News that his friend, newly-minted Deputy Mayor and public service cutter-in-chief, Asher “Slasher” Craig, had run up a £5k council tax debt that had to be paid off by the Bristol Labour Group of councillors late last year, had the Reverend scrambling for some fascinating excuses.
“I don’t think anyone should rush to judgement. We cannot and should not exclude people from local politics on the basis of their income or other disadvantages.” he mused to the press. Possibly suggesting that Slasher should be considered “disadvantaged” because of her low income.
Is she? Slasher owed around £5k in tax to us, which is about three years council tax at normal rates. So what had the poverty-stricken councillor been up to in that time? Er, taking plenty of exotic holidays by the look of it.
A brief perusal of Slasher’s Facebook page reveals that while she was running up her significant debt to us over the three years 2013 – 16, the Reverend’s favourite hard-up councillor managed to fit in a considerable number of exciting foreign trips.
Florida is, apparently, one popular destination with the disadvantaged as Slasher managed trips to Orlando in 2014 and 2015 and to Miami in 2013 and 2014. For a change of scenery in 2014, the Slasher also managed to squeeze in a visit to the Spanish royal resort of Santander for a richly deserved getaway from disadvantage.
2015 then saw Slasher travelling to that notorious haven for the disadvantaged , the Canaries . While come 2016 – what with an election to win on the theme of “inequality” and Labour colleagues to blag for an emergency cash bailout – Slasher confined herself to just a brief weekend in Paris!
Disadvantaged readers might like to also note that Slasher recommends on Facebook the beauty parlour where she gets her ‘deep tissue holistic massage’ from. She especially recommends this for people who are feeling ‘stressed‘. Perhaps because your local library, customer service point or other vital public service has been shut without notice?
But we best not “rush to judgement”, eh?
Bizarre Cabinet reshuffle from the Reverend Rees last month. The highlight of which was a BLATANT LEAK to the press of his decision to fire his Labour rival for Mayor and transport chief Mark “LAME DUCK” Bradshaw days before the official announcement.
Quite what the Reverend and his PR point man Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe thought they might achieve by publicly firing Bradshaw is anyone’s guess. Maybe it boosted the pair’s FRAGILE EGOS and helped them feel like they were actually in charge of something?
The Reverend also took the opportunity to PROMOTE his close friend, hapless incompetent Asher “The Slasher” Craig, to Deputy Mayor alongside yes-man Craig “Crapita” Cheney, the cabinet’s overpromoted finance man.
Slasher’s promotion came just days before another LEAK to the press appeared. This one claiming Close-It’s enormous £5k council tax DEBT, run up over a number of years and still outstanding when she was elected councillor last May and promoted to Cabinet in the autumn, was paid off by the local Labour Party!
The LEGALITY of any of Slasher’s financial decisions while having an undeclared debt with the council is being carefully studied. As is her new portfolio extended to include public health and public transport alongside her existing and disastrous responsibilities for demolished kids’ playgrounds, collapsing Neighbourhood Partnerships, underfunded leisure centres, closing libraries, decaying community assets and up-for-sale parks.
“Even those on the right wing of the Bristol Labour Party think she’s A TORY!” is how one insider described Slasher to us recently.
Meanwhile, the Reverend is taking on PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the ongoing Arena non-appearance project and for elements of the TRANSPORT brief, particularly congestion. Effectively splitting responsibility for the city’s difficult and badly managed transport brief between himself and useless Asher the Slasher. Of course, neither have any EXPERIENCE whatsoever of transport.
The Reverend and Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe are desperately touting this reshuffle as a “CONSOLIDATION OF POWER“. However, the press leaks; the Reverend’s new responsibility for two poisoned chalices and the promotion of an idiot – Asher the Slasher – look more like an administration UNRAVELLING.
There may be trouble ahead …
Although the Reverend Rees and his hapless Cabinet sidekick Asher “Close-It” Craig haven’t officially announced it yet, Bristol City Council’s housing office and Citizen Service Point, Symes House, in Hartcliffe will be CLOSING on 31 March 2017.
Councillors actually voted that things like libraries, Citizen Service Points and neighbourhood partnerships would close or be wound down over the NEXT TWO YEARS. So closing the Hartcliffe office immediately doesn’t seem in the spirit of the plan.
Especially as Councillor Close-It had told both BBC Radio Bristol on 17 February and residents at a well-attended Mayoral event held at the Withywood Centre on 9 March that there would be a CONVERSATION with the local community partnership before anything happened
Councillor Close-It had even mentioned that the popular Citizen Service Point could be incorporated into the library situated in the @Symes building next door. Although efforts to contact Councillor Close-It to start that conversation have failed as she’s NOT RETURNING CALLS!
The Reverend’s cuts consultation last year provoked an impressive response from the local community in Hartcliffe. More people took part in the BS13 area than most other areas in Bristol. There was also a community petition with over 1,400 signatures asking the mayor NOT to cut services in one of the most deprived areas in Bristol.
Many people in Hartcliffe now say they feel BETRAYED by the Reverend and Councillor Close-It as they clearly haven’t lived up to the undertaking they had given to people. Instead, council bosses have been given FREE REIN to do what the hell they feel like in Hartcliffe and shut down the office without an exit strategy, a long term plan or, even, an explanation.
Another Rees policy delivery shambles.