With the ink freshly dried on Bristol City Council’s pay policy, we’re pleased to reveal the first City Council worker we’ve discovered breaking it. Please step up, er. Stepping Up Director, Christine “Wonky* Bamford. She’s the lucky recipient on the receiving end of a trail of payments of over £22k a month to run the Reverend’s scheme to promote more black people into management roles at the council.
Rather than paying someone around £50k a year to run their pet project, the Reverend and his cabinet sidekick, Asher “The Slasher” Craig, have decided that they need to fork out in excess of £250k a year of our money to Stanford educated HR wonk, Bamford instead.
The route the council has chosen to take to pay Wonky is intriguing. Rather than running a competitive recruitment process to appoint a proper member of staff, the council is paying a procurement firm, Bloom, over £22k a month to pay London-based recruitment firm Davidson and Partners, a firm with no employees. It then appears that this recruitment firm pay a fee to Wonky, who describes herself as Davidson and Partners’ ‘Head of Talent and Leadership Development’.
The stench of tax efficient payments is strong with this one. Although it doesn’t stop there. Training fees for Stepping Up totalling £30k were also paid to a company called Smart People Solutions back in 2020. And the owner of Smart People solutions? Please step forward Christine “Wonky” Bamford.
Yet another of Wonky’s network of firms is Women’s Coin, a cryptocurrency firm “for social good”. Wonky is listed as the CEO of this firm. While Asher “The Slasher”, the cabinet member responsible for Stepping Up and its odd approach to the employment and pay of Wonky, has been appointed chair of Wonky’s firm’s charitable wing, the Women’s Coin Foundation.
Eighteen days after his election and the Reverend Rees still hasn’t managed to find a full cabinet for his second term.
Despite reappointing his ‘Infamous Five’, the two deputy mayors – Craig “Dick” Cheney and Asher “The Slasher” Craig – his anointed successor – Helen “Oh My” Godwin – court favourite – Nicola “La La” Beech – and aging makeweight – HRH Helen of Holland – Rees still has no cabinet members to run Transport, Housing or Education.
Neither is the Reverend intending, it seems, to reach out to the Greens by giving them some cabinet seats after they decimated his councillors and destroyed his majority at the election.
What is his plan then? Is the Reverend going to end all pretence of democracy in Bristol and simply let council managers and appointed One City business wankers run these departments any way they see fit?
Questions are also being asked about the appointment of La La Beech to the Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy brief. Here, among other things, she’ll nursemaid through Rees’s deranged City Leap public asset sell-off to a multinational company. This may result in the burning of as much shit as possible in Avonmouth to generate loads of lucrative dirty (surely clean? Ed.) energy.
Alas, it turns out that La La Beech, in her day job as a corporate PR consultant, lists one of her clients as the National Grid. is there a conflict of interest here at all?
Since Colston came off his pedestal and went for a swim on June 7th social media, TV and the press have been dominated by politicians, journalists and so-called ‘community spokespeople’ gushing with praise for the statue coming down.
The Mayor’s Office even banged on in a press statement that the Reverend Rees had an audience of 10 million around the world, from Bangladesh to Tokyo after Colston’s ‘burial at sea’. However, while seizing this new opportunity for pontificating, Rees conveniently failed to give a toss about the people who had put him on the world stage. That was the 17 or so demonstrators who had been identified under Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s orders to “get these people” – the statue topplers.
So as Rees was boring the masses in Bangladesh, Avon & Somerset Police were being forced to line up charges of criminal damage that could put the protestors away for up to 10 years. And what did Rees do? Intervene at the Council for the good of the city and agree not to press charges, allowing the cops to give two fingers to Patel? Like fuck he did … Far better to bathe in the glare of global publicity and forget about those who put him there.
Campaigners who have fought for many years for the Colston statue to be removed and to get a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery in the City have been astounded by the two-faced hypocrisy of these turncoats. Rees told Points West:
“When I first came in, myself and a number of black people in the creative sector said that the best thing to do is to keep that [Colston] debate away from me.”
So Mr Civil Rights’s major contribution to the struggle to get the Merchant Venturers pet slave trader off our streets and schools was not just to do nothing but to actively discourage others from getting involved.
When calls came to change the name of the Colston Hall in 2017 Rees was silent, refusing to make his position clear until he was caught like a rabbit in the headlights at the end of a TV programme. Martin Luther King, who Rees idolises, must be turning in his grave.
In 2019 after the Merchant Venturers had spent months sanitising the wording on a plaque for the statue that was meant to correct the history of Colston, Rees only intervened to avoid becoming a laughing stock. Finally using some of his executive power to block the Venturer’s sanitised plaque before heading to the hills faster than Dominic Cummings in a top of the range Land Rover, leaving the project in limbo for over a year.
Meanwhile Rees’s second in command Asher Craig’s hardly covered herself in glory in dealing with persistent calls by campaigners for a permanent memorial to remember the victims of the trans-atlantic slave trade. Bristol lags far behind other ports like Liverpool and Nantes in France that were involved in the ‘vile trade’ and have made major efforts to both memorialise the victims and tell the history – warts and all.
One historian from Bristol University stated in a meeting with Asher Craig in March 2019 “that Bristol’s reputation abroad, when referring to the city’s response to its slaving past, was very bad”. He also said that Bristol shouldn’t limit its ambitions regarding a slavery museum, “the city should think big and be better than Liverpool”.
Bristol City Council have missed opportunities to right this embarrassing wrong many times. In 1996 around the Festival of the Sea, in 1999 when the Respectable Trade exhibition was launched, in 2007 with the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade and again in 2015 when the Colston protests began.
In 2017 campaigners from three groups and local residents proposed the Abolition Shed project, which wanted to convert two council-owned warehouses on Welsh Back into a memorial for the victims of the African slave-trade with a visitor centre to tell the history. When they approached Asher Craig to get support from Bristol City Council she basically told them to clear off and get some private funding.
Despite this slap in the face campaigners continued the fight to halt the council’s proposed development of the warehouses into more restaurants and bars and to finally do something. This persistence and enthusiasm by unpaid Bristolians who gave a fuck about the memorial, the history and the city’s reputation was clearly starting to annoy Rees and Craig.
In August 2019 Marvin angrily demanded to know “who the campaigners were” and in response to their proposals cited a record in office of being amazing, without, of course, any concrete commitment to a memorial and museum. Asher was even more furious claiming“the City was now taking this seriously” and accusing the campaigners of being “bullies”. One local historian from the Counter-Colston group commented:
“Despite the fact that it is just not true, for Asher to characterise people as ‘bullies’ who have, without ‘funding’ and political power given lots of time and energy over several years to try to get something done after decades of failure, is disgraceful.”
Needless to say the Abolition Shed project was strangled at birth by Rees, Craig and the Council as they voted to turn the warehouses into pizza restaurants whilst wasting a million quid on moving a barge to appease the developers. Another missed opportunity in Bristol’s tradition of failure.
Asher’s only response to persistent demands for a memorial was to set up a ‘roundtable’, which descended into the usual talking shop while those who wanted to get a concrete commitment from the Council were seen as ‘troublemakers’.
It is also no surprise that Marvin’s response to Colston’s statue coming down was to propose a ‘history commission’. Looking into the “true history of the city”, which sounds like another opportunity for free-loading academics to fail to do anything.
So here we are, kicking the can down the road again….
With our libraries “SAVED” until next year after the mayoral election, the Reverend’s trusty deputy, Asher “The Slasher” Craig has embarked on another bloody “CONVERSATION” about libraries in the city.
The focus this time around has been on talking to PEOPLE
WHO DON’T USE LIBRARIES. Presumably on the basis that, maybe, they’ll be
more sympathetic to The Slasher unloading a prized public service on to
volunteers than our organised and informed local LIBRARY CAMPAIGNERS AND
The Slasher, not keen on libraries and not too bothered about making wild
remarks regarding them either, has not passed up the opportunity to wade into
this conversation herself. Brazenly announcing to the press, “one of the
issues in our city is we have TOO MANY ASSETS, TOO MANY BUILDINGS IN
OUR PUBLIC SECTOR.”
Really? And how many businesses have you ever heard complaining that they have
“TOO MANY ASSETS“? Is the Slasher, by any chance, seeking to
dispose of some more community-based assets and any service they might contain
to fund some more AIMLESS VANITY PROJECTS at College Green?
The Reverend, too, has joined “the conversation”. In response to a
question at a Full Council meeting, he announced, “THERE IS NO DOUBT
THE LIBRARY MODEL IS NOT FIT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY“. Who says? As this
claim appears despite A LACK OF ANY RECORDED EVIDENCE held by the
council of residents wanting change to our libraries, even after two
consultations and a report costing £40k.
Is the Labour Party arranging to wreck our library service regardless of what
By Lucy Balderdash, recently reassigned to the BBC (stop press)
Following on from the (alleged, ed.) persecution of Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees last weekend by a group of ‘disgusting anarchists’ and covered by The Guardian, the BBC can reveal that his deputy Asher Craig’s socks (are you sure? ed.) were brutally attacked by a yellow vest left on a wall outside the upstanding citizen’s home.
Bristol Deputy Mayor Asher Craig takes up the story: “I came out of my home on the very same morning as Marvin was savagely told to dye wool,” she explained breathlessly, “to find my socks engaged in a fight to the death with a racist/sexist yellow vest that had been lying on my wall in wait for me to come outside.”
“Luckily my socks got there first and overpowered the terrorist garment before I set foot outside. I hope my socks get an OBE for their bravery – one of them sustained severe dye damage and has some pulled threads that it sustained in the battle (so was this a sox-attack? ed.).”
The police are currently investigating links to the ‘Bob The Builder’ cartoon character, and any sexist/racist thought crimes regarding Asher Craig that he may have (are you quite sure Bob is a he, Lucy? ‘He’ may identify as a woman, ed.).
Owners of this white supremacist cartoon character in toy or video format are advised to come forward and surrender it to New Bridewell police station for immediate interrogation, or face the consequences.
(Err, could this story not arise out of a Grauniadesque typo in the headline, Lucy? ed.)
The city of Bristol was in shock last weekend after Bristol Mayor, The Reverend Marvin Rees, discovered the shocking words MARVIN MUST *censored* written on the road in front of his house. But in a dramatic new development yesterday, the CID arrested Bristol ‘artisan dyer’ Marmafluke Twatt for what appears to be a small business self-publicity stunt gone horribly wrong.
The Very Rev. Rees and his trusty curate Asher Craig were quick to point the blame at ‘a small group’ of ‘disgusting anarchists’ occupying The Bearpit roundabout in the city centre and providing help for Bristol’s legions of homeless, accusing these heartless ragamuffins of making a ‘sickening racist attack’ on The Mayor.
“It’s another attack on me,” said The Reverend from the safety of his office, accompanied by a (cost unknown) outsourced violinist in the corner. “Just like what happened in Poland! Yet another hate crime against my good name, committed by those domestic extremists of BHAM and The Bristolian”.
When asked why he thought the attack might be racist, the defensive mayor-priest responded, ‘Well… it’s obvious! I’m black… er, aren’t I?’ At this, The Reverend looked to his deputy for confirmation, who quickly nodded in agreement. ‘And they’re white,’ she added with emphasis.
However, after exhausting their hit-list of disgusting anarchists to no avail, the CID got a tip-off that led them to an artisan clothier’s workshop in Snowflake Crescent, Montpelier, where the suspect quickly confessed. It turned out that the Reverend Rees had been the target of a poorly-conceived publicity drive by ‘artisan clothier’ Marmafluke Twatt of Dyeing 2 Please U plc, who hoped to get The Mayor’s attention and a subsidy from his overflowing slush fund for ‘Bristol Arts and Crafts’.
‘It was all a terrible mistake,’ said a manicure-bearded and tearful Twatt from his police cell yesterday. ‘I hit on this innovative, daring idea to promote myself and hired a spray paint can-armed prole from Hartcliffe at the minimum wage, but sadly didn’t believe him when he told me he was dyslexic and couldn’t spell the word “Dye”. Hence he painted an eye after MARVIN MUST and the letter D, and this dreadful misunderstanding all stems from there. I’ve never ever been a racist, please believe me, and I’m innocent!’
‘No toleration will be tolerated in multi-cultural Bristol for disgusting anarchist hate-rape-crime-trolls against minorities or radicalised anti-Semitic domestic extremist narco-gang people-trafficker economic migrant members in collusion with far-right racist, xenophobic, sexist, anti… (cont. p. 96),’ commented Asher Craig afterwards from the Mayoral pulpit.
Pitch your tent and man the BARRICADES! The Bearpit has been taken! Staring down the forces of gentrification, the ragtag militia of the BEARPIT DEFENCE FORCE (BDF) have dug in deep and are preparing with their allies for a long, hard winter campaign.
New Labour’s General Rees holds the eastern front, flanked by his psyops commander Kevin Slocombe and Kamikaze pilot Asher “THE SLASHER” Craig. Pumping out the propaganda, The Slasher has claimed that “the Bearpit experiment is over” and has promised the bourgeois forces a ‘creative hub’, coffee bean mushroom farm and EVICTION of the homeless residents.
After hearing this news the residents have used BDF support to OCCUPY strategic areas on the battlefield. The residents now have access to water, shelter and security.
New Labour’s proxy zealots ‘THE CIRCLE’ corporation are spread across the Northern front, cutting off supply lines to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and hoping to intercept new recruits.
New Labour Circle puppets Miriam ‘Carbs’ Delogu, Simon ‘Fundsurfer’ Green and Robin ‘Spent’ Halpenny have sought resupply from TRIODOS BANK and RESONANCE to continue their fight, despite closing their Bearritos command centre three times in 2018 (it was dissolved at companies house in August 2017).
The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft remain engaged in street fighting within their capital, dragging out pitched battles near HAMILTON HOUSE and TURBO ISLAND. We hope that PRSC freedom fighters will soon break the northern lines of the Circle and deliver much-needed paintbrushes and decorative ceramics to the cause.
On the Southern front intelligence suggests that The GOLDEN KEY, a shady multi agency placeholder for the homeless will be holding a meeting with Broadmead Improvement District’s (BID) Gruppenfuher John ‘thehomelessareaterroristthreat’ Hirst and Golden Key’s own Nick ‘TENTSNATCHER‘ Hooper at John Wesley’s Chapel, 36 The Horsefair. Heavy artillery is moving into place to ensure that there will be no treaty signed between the Circle corporation and BID.
We call on the people of Bristol to stand on legs that have rested for far too long and fight with hands that have for too long been held behind our backs. Homeless, renting, squatting, boating or whatever your situation, STAND UP NOW! Stand up to neoliberal New Labour politicians, stand up to developers taking a slice of OUR city, stand up to unelected fundraising children who throw a tantrum at the sight of a rough sleeper!
Get your dirty hands dirtier! Join the BDF and gender-neutral pronoun the barricades
The recent EVICTIONS of homeless people living in vans and caravans from Greenbank, Easton and an ENCAMPED PROTEST in July on the council’s doorstep on College Green has focused attention on BCC’s homelessness prevention and provision services. As well as its new draft policy proposal on van dwellers and rough sleeper encampments.
As The BRISTOLIAN recently highlighted, a private for profit company, Social Impact Bristol Ltd is to commodify and make a profit from homeless people through a SOCIAL IMPACT BOND.
So it may not entirely be a coincidence that the recently launched DRAFT POLICY ON ROUGH SLEEPER ENCAMPMENTS is proposing to wholly outsource homelessness provision to St Mungo’s. An organisation that is intimately involved with Social Impact Bristol Ltd. and will be paying interest to the ‘high net worth individuals’ that have invested in it.
Bristol is seeing increasing numbers of people BECOMING HOMELESS, with some taking control of their own living conditions by squatting, living in vans, caravans and tents and refusing to pay exorbitant rents to landlords.
Sadly far too many are falling through our social safety net and ending up on the streets. Against this backdrop, a policy proposal that would seem to originate from the DEPUTY MAYOR’S OFFICE seeks to coral all rough sleepers into a ‘pathway’ through St Mungos. Encampments, even if deemed “low impact” with no anti social behaviour complaints, are only going to be tolerated for a maximum of 3 months and then dwellers will be forced into a “pathway”.
Whilst Marvin has been jetting off to Asia to seek international finance at a Green Growth seminar, there are people who are living environmentally LOW IMPACT LIFESTYLES that are going to be directly affected by the Draft Policy proposal on Rough Sleeper Encampments. A policy headed by Tom Gilchrist, BCC Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer, who has publicly stated he “wants to see everyone in bricks and mortar”.
How does this draft policy proposal fit in with Marvin and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig’s public statements about inclusivity, sustainable living and other corporate drivel?
Many homeless people refuse to engage with St Mungo’s, citing reasons of chronic drug dealing, serious substance misuse issues, violence and theft within St Mungo’s hostels. St Mungo’s own outreach workers state that they don’t have the capacity to deal with the number of homeless people, and admit that St Mungo’s hostels are DANGEROUS AND UNSAFE for those that do use them.
We ask why would a draft policy proposal that comes under the remit of the Deputy Mayor be calling for all homeless people to be CORRALLED into St Mungo’s when St Mungo’s doesn’t have the capacity or the safe conditions to properly assist some of the most vulnerable people in our city?
It wouldn’t have anything to do with providing a financial investment return to those high net worth individuals that have invested in Social Investment Bristol Ltd would it?
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?