Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

ROAD VOTE SHOCKER

HiF

A sneaky item put to the vote at the end of this year’s council budget meeting may have caught a lot of councillors napping. Our politicians were asked to approve the seemingly innocuous proposal “For the West of England Combined Authority Mayor to submit an application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to facilitate housing growth.”

However, this £250million application has fuck all to do with building any actual houses but does include funds that will go directly towards the detailed planning of two new controversial road schemes – the Callington Road Link in Brislington and South Bristol Ring Road around Stockwood and through Whitchurch.

Councillors voted 58 – 7 to approve the submission of the bid to the government and kick-start a new road building programme in the city for the first time in a generation. Obviously, most Tory and Labour councillors who love retrograde crap voted for the idea. The Lib Dems voted against and most Greens, as usual, confused about what they’re here for, abstained.

However two Greens voted for renewed road building, Ashley Ward’s Jude Brew and Clifton Down’s Clive Stevens. What were they thinking? Here at the Bristolian, we don’t parade much in the way of green credentials but even we know building roads is the height of Thatcherite bollocks.

The vote may prove embarrassing – and hopefully career threatening – for some other councillors south of the city too. Barry Clark “Son”, Labour councillor for Hengrove and Whitchurch had told his constituents prior to the vote, “I live near to Asda Whitchurch and like you understand the issues that this road development would cause. I am also against it and actively doing what I can to get it stopped.”

Except actively voting against it when given the opportunity to get it stopped?

MAYOR GETTING RACY

MAYOR GETTING RACY

The Reverend rushed to the airwaves and into print within days of the Nazi Post revealing last month, with the help of four whistleblowers, that his council had miserably failed to take any action over 70 INSTANCES OF RACISM among their workforce over the last ten years.

The Reverend’s first port of call was a soft interview with Ellie “Copy Typist” Pipe, roving reporter for Venue-lite website and mag, Bristol 24/7. The Reverend’s crazed mission to EXPLAIN THE INEXPLICABLE appeared on the 24/7 website on Friday 22 February.

The first target from the failed journalist and failing mayor was successful journalism. “There is a massive challenge for the journalistic class in the city as well,” bleated the Reverend, taking aim at those who had recorded, for the public, his latest embarrassing ORGANISATIONAL FAILURE.

The Vicar went on to claim the press were “sensationalising” the issue as the four cases reported in the Post “were being addressed” by his senior bosses. Sidestepping the fact that the whistleblowers had gone to the Post because their cases remained UNADDRESSED while the perpetrators and the senior bosses protecting them remained UNCHALLENGED.

“We, as a leadership, have always taken race and racism very seriously,” Rees breezily assured 24/7 readers. “We have put in place a whole raft of measures to tackle it”. And what measures would they be? Er, we don’t know because the Reverend didn’t say and Copy Typist Pipe DIDN’T BOTHER TO ASK. So that’s all right, then.

The Reverend immediately followed this highly DEFENSIVE INTERVIEW with an appearance among friends at community radio station, Ujima where he was joined by a cheerleader from the local race relations industry, Sado Jirde of the Black South West Network.

Together, the pair spent an hour patronising listeners by batting about long-winded undergraduate seminar observations about race with little reference to the Reverend’s working class black staff  experiencing THE SHARP END OF RACISM right here, right now in Bristol.

It’s all ever so “complex and systemic” listeners were assured as the pair ASSERTED that due to the way racism was “reproduced and remodelled in institutions” it had to be “contextualised”.

Was this because the context of black working class people having their experience of racism BELITTLED AND IGNORED by middle class public sector bosses with large mortgages to service and quiet lives to live was a little too raw and direct for them?

Further highlights at Ujima included Rees whining that he couldn’t be expected to resolve 400 years of racism. Or, it seems, even four straightforward issues of RACISM within his own organisation raised that week by WHISTLEBLOWERS in the press.

The Reverend also went right off the deep end at the Nazi Post. “We all knew about it anyway”; they were “behind the conversation” on race; they were “role playing at being investigative journalists”; they had a “shallow understanding”; they were using “shock terminology” based on “inaccuracies and embellishments” and the headlines “were a great splash but not true,” the Reverend variously BLUSTERED at listeners.

To polish off this hour of PARANOID WAFFLE and EMBITTERED DENIAL, the show’s presenter even chipped in telling listeners that “whistleblower” is the “wrong terminology”. So what is the correct terminology for what this little lot were up to then?

How about “another bloody hatchet job by council bosses and client media on working class whistleblowers”?

 

WE’VE GOT THE POWER?

WE'VE GOT THE POWER?

By our Engineering Correspondent
You may have heard the local Labour and Green parties, followed by our esteemed Mayor, making very public declarations about their plans to make Bristol Carbon Neutral in the coming decade. Very sensible given the recent UN statement that we only have twelve years to avoid climate catastrophe … And counting.

They’ve talked the talk, now they’ve got a chance to walk the walk. With Bristol’s very own ‘Tidal Lagoon’, a term actually used by the Green party. Although it’s usually called the ‘Floating Harbour’. In January the Mayor, Labour, and all Green Councillors were mailed, pointing out the unequalled opportunity to generate significant amounts of carbon neutral electricity at minimal cost, from Bristol’s water system.

You can think of the harbour as a tidal lagoon, in which case it’s got the highest tidal range, at its gates, in a city, in the world. Two massive surges every day. Or you can look at it as a simple reservoir and dam, fed by two rivers, both used historically for power generation.

Actually, it’s both. With a flood control outlet (at Tesco on the M32) that leads via a straight tunnel to Sea Mills. It’s difficult to imagine a better set-up for water-based power generation. Every weir, from the main inlet at the Netham on the Avon and Snuff Mills on the Frome, right down to the Underfall Yard and Sea Mills flood control outlets, are capable of making useful power.

Unlike the Swansea tidal lagoon scheme, the entire infrastructure already exists. All the dams, weirs and flood control features are in place. Some have been there for over a century. Literally all that’s needed is the installation of appropriate turbines, themselves stock production items already in use all over Europe.

First step is the not hugely expensive job of producing a map of the whole water system, including details of all the potential power generation points.  This map can be taken to European water power specialists, currently being contacted, to get an accurate estimate of potential outputs and costs. If Bristol doesn’t have this data it will be compiled from Google Maps plus photos and video. Then it’s decision time. Given satisfactory figures and effective management (executive ‘action this day’) it would be feasible to have power coming out of the easiest installations this year.

Response so far?  Zero. Nada. They’ll all be mailed again In March (eleven years and nine months…) It’s not totally surprising. BCC is an institution and the first instinct of all institutions is to ignore inputs from outside. But they don’t really have that option. This is an emergency. All solutions must be considered. Bristol City has to step up to the plate, if nothing else for their revolting children.

This is where we find out if our glorious leaders Can Do, or are just useless politicians.

Watch this space.


ONE RULE FOR THEM …

Dim Labour cabinet member for women, children and young people, Councillor Helen “Oh My” Godwin has come up with an INTERESTING WHEEZE.

She’s demanding a new maternity leave policy from the council, which would mean that councillors have BETTER maternity benefits and pay than their council employee plebs. This is the same Oh My Godwin who told Full Council in 2016 that she wouldn’t support a cost of living increase in councillor expenses while people were LOSING THEIR JOBS!

No doubt it’s just a coincidence that her friend and Labour cabinet colleague Nicola “La La” Beech is just about to pop off and have a sprog? And if the new rules are passed then La La would be entitled to these ENHANCED maternity benefits through her £40k a year councillors wedge.

Isn’t it nice to see senior Labour councillors looking after themselves so well?

COSTLY CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE JOY

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Our old friend Old Sparky from Private Eye’s ‘Keeping The Lights On’ column cast his eye over municipal ENERGY RESELLING COMPANIES again in January. He explained that Notttingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy would require its THIRD bailout in a year very soon.

He then observed, “the municipal energy supply model is FINANCIALLY UNVIABLE“. A message virtually everybody now gets except the Reverend Rees and his gormless sidekick, responsible for council finance, Craig “Crapita” Cheney.

Early in January, on the day Bristol City Council-owned Bristol Energy announced a further LOSS of £11.2million for 2018, Cheney cheerily announced that the company was at a “at a turning point where it can now begin to play a greater role in the city’s journey towards a CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE.”

What a load of bollocks. How can running up a DEBT, now standing at over £30million – that will never be repaid – help our future? Carbon neutral buzzwords or not?

The Reverend and Cheney need to shut their energy business fiasco down today and apologise to the people of Bristol for wasting their money.

DERANGED ACADEMY TRASHES PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

StokeLodge004

Cotham School’s determination to fence off their Stoke Lodge playing fields to “safeguard” pupils and keep the local community OUT has moved quickly from a little over-enthusiastic to stark raving bonkers in a remarkably short space of time.

The BATTLE over Stoke Lodge has been RAGING since 2011 and efforts to keep the city council land, used as recreational space by the community since 1947, public were finally thrown out by the High Court last year when it rejected a Town Green registration by Bristol City Council.

Now Cotham School are going ahead with their unpopular £160k plan to fence off most of the 26 acre site using dubious ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT’ rules signed off by council planning officers. These rules conveniently stop the issue coming to a planning committee, despite the fact that the school’s plans are OPPOSED by the community, their councillors and their MP, Darren “Dipshit” Jones.

Although all is not quite going to plan for the school, who, since moving contractors on to the site in January, have been caught UNLAWFULLY attempting to put fence posts through the roots of ancient and protected trees and close enough to a badger sett to endanger the animals. Both actions are unlawful and the school already has been forced to quickly redraw their plans TWICE while on site.

Quite why the school needs to fence off the land, let alone DESTROY our city’s NATURAL HABITAT in the process, is something of a mystery. Many schools use public land WITHOUT FENCING as playing fields and, even, OFSTED, has agreed there’s no safeguarding reason why the land should be fenced off and the community effectively THROWN OFF THEIR OWN LAND.

Why can’t this annoying little school run by destructive nature-hating loonies share the space?

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

Council bosses continue to deliver a pile of NONSENSICAL CRAP instead of working WHISTLEBLOWING ARRANGEMENTS for their staff.

Delivering their ‘Annual Review of Whistleblowing Arrangements’ to the Audit Committee, bosses trumpeted to councillors that their review included “a survey of 100 CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYEES“.

Although the sheepish bosses went on to admit “the response rate to the survey was limited with only 22 RESPONSES RECEIVED“. This means around 0.3 per cent of council staff were actually surveyed, which seems a rather small amount to be building a working policy around.

The information gathered from the small amount of staff brave enough to respond was, however, deeply worrying. As staff admitted they have not reported concerns due to “FEAR OF REPRISAL” and “CONCERN THAT NOTHING WOULD BE DONE.”

Audit bosses response to this, supported by the city council’s hapless HR department, was to advise the Audit Committee that they needed to “REINFORCE THE MESSAGE“. Even though “the message” coming through to staff appears to be “don’t you dare blow the whistle at Bristol City Council”

After discussing the matter for a while, councillors concluded that their HR department needed to take responsibility for “REINFORCING THE MESSAGE” so that staff understood that whistleblowers have legal protections and any allegations of malpractice are taken seriously (honest guv, ed).

An odd decision since their current Director of HR and Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, appointed last year, was working as a senior HR consultant in Wakefield in 2006 when six social workers were SUMMARILY DISMISSED for trying to reveal serious children’s SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS.

The concerns were regarding children living in care homes run by Wakefield Council who were being exposed to DRUGS and were at risk of SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Within a month of making their complaints in January 2006, the whistleblowing workers were FIRED. Wakefield Council then tried to get the six workers placed on a government blacklist usually reserved for SEX OFFENDERS.

Bedwetter scarpered from Wakefield in March 2006, before the fallout from the affair, which cost the council £1 MILLION in an out of court settlement to the exonerated social workers. There was also red faces all round at the council when it publicly emerged that they had sought to protect potential CHILD ABUSERS at the expense of WHISTLEBLOWING SOCIAL WORKERS.

Is Bedwetter Walsh really the best person Bristol City Council can find to promote a better deal for whistleblowers?


STREET LIFE

Within days of the cops announcing in November that they had gained more funding to create jobs within STREETWISE, the council and cops’ joint anti-begging initiative for Broadmead, undercover cops had taken to the streets.

One service user told a voluntary support group that two undercover plain clothes officers approached him and asked him to leave Broadmead IMMEDIATELY and said that if by the time they were back out in uniform he was still in the centre he could get ARRESTED. He was also told they want to try to stop voluntary outreach groups supporting the homeless.

Happy New Year!

BACKWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

Increasing concern EMERGES from the Council House at the number of evangelical christians the Reverend Rees seems to be surrounding himself with. Critics say Rees can’t cope with the CRITICISM that comes with political debate, so over time he’s shut out the Labour Party and all politicians except his mates.

Among those named as having the ear of the Reverend are HOPE CHAPEL regulars “Thick” Ed Rowberry, Andy “Deadend” Street and Jonathan “Christopher” Lee. Rowberry is Chief Exec at BRISTOL AND BATH REGIONAL CAPITAL, a front for the Merchant Venturers promoting “bespoke investment opportunities” that create “a financial and social return and support local projects”.

In other words, yet another BIG SOCIETY make-a-profit-from-the poor outfit, much in vogue under the Reverend who seems to think his Christian do-gooder cult mates can replace our public services while earning themselves a cut. Being a small world, Street, a waste consultant, is the joint chair of Rowberry’s Big Society investment outfit as well as being on the board of the Reverend’s still-born CITY FUNDS initiative.

City funds aims to raise money from local businesses to spend on what were PUBLIC SERVICES before the Reverend cut them. Although – so far – business appears resistant to handing over money to the Reverend to fund his council. Can’t imagine why?

The final member of the Hope Chapel Three is Jonathan “Christopher” Lee, chief exec of Crisis Centre Ministries, which has a chequered history of providing services to the homeless and the vulnerable alongside a strong and slightly CREEPY Christian message.

FEW WOMEN appear to be in the Reverend’s Christian circle, not least because evangelicals tend to prefer it if the little ladies stay at home breeding and baking. However, the one woman in the mix is Rachel Milano who is some kind of faith sector link person for the Reverend. She was also the admin for his election campaign and officially works one day per week.

So where does that leave the MASS MEMBERSHIP Labour Party in the city? “Marvin doesn’t really like the Labour Party and he hardly ever goes to Labour meetings,” we’re told. “Even the Labour councillor group. He pops in occasionally and then spends all his time on his iPad.”

Has our city been seized in a coup by the Christian right?

RUNNING OUT OF ENERGY

This story was published in our paper version earlier this month. Bristol Energy MD, Peter “High Pay” Haigh, has subsequently left the organisation as we reported yesterday. The reasons for his departure, like everything else about this shit show of a company, are shrouded in mystery.

bristol-energy2

So it’s farewell, then, to NICK JORDAN, chairman of Bristol Energy, who’s quietly sloped off somewhere or other to do something else instead and left behind a cool £30million tab for council taxpayers to pick up.

Nick has RUSHED FOR THE EXIT just behind Bristol Energy’s finance director, Laura Flowerdew and he’s replaced by Alex Wiseman, one of the few remaining directors at Bristol Energy and the owner of consultants Alex Wiseman Associates.

Meanwhile, staff at Bristol Energy tell us that the Operations Director, Dave Ford, and the Sales Director Phil Biddle were made REDUNDANT last month and they’ve not been replaced. This comes after three heads of department at the company were made redundant over the summer while others have simply DEPARTED without explanation. None have been replaced.

Bristol Energy staff tell us there is very little funding left and that they are being managed by consultants and very inexperienced managers as the whole operation winds down, apparently heading for BANKRUPTCY.

The only question seems to be when will the business go to the wall? Before the mayoral election in 2020 saving council taxpayers further DEBT. Or after the election? To improve the Reverend’s chances of re-election?

And cost the council taxpayer further millions ….