Tag Archives: Bristol Cable

BULLY CHENEY’S LAME SPIN MACHINE FORGETS TO TELL US THE TRUTH

Cheney: always research and clarify as he may be talking bollocks

The Reverend Rees’s rookie finance chief, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, has issued a bizarre and slightly mental statement attacking the Bristol Cable after they published an article this week claiming the Reverend was employing MORE – not less – bosses at the council on salaries of £50k a year or more.

In a meandering outburst lacking in either PRECISION or CLARITY – and obviously written by arse-covering council managers for him – Cheney fails to CONFIRM or DENY the accuracy of the Cable’s central claim. Instead he ATTACKS the paper for quoting information he personally signed off as accurate and complete and ready for public consumption.

“The MISTAKE [The Cable] made is in the READING of a table of data contained in the council’s draft annual statement of accounts,” Cheney spins with a straight face. Of course, how silly of people to read the data Cheney supplied in his accounts! That’s not what a published “table of data” is for at all is it? Cheney then cheerily slags the Cable for “not approaching the council to RESEARCH and CLARIFY the nature of that data.”

Er, why would they? Is Cheney claiming anything he publishes needs to be researched and clarified because it’s probably a load of BOLLOCKS? Is this not a little time-consuming for a council claiming to be struggling to resource basic public services and confusing for journalists who might think information provided by a local authority finance department in their Statement of Accounts is ACCURATE and COMPLETE?

Cheney’s contention is that his “table does not reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more per year as was reported” because it includes low paid staff who received large redundancy pay-offs last year. On the basis of this THIN CLAIM, Cheney then demands an APOLOGY from the Cable while dismally failing to publish information that does accurately “reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more”!

Cheney’s demand for an apology is deranged for, at least, two reasons. First, the error is down to Cheney’s own SLOPPINESS and INABILITY to present information unambiguously and accurately. For some reason, the chump has departed from the usual custom and good practice of previous years and not stated in his accounts the number of employees earning £50k or more only because they were in receipt of large payments last year for ‘loss of office’. Why?

Moreover, despite taking the time to issue his long, rambling and self-serving statement, Cheney chooses NOT to correct his schoolboy presentation errors properly. Where’s the unequivocal clarification of how many of the 222 staff listed as earning £50k plus last year are only listed due to their redundancy payments and how many are receiving a salary every year in excess of £50k? Why is Cheney so coy about providing this SIMPLE INFORMATION in his daft attempt at aggressive rebuttal?

This leads to the second reason why Cheney’s demand for an apology is ridiculous. He hasn’t REBUTTED the Cable’s main claim – that the city council is employing MORE staff on £50k a year than they were a year ago! Are they or aren’t they? Cheney must know.

The Cable needs to tell Cheney, Rees and the Labour Party bullies to fuck off and provide the FULL PICTURE they have on these salaries. Like the council has managed to do in every other year they’ve published salary information.

What’s the big secret this year?

CENSORSHIP WATCH: THE BRISTOL CABLE

 

In an unprecedented move, Bristol’s co-operatively owned indie newspaper, The Bristol Cable, has REMOVED an entirely accurate article from its website following COMPLAINTS from the Reverend Rees and his bent coterie of very shy high-earning council bosses.

The article, published YESTERDAY, drew attention to a the council’s Draft Statement of Accounts, originally highlighted by the Bristol News Facebook page last week, that the Reverend’s council was employing more people on salaries exceeding £50k a year than they were a year ago.

The Reverend failed to comment to the Cable yesterday but did tell a Full Council meeting last night that the salary figures in his Statement of Accounts were INACCURATE and MISLEADING because they included the redundancy payments received by departing bosses.

This seems UNLIKELY since the Rev’s statement doesn’t list the gross salaries and benefits of his highly paid managers but the general ‘Remuneration Band’ they fall within. A ‘Remuneration Band’ would not ordinarily include one-off redundancy payments.

And if it did, why aren’t the twenty-one high-earning bosses – who shared out £2.5MILLION between them in redundancy pay-offs last year – listed and named in the report as earning over £150k last year as the law requires?

Regardless of these facts, the Cable has pulled the article and replaced it with the following statement: ***PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE IS SUBJECT TO A COMPLAINT AND UNDER REVIEW***

Why has this article been pulled? It’s based on figures published in June by the council that were signed off by their Audit Committee on 27 June. If the figures are wrong, it’s the council’s job to explain this and publicly correct them. There is absolutely NO PRECEDENT or GOOD REASON for The Cable to pull a whole article published in good faith quoting publicly available official figures. Especially when these figures are yet to be formally denied anywhere as inaccurate.

It’s also laughable that The Rev Rees has put out a call across the city for “ideas” to deal with his budget deficit. However, when an “idea” involving not paying his bosses such large sums of money for sod-all appears, he tries to ban it!

If Bristol City Council wishes to attempt to censor information that makes the mayor look like a powerless twerp, then that’s their affair. But why are the Bristol Cable making fools of themselves by being bullied into supporting the council in their efforts to censor the truth?

The Cable article, obtained from the web’s cache is published below:

331 employees are now paid an annual basic pay of between £50,000 and £124,000, compared to 216 people in the financial year of 2015/16.

At the same time as general public sector pay caps and cuts has battered the council, almost every band of executive salaries at the council has seen an increase in numbers in the past year. Of the 21 senior pay categories that changed over the year, 18 have seen increases in the number of staff receiving top salaries.

These figures include the £160,000 a year council chief executive Anna Klonowski. It also includes at least three other executives who have seen their pay packets swell over the year by around £7,000 each, taking them to well above £160,000 a year including pension contributions.

Under pressure for implementing drastic cuts, Mayor Marvin Rees, who was elected in May 2016 has challenged anti-cuts protesters to come up with solutions, rather than just criticise. Defending the council positions on cuts, Mr Rees has written: “If we do not make a saving in one area we have to make it in another area. The consequence of one person’s priority is the de-prioritisation of another person’s priority.”

Responding to this latest information, Tom Whittaker a spokesperson from Bristol People’s Assembly, a coalition of trade unions and activists, said: “Clearly there can be no justification for executive pay rises when services are being cut, when many of Bristol’s poorest residents are struggling to survive under the impact of austerity and when ordinary council workers are enduring a long pay freeze.”

Mayor Rees was asked what involvement he had in these decisions, and how it fitted with his priorities agenda. He did not respond to the request.

The figures come from the 2016/17 unaudited annual accounts published by the council, available here.

A NEW LOW?

Before they “hold power to account” perhaps THE BRISTOL CABLE should try holding themselves to account? Because, as well as the media, they also seem to be “redefining the minimum wage as we know it”.

In an attempt to get their newspaper out beyond the overpriced artisinal coffee shops of West Bristol and a readership of beard strokers, the paper has now employed a large DISTRIBUTION TEAM on the minimum wage.

Except it’s not the minimum wage. This team receive only 80 PER CENT of the minimum wage and are required to “donate” the other 20 PER CENT of their crap wage to the ‘democratic cooperative’.

Not only is this not legal, the ethics of this from a self-styled ethical organisation are extremely dubious. Who do they think, beyond daddy’s boy TRUSTAFARI, can afford to work for 80 per cent of the minimum wage? Ordinary Bristolians who have to pay their own bills CAN’T, that’s for sure.

But who wants the plebs near the media anyway?

 

HIPSTERS FOR CENSORSHIP

Undertaking the simple task of “redefining local media as we know it,” THE BRISTOL CABLE is the city’s latest local ‘alternative’ newspaper run out of (where else?) Stokes Croft, the city’s thriving cultural quarter especially for the wealthy interfering do-gooder who knows what’s best for everyone.

Allegedly run as a DEMOCRATIC COOPERATIVE “where people participate in strategic decisions”, the Cable is hugely popular with wishy-washy social liberals in West Bristol, while boring the pants off the rest of us.

However, their 1,400 fee-paying members appear to have had LITTLE SAY in the cooperative’s hasty attempt to join the IMPRESS press regulator. The organisation that has just been recognised by the government’s Press Regulation Panel as the country’s new newspaper regulator despite having no support whatsoever from the actual newspaper industry.

IMPRESS is funded to the tune of £3.8m by MAX MOSELEY, fascist Oswald Moseley’s son and the notorious user of, er, non-Nazi themed “Aryan” prostitutes with fake German accents. Moseley is a character so honest, classy and reliable, a High Court announced in 2008 he had NO REPUTATION to defend in a libel action!

Meanwhile a lot of supporters of IMPRESS and their Hacked Off! lobbyist arm appear to be wealthy male celebs whose main interest is keeping any unfortunate accidents regarding COCAINE and PROSTITUTES out of the press. Although the Cable have told their members, “IMPRESS was set up by a group of LIBERAL MEDIA FIGURES led by journalist Jonathan Heawood”. Neatly forgetting to mention Moseley’s involvement

Recognition of IMPRESS by the Press Regulation Panel opens the door to STATE REGULATION of newspapers in the UK. While any publication that doesn’t sign up to this shitty little celeb-led compromise, will have to pay the costs in any libel action whether they win or lose (and the costs tend to outweigh the damages at least ten fold).

In other words, TELLING THE TRUTH in newspapers could cost you millions unless you sign up to a series of rules agreed between the state and an organisation funded by an unwholesome right wing creep.

No newspaper or serious national publication has joined IMPRESS. They view it as a vehicle for GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE in the press that openly undermines free speech and is incompatible with British democratic values. While most of the media would also not touch Max Moseley with a barge pole-lengthed copy of the Bristol Cable.

Private Eye already has rejected joining IMPRESS outright. While not even the house journal of Tuscan social liberalism and wholesale state interference in our lives, The Guardian, is up for it either.

Is signing 1,400 badly briefed members up for state censorship of the newspapers really the kind of “reinvention” of the media we need?

THE TOWERING CONTRADICTION: the Labour Party and affordable housing

Redcliffe's cash cow carbuncle: not for the poor!

Redcliffe’s cash cow carbuncle: not for the poor!

A CONVENIENT LEAK from the Rev Rees’s planning department of the viability assessment for the small Chocolate Factory development of 135 flats at Greenbank just days before a planning committee meeting yesterday was enough to get the plans temporarily KNOCKED BACK by grandstanding councillors.

The leaked confidential document, the direct responsibility of council planning bosses, revealed that the developers, The Generator Group, might be able to afford more than the FIVE per cent or SIX units of affordable housing that they finally offered at the site.

This was AGGRESSIVELY seized upon by Labour councillors at the planning committee meeting, who followed the Rev’s lead in the morning’s media and loudly demanded – in front of the gathered press – that the developers meet the Rev Rees’s target of 40 per cent affordable housing, which would be around 50 flats.

This fighting talk over affordable housing at Greenbank contrasted with a relative silence by Labour politicians over affordable housing at one of the Rev Rees’s pet projects, a horrendous 82 metre high concrete cash cow TOWER BLOCK for Redcliffe discussed at the same meeting.

Despite the lack of affordable homes – only 12 per cent or around 32 units against a requirement of 40 per cent or 110 units – the application for this development was WAVED THROUGH. One Labour councillor on the planning committee even said, “while there aren’t enough affordable homes, at least the developers tried”.

So that’s OK then. Although surely FURTHER PRESSURE applied on the developer, Redcliff MCC LLP – a limited liability partnership front for a complex web of companies centring around Christopher Mitchell Solicitors Ltd in Westbury-on-Trym – might have yielded considerably more units of affordable housing than are available at Greenbank? Especially as a tower block on a prime city centre location should be highly ‘viable’?

Of course any claim that the Chocolate Factory planning episode was a CAREFULLY STAGED public relations exercise is ridiculous. Presenting the Rev Rees and his Labour councillors as champions of the people fighting for affordable housing while a favoured and extremely lucrative city centre development fails to get anywhere near those same affordable housing targets without any criticism from Labour’s affordable housing champions is NO CONTRADICTION whatsoever.

Although we do have to wonder why, according to our sources in the planning department, not even a cursory effort is being made to discover how a CONFIDENTIAL planning document got so helpfully leaked ahead of a meeting.

Perhaps such an investigation might prove embarrassing to the Rev Rees and his Labour Party?