‘Enough is Enough’, the left wing campaign trying to get gullible socialists, tankies and bitter Corbynites to vote for Starmer’s right wing authoritarian Labour Party next year, brought their bandwagon to Bristol on October 1.
Inexplicably, this self-styled ‘working class campaign’ held their rally at the overtly middle class St George Hall in leafiest west Bristol. “A venue,” we’re told, “a lot of the audience didn’t seem unfamiliar with.”
Local speakers included Acorn Union Ltd boss Nick Ballard and posho Green Party UK leader Carla Denyer. (Because it’s not a proper socialist meeting without a posh twit on the platform talking bollocks is it?) Both speakers talked a lot about “action and not just words” as the working classes face household economic meltdown this winter.
But the only action on offer seemed to be an opportunity to join the speakers’ respective organisations and listen to more “action and not just words” speeches on repeat from self-selected working class leaders with little idea what to do.
Our man on the spot says there were no concrete proposals from this meeting and “no rank and file worker spoke and no discussion was allowed. It felt very top down.”
About as effective as a Brahms recital then. The normal offering at St Georges.
‘Hey hey we’re the ACORNS … We just rat-rattle around … We’re too busy careering … To put any rentiers down’
By Ex ACORN band member
After a string of minor hits since launching in 2014, skin and hair has been flying recently for tweenybopper band the ACORNS as they split messily with former frontman Tom ‘Plasticine Man’ Renhard.
The uncharismatic frontman had been moving in the well-worn ‘sellout’ direction ‘pursuing a solo career’ ever since he signed a contract with the Housing Delivery label at Rev. Rees’ Business Confidence for Christians Inc. (BCC), a wannabe global media empire last year.
Outside of the band’s credulous fan base, that involves total immersion in a ‘cult-like’ rapture where members all wear red shirts and scream band lyrics at gigs in unison, more sceptical observers have noted that the rupture between Plasticine Man and band leader/founder Nick ‘Action Man’ Ballard had been brewing for some time.
The British ACORNS arrived on the scene from Bristol as harmless no-hopers and immediately landed a series of minor hits. A partnership quickly developed between band leader Ballard and then-unknown aspiring frontman Renhard. The duo formed a close bond and together wrote their first hit full of 1960s innocence, ‘I’m A Believer’ to commemorate the occasion.
As the red-shirted ACORNS fan base grew, the pair followed this up with ‘IWW Funds Heist/Theme From The US ACORNS’ (featuring Wade Rathke) and ’Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Bad Ass Landlord Picket’.
The lyrical focus of these early pop-protest songs was on the rent difficulties of poor people. Yet by the time of their difficult second album, songs like ‘Last Bus To Eastville’ were not only an acknowledgement of a concentration of fans in East Bristol but also of the fact that the duo’s self-penned songs were expanding into other concerns. Such as the lack of reliable or affordable bus services, encouraging people ‘to go out and vote’, and erm, volunteering to collect rubbish.
The high point in this partnership, as their prophetic ‘Daydream Believer’ hit Number 1, was marked when Renhard was asked by the Rev. Rees of BCC Inc. to sing in City Hall to a rapt audience of more wealthy and respectable types than the ACORNS’ usual red-shirted riff-raff fan base.
Band members and fans had been assured by Ballard that the ACORNS would be playing regularly for the Reverend in person and would get career-launching gigs in spaces controlled by the Rev’s friends in ‘the business’ such as the Dipshit and Dudd Recordings and the Merchants (of Death) venture capital label.
However, it became increasingly apparent that the ACORNS were being actively excluded from the Reverend’s charmed circle and were failing to reach the nationwide acclaim they craved.
Not so Tom ‘Plasticine Man’ Renhard whose naked ambition to climb the greasy pole can be traced to his inexplicable membership of the Avon Pension Fund from 2015. A mainstream career move missed by ‘Action Man’ Ballard in the euphoria of the band’s 2014-19 smash hit run and the apparent Bono and The Edge-like success of their partnership.
The Rev. Rees appointing Renhard to the Homes Board as early as 2017 was also given the seal of approval by an indulgent Ballard leadership. The final straw for the ACORNS, however did not come until they were excluded this summer from the Renhard/BCC collaboration project ‘The Living (Dead) Rent Commission’ – an ongoing 3-4 month PsychoSilly festival of middle class hand-wringing at City Hall about ‘the regrettable suffering of proletarians’.
The ACORNS did not take this latest insult lying down or, more accurately, Nick Ballard, self-appointed band leader could not take anther slap in the face to his ego. He immediately denounced Renhard in the local press and as in many other press outlets as he and his minions could find willing to vent the ACORNS’ rage.
Their red-shirted fans even managed to shut down the first gig from Renhard/BCC’s ‘Loving Your Rent (Living Rent, surely? Ed) Commission’ earlier this month. Plasticine Man was then summarily expelled from the ACORNS. A course of action which he has objected to on the grounds of it being done ‘without due process’.
Feeling the pressure from a failed law suit in Sheffield against a ‘defamed’ landlord that had cost the band (or the fan base) £100K, Ballard further responded by penning the last to-date ACORNS hit song as a response to events. The bitter and angry ’Not Your Stepping Stone’.
The irony of this Punch and Judy shit-show is that Renhard could actually be correct about the lack of due process regarding his expulsion. Except that the ACORNS, oddly for a ‘unionised/community band led by the fans’, are still very vague about whether they even have a written constitution.
They are, in fact, registered at Companies House as not one, but two limited companies: ACORN the Union Ltd, and ACORN Community Organising Ltd. The latter run by Ballard and the former by fellow 1960s throwback crooner Louie ‘Louie’ Herbert.
Very much like a Trump, Putin or even a Marvin Rees show, whatever the Great Leader says goes and there is no comeback.
An overdue kick in the ass for the Reverend’s ineffective, unqualified and slimy ‘Chief Housing Warbler’ is not to be regretted for sure but as an example of internal democracy from an alleged ‘fan base-led’ community organisation/housing union? Hmm. .
Rather than reinforcing the lost Labour majority in the council democratically by reaching agreement with the rising Greens, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has doubled down on his already well-developed autocratic tendencies.
Encouraged by the authoritarian nature of the office he holds and the support of “even-higher in the firmament” despot Dan Norris as West of England Regional Mayor, Reverend Rees has instead surrounded himself with a personally selected cabinet of sycophantic courtiers. All eager to pretend to the deluded but fragile-as-glass messianic emperor that he’s fully clothed.
Alas, to complete the “choir of angels” required around the celestial centre, the steady drip-feed of sufficiently pliable self-seekers and arse-lickers was wearing thin on the ground, even for the Bristol Labour Party.
So please step forward Tom “Plasticene Man” Renhard to fill the gap. The pliant New Labour councillor for Horfield – a former nobody known only for his ambition and compulsive brown-nosing of anyone in the party he saw as useful for advancing his political career.
Greasy pole-dancer Renhard started from humble beginnings as the mere obedient secretary to Cllr Brenda “Commissar” Massey’s chairing of Horfield Branch Labour Party. He then proceeded to ingratiate himself with Bristol North-West’s Blairite MP Darren “Dipshit” Jones, before – most recently – sniffing out the Reverend Rees himself by providing “indispensable” services during the Mayor’s re-election campaign in April. As a direct consequence, he’s been elevated into the latter’s key cabinet post of Director of Housing.
Plasticene Man’s been catapulted into the office previously occupied by someone with at least a minimum of experience and credibility – Paul “Wolfie” Smith. His qualifications and talents for this are, according to Bristolians who’ve had the misfortune of working with the Play-Doh chameleon or who’ve been forced to rely on him for any competent undertaking – no matter how small – completely and utterly absent. It would appear therefore that the sole reason for Renhard’s selection as Marvin’s right-hand man in the cabinet is due to the elasticity of his composition.
Eager to be all things to all people and thereby to increase his profile and visibility among the gullible, Tom Renhard has been sliming around the Labour Party and the Co-op Party for some time. Not to mention the “tenants union”/community organisation ACORN, who are currently thrilled to laud him as the hero of their forlorn hope to acquire influence in Shitty Hall. So on the face of it, at least in The Reverend’s eyes, Plasticene Man is the perfect man for the job.
Bristol City Council has very, very quietly released limited membership details of its BRISTOL HOMES BOARD, tasked with spending a headline figure of £160m of our money to resolve the city’s housing crisis.
Naturally the equaliser, the Reverend Rees, has opted for a 75 per cent male, all-white board (except himself) stuffed with incompetent TIME-SERVERS and serial QUANGOCRATS to spend this large wedge of public money.
Alongside the Reverend and his sidekick, Labour housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith, you’ll find Alison “THREE JOBS” Comley, a senior city council boss and direct subordinate of Rees and Smith, hardly best placed to speak truth to power. Especially as she’s up to her neck in the council’s £30m unlawful budget scandal and is yet to be cleared.
Alison is joined by luminaries such as Stephen “What Crisis?”Teagle from Galliford Try Partnerships, a front for the corporate that runs house builders, LINDEN HOMES. Last year, Linden saw profits rise 21 per cent to £74.3m while its average house cost a mere £338,000. The company also boasts to shareholders that it has a LANDBANK of 14,250 plots. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis for them does it?
Also on the board is Knightstone Housing Association boss Nick Horne “Blower”. He was last seen sat on his useless lazy arse as a board member for West of England LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) while, directly under his nose, BAE sold their Filton Airfield land to YTL Homes UK. YTL is run by Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett who also happened to be the Chair of er, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership! This blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST clearly passed Nick by, even though the LEP was given a key role in marketing and developing the airfield for sale with the public money he was overseeing!
Nick also waved through TWO PAYMENTS from the LEP to board member George Ferguson’s Beer Factory and Bristol Brewing Company totalling £62k. A further £92k was paid to a company owned by one of Ferguson’s political donors, Alasdair “Sorearse” Sawday. What were these handouts for? Who knows? Because NO MINUTES exist of these board decisions and no documents indicating Ferguson’s interests were ever published by Horne’s LEP!
Also getting rewarded for serial incompetence and moving across from the useless board of the LEP to oversee millions of pounds of our money for housing in Bristol is Business West bigwig James “Licker” Durie. Not only is he unlikely to raise any difficult questions about any handouts to wealthy locals, he’s also a notorious salaried lackey for the MERCHANT VENTURERS.
Making up the numbers on the Rev’s quietly appointed board are a couple of posh public schoolboys turned voluntary sector luvvies – David “HAPPY CAMPER” Ingerslev from multi-million homeless charity St Mungos and the CEO of Elim Housing Association, Alistair “HEAD BOY” Allender. No doubt Head Boy can bring his street-level experience from Birkenhead School, “a top performing independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 months to 18” and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences to bear?
Further INEFFECTUAL luvvie input on our Homes Board will be supplied by Bevis Watts “The Fuck”, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. He’s a serial quangocrat who boasts the pie, booze and cash giveaway to the wealthy that was the board of the Green Capital, Bristol 2015 Ltd, on his CV!
Adding a healthy dose of surrealism to the whole affair, the board also has a ‘Head of Multi-Channel Fulfilment’ at the table – Debbie “Fulfil Me” Franklin from the Andrews Property Group, a local LETTINGS AGENCY, no less. Career bureaucrat David “The Loaf” Warburton from the Homes and Community Agency quango is also along for the £160m public money ride
The small amount of hope we can invest in this board lies with the final two members. Geraldine Winkler, a housing solicitor with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre and Tom Renhard, a member of tenants union ACORN. He also sits on the board of the Avon Pension Fund for some random reason and we note with concern that Renhard was funded by local authority bosses’ union UNISON to help him get on to this pension board. It’s unclear, too, whether Renhard was a personal appointment by the Vicar or whether he was chosen directly by Acorn members.
As always, it’s just as interesting to note who ISN’T on the committee – seasoned troublemakers or gobshites known to be prepared to stand up to a committee of pie-munching land dealing wankers who forget to keep minutes. And It’s further worth noting that there was no sign of a competitive application process to join this board disbursing £160m of our cash. Instead membership is entirely courtesy of the political PATRONAGE of the Reverend Mayor Rees well away from any scrutiny by councillors and public.
The last “PUBLIC MEETING” of this board took place on 29 June. Despite being “public”, no reports were issued and the board was, instead, treated to a series of Max Wide “Boy” style verbal briefings and crappy Powerpoint presentations that will never be seen again. Already, we have to ask, are these board members doing their jobs properly?
Looks like yet another Green Party councillor’s PUBLIC pronouncements on housing don’t quite match his PRIVATE arrangements.
An irate ACORN tenants union member calls to tell us that the Green Party Councillor for Southville, Bristol Pound bigwig and er, ACORN tenants union member Stephen “Daddy” Clarke, has EVICTED a tenant from one of his numerous local buy-to-let investments after the tenant told him that his rent increase of 28 per cent was unaffordable!
The evicted tenant had been sharing with Daddy Clarke’s daughter, Katie “Snowflake” Finnegan-Clarke, a self-styled ‘SOCIAL JUSTICE CONSULTANT‘ who’s main contribution to progressive causes is ‘being around when the media arrive’ we’re told. Snowflake originally advertised daddy’s house as “LOW RENT in line with local housing allowance so people on a low income can afford to live here.”
At £292 per month plus £60 towards bills, the idea seemed to be about building a stable and secure home for people on low incomes. However towards the end of the tenant’s six month contract they received an email from Ms Finnegan-Clarke advising them of CHANGES to the rent.
Snowflake explained that daddy wanted to INCREASE the rent so each room was rented at the same price as THE REST of his properties in Bedminster and Totterdown. This would be £382 every four weeks. Snowflake claimed she had been trying to negotiate with daddy but “without a huge amount of luck”. So the rent would be increasing to £375 a month (excluding bills) from 27 June. “In-line with comparable properties in Easton,” she claimed.
When asked why the rent was being increased, Snowflake explained that daddy, who bought the property on a buy-to-let mortgage, was affected by changes in tax law to TOP RATE taxpaying landlords. This meant the poor dear could no longer put his mortgage repayments against his business expenses and Daddy didn’t want to ‘LOSE MONEY‘ … On a property which had only gone up £100,000 since he purchased it five years ago!
The tenant complained that the rent rise was not something they could AFFORD and Ms Finnegan-Clarke told them to negotiate directly with Daddy Clarke. However, the following Monday an email arrived from Snowflake.
“As I labored to make clear in the room advert, in our initial skype interview and during our face-to-face interview, the lodgers agreement was only supposed to last six months in order to give us (and now me) the flexibility required and was reflected in the LOW RENT.
“The HOUSE DYNAMICS haven’t been working for me, and you do not seem happy in the house either, so I would like to formally end the extended lodgers agreement. Please accept this email as WRITTENNOTICE of the end of your Lodger Agreement at Hinton Road, Bristol.”
And with that Clarke and his social justice warrior daughter – who does lots of ‘work’ to raise awareness about issues of gender and race – evicted the tenant because the “house dynamics” were wrong.
The absolute fiasco of SECRET and CLOSED hustings featuring only carefully selected candidates from the establishment political parties continues to blight the mayoral elections.
We have already reported in The BRISTOLIAN how BUSINESS WEST invited just the Tories, Labour and George Ferguson to some very hush-hush hustings at their Leigh Court Mansion in March where, no doubt, the Merchant Venturers issued their orders to candidates.
We also reported how, at least, one hustings on housing run by crappy homeless charity, ST MUNGOS, was kept secret to keep independent candidates and their opinions out of the way and tricky questions at bay.
Now we’ve uncovered a whole series of hustings where independent candidates, UKIP and TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Colaition) have been DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED by the organisers.
Among these was a hustings instigated by the TUC at the Unite Union HQ, Tony Benn House, on Victoria Street in early April. This turned into a major humiliation for the TUC, however, when the excluded candidates organised a PROTEST outside Tony Benn House (pictured).
“Who made the TUC gatekeepers of democracy”
Surely this protest marks a significant NEW LOW in this city’s fine trade union tradition? And maybe it’s something the union bureaucrats and bosses responsible need to think long and hard about. Once ordinary people are protesting about you isn’t it time you carefully considered your position?
Especially after the TUC’s shitty little BIASED and MANIPULATED hustings only managed to attract about 30 people from a trade union membership in the tens of thousands in Bristol. Are these self-appointed trade union bosses in touch with anyone in the city outside their FRIENDS in the local Labour Party?
On the plus side, it seems the teachers union, the NUT, learned from the TUC’s huge EMBARRASSMENT and avoided a further HUMILIATING protest against trade unions. They hurriedly arranged invites for ALL the candidates for their hustings at Tony Benn House a few weeks later.
Not so, however, from other so-called progressive organisations in the city who seem desperate to control any political debate and EXCLUDE any troublesome views that might fall to the left of Labour’s right wing candidate Marvin “Luther” Rees.
Hustings organised by the CREATIVE YOUTH NETWORK for young people; VOSCUR for community and voluntary organisations; ACORN, the direct action tenants organisation and even hustings on disabilities organised jointly by The National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for the Blind, Mencap and the Bristol Centre for Deaf People all EXCLUDED legitimate mayoral candidates.
In the case of the disability hustings, it’s nothing short of extraordinary that organisations supposedly dedicated to preventing exclusion should OPENLY EXCLUDE people! The other organisations involved are, mainly, thinly disguised LABOUR SUPPORTERS obviously petrified of giving a platform to any of the many left wing critics of Marvin “Luther” Rees among the mayoral candidates.
Mayor Loser’s supporters appear to have been getting in on this act too. A hustings at the Analphoney art gallery organised by the RIDICULOUS POSH BOYS running the POINTLESS Bristol Pound project also FAILED to invite most candidates because there wasn’t “enough time”. Although it looked more like a last ditch effort to keep the wheels on Mayor Massive Defeat’s car crash campaign by banning all his more open and aggressive critics.
Welcome to progressive politics in Bristol where dissent will be quietly suppressed and democracy overlooked due to time constraints.
Clueless, interfering councillor supports high rents in Bedminster and low rents in Redfield.
Decent homes for everyone, but not for Bedminster.
GORMLESS Green councillor, ROB “BEMMIE BOY” TELFORD, Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty’s Ashley Ward mini-me, has been practising u-turns.
For some reason, back in March, Bemmie Boy took it upon himself to comment on the controversial proposed 15 storey high tower block development at ST KATHERINE’S PLACE at the top of East Street in Bedminster, some TWO MILES from his leafy ward.
“I think the scheme would have a detrimental effect on a lot of the local character, with surrounding trees blocked out from many vistas. The buildings are simply too high and block many other vistas,” pronounced the resident of, er, ST WERBURGHS in a formal letter about the application.
But not only is Bemmie Boy interfering in South Bristol where he’s not wanted, he can’t make up his mind up either. Five months later, just before the planning meeting, he wrote formally again: “Having MET WITH THE ARCHITECTS of this scheme and discussed some of the contentious issues surrounding it, I would like to withdraw my previous objection to this planning application,” he announced.
Why the architects were meeting with the councillor for Ashley to discuss a development miles away in Bedminster isn’t clear.
And neither is it clear why the Bemmie Boy’s Ashley Ward colleague SIR GUS HOYTY-TOYTY also waded into this SOUTH BRISTOL PLANNING ISSUE on the Bristol 24/7 news site with one of his semi-literate internet hissy fits aimed at local, south Bristol Lib Dems who are unhappy with this risible, though highly profitable, scheme that will deliver luxury flats and absolutely No AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Why have this pair developed such a passionate interest in a multi-million pound property development on the other side of town all of a sudden?
Meanwhile Bemmie Boy, while promoting luxury private developments with high rents for the wealthy in Bedminster, is also fighting “to end rip-off tenancy fees and insecure renting”.
in EAST BRISTOL. Again, an area some two miles from his ward.
Bemmie Boy was spotted in July joining a protest in Redfield organised by the Easton based Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN) against estate agent Holbrook Moran and their ripping off of private tenants.
We wonder whether Bemmie Boy informed his fellow protestors about his support for luxury private developments in South Bristol?