-Tufton endlessly bickering with Rees over MARGINAL ISSUES such as ‘social value tendering’, the best placement of cycle lanes in Bishopston and who is best able to get the buses to run on time by treating First boss, James Freeman, to lunch once a month, is DEAD IN THE WATER.
Instead the Greens will need to go BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD and devise some eye-catching policies for people to vote for. The Greens will also need to convince a cynical electorate that Bufton-Tufton isn’t another pillock interested in the foreign travel opportunities and photo-ops with his friends rather than running A COUNCIL FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BRISTOLIANS.
Wasn’t it lovely to see the former youthful Labour Parliamentary candidate for Skipton and Repton and former employee of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Claire “Babe” Hazelgrove, out ‘on the doorstep’ campaigning hard to keep the mayoral system in Bristol?
On April 30 Claire even announced on Twitter, “Final few days before the referendum on keeping our strong city mayor role – or moving backwards to the indecisive “committee system”.”
However, some might find this a strange comment from someone fronting up a national organisation, TPXimpact, that has just been contracted by Bristol City Council to deliver a number of workshops at public expense to members of the city’s local area committees and voluntary sector about how to best spend millions of pounds in the city’s poorest areas.
There have already been questions about why TPXimpact were brought in, in the first place, rather than using existing well established facilitators available in Bristol. Now there may be even more questions about why an enthusiastically pro-Mayor Labour Party member was brought in just before a referendum where Labour backed keeping a mayor and Claire Babe publicly campaigned for it.
Don’t expect to get too many answers from the Reverend about it.
Some tittle-tattle about the Labour Party and the mayoral referendum: a little birdy tells us Bristol Labour never passed a motion through their internal processes about any of it. Therefore the membership never confirmed that they supported having mayor in Bristol.
Instead, it seems,Labour councillors and members were instructed by the Reverend and his team to support a mayor for Bristol in a referendum all about, er, democracy and whether one person in the city making all the decisions was a good idea?
This may explain why few Labour members bothered to campaign and the Reverend suffered a crushing defeat.
Isn’t this also something a decent local journalist might have bothered to ask some questions about during the campaign?