Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

“LET US PRAY TOGETHER, TOM.”

Renhard-Red-Telephone-Box

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.

What could possibly go wrong?

MEET THE ‘GREAT COMMUNICATOR’ WHO CAN’T ANSWER A LETTER

Remember when Bristol City Council’s new Chief Executive, ‘the great communicator’, Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson was handed a “reasonably modest” pay rise of £2k in March?

A few months after promises that no such pay rise would be forthcoming when the Reverend’s bitch first got handed the lucrative new job in May 2020 without the fuss of going through a policy compliant recruitment or interview process.

Fast forward a year from this dodgy promotion and a report from the Local Government Ombudsman hits our inbox outlining “a serious failure in its corporate governance arrangements and oversight.” at Jackson’s council. This is due to a failure to implement agreed remedies for two separate complaints from 2019. One over waste collection and another about failures in a noise pollution complaint.

And Jackson himself was personally responsible for this latest city council corporate failure. The Ombudsman reports that Jackson ignored SEVEN items of correspondence from them sent between March and November 2020. In them he was asked to implement some simple remedies to the complaints from members of the public about the public services he’s directly responsible for. He ignored the letters and did nothing instead.

Paying £171,500 a year doesn’t buy you someone responds to their correspondence then?

Outsourcing of Bristol City Council Staff to Bristol Waste

 Via Bristol Branch of Unison

Around two-hundred Bristol City council staff will be transferring to the Teckal company Bristol Waste on 1 June (Bristolian Passim). UNISON remains wholly against it.

After failing to persuade the Labour administration not to go ahead with this, UNISON and the trades unions Unite and GMB have tried to persuade the two employers to adopt a position colloquially known as TUPE++. That is TUPE with further protections based on the protections they had previously enjoyed.

The employers have refused all our requests. The decision to not meet us half way or make any concessions at all pretty much sums up not just UNISON’s relationship with the employers but the other unions’ as well.
 
In previous statements we pointed out that ‘Terms and Conditions’ are only some of the rights held by staff and that other rights written into policies will not transfer. So we have just been told that the rights within the ‘Code of Practice on Investigations’ (if you remember the Greens tabled a question to full council about it recently) will not transfer to Bristol Waste. So the right (in black-and-white) to see evidence against you in an investigation before you are interviewed is removed.

The matrix for what you will and won’t receive is quite complicated and although we are not saying you won’t receive fairness at Bristol Waste, we can’t see any compensatory policy for our staff for the removal of such a right.

Nor will the sickness policy transfer. How many absences someone can have before being dismissed will be based on Bristol Waste and not BCC policy. The Bristol Waste policy is based on the’ Bradford Factor‘ which we don’t think has a very good reputation.

We have been accused of not knowing what we are talking about (even by the press) and we will take no pleasure in saying ‘we told you so’, which we expect to be saying often in the months to come.
 
We discussed ‘measures’ transferring to Bristol Waste and we failed to persuade them to make any changes at all. We agreed that Bristol Waste is ACAS compliant. but we see ACAS compliancy as an absolute minimum a civilised society should tolerate. We are dismayed to find that the powers-that-be find ACAS minimums to be satisfactory.
 
Our call to our members in cleaning to contact us has had very little response. We can’t go forward without consulting with you, so please get in touch if you want us to take action. Our response from security has been pretty good and we will be organising further action with you – if you give us your consent – in the future.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HALF CABINET: A REVEREND REES ADVENTURE

Famous Five (2)

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?

We think we should be told.

ARSELICKERS TO SUE GOBSHITES AS FAVOUR TO REES?

HR meeting
“The best HR Committee meeting in years”

With the election safely over and the Reverend Rees restored to his rickety pulpit held together with gaffer tape and the prayers of his best friends, including Bristol City Council Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson and Monitoring Officer, “L’il” Tim O’Gara, it’s time to get down to the serious business of governing Bristol.

And the first item on the agenda? Is, er, getting a couple of gullible council managers to sue the Reverend’s chief political critics, Councillor Gary “Meathead” Hopkins and Councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy for defamation!

It’s been alleged in the Nazi Post that our dear old friend, the council’s useless pillock of a Director of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, and his latest dimwitted sidekick, Facilties boss David Martin “Bore-mann”, have “served [Bunter and Meathead] with a defamation claim demanding a retraction, public apology and damages”!

This appears to be in relation to comments Meathead and Bunter made at at a Human Resources Committee Meeting on February 18 and reported in The BRISTOLIAN at the time.

In response to ludicrous claims from Walsh and Martin that cleaning and security staff that they had formally consulted were entirely in favour of being outsourced to Bristol Waste from Bristol City Council, Bunter replied that the bosses’ comments were “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich.”

Meathead also frankly responded to Walsh and Martin’s unevidenced claims with “I don’t believe a word of what’s been presented to us by the management side.”

Get on standby, then, for the trial of century as two idiot council managers attempt to sue two councillors for making fair comment on the basis of the evidence presented to them.

On the one hand there was ZERO evidence presented by Walsh and Martin to back their claims. On the other there were TWO trade union written statements that the staff involved were deeply unhappy with the management outsourcing proposals.

What will M’Lud make of it all? 

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL: BOILERPLATE COUNCILLOR ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

First, I would like to thank the Returning Officer for organising these incredible elections that were so fantastically well run. He totally deserves the £10k he’s earned today. Although he obviously hasn’t. The whole thing’s been a total bloody shambles hasn’t it? Except I’m not going to say so. This is because he’s written a document called the Member-Officer Protocol that says, as a councillor, I’m not allowed to criticise him or any of his high-earning colleagues at the council and if I do he can complain to himself about it and find I have contravened something or other. Then he can punish me by announcing I have done something terribly wrong. How could I possibly be expected to say what I really think with a threat like that hanging over me from one of the thickest posh lawyers with no power you’re ever likely to meet? 

I would also like to thank my party and their workers for all the support they have given me. You have all been tremendous. In return I now commit to doing anything the leadership ask of me, no matter how daft, destructive or contrary to the interests of the city and the people who voted for me it is. This is my pledge to you my glorious tribe of fellow drones.

And finally, I’d like to thank the idiots who voted for me. You have all been really useful and I will see you all again when I come back and seek reelection in three years time. Rest assured, I’ll have dreamed up some excuses by then for my inexcusable behaviour toward you, your concerns and your neighbourhood. And I’ll have plenty more bullshit I can feed you in my rather sad and pathetic pursuit of a little bit of status and power.

Will that do?

Now where’s my expenses form? No, not that one. That’s the declaration of interest form. We don’t need to bother with all that red tape nonsense do we?

[Ends],

WESTERN SLOPES: A  LETTER TO THE CABINET

Plans for the council to build housing on the Western Slopes on the fringes of Knowle West are causing a bit of a stir at this election.

Western Slopes

Here’s a south Bristol resident’s letter to the Mayor and Cabinet on the issue after the Cabinet agreed in March to transfer this land to their housing company, Goram Homes, in preparation for building on this valued open space. There was very little debate or discussion about the transfer, which you can watch on YouTube, and green space/ecological issues weren’t mentioned. There was also an ambiguous comment about the planning process:

Dear Mayor and Cabinet Members

I understand the need for housing in Bristol and appreciate the difficulties involved in how to build enough council or affordable housing. I also recognise the difficulty in addressing this need whilst balancing it against the ecological and climate emergencies.

I’m writing to you about the Cabinet meeting held on 9 March 2021.I was disappointed by the lack of any meaningful debate on item 11, Goram Homes Land Disposal. I note that these meetings are public and agendas published, but most residents of Bristol do not follow these meetings at all and there seems very little effort to engage disadvantaged communities in understanding the implications of the items being discussed and the decisions being made.

The Mayor spoke about sustainability in building. That’s welcome but is really just the standard of building now.Councillor Shah, Cabinet Member with responsibility for climate, ecology and sustainable growth, made no comment about any environmental effects of transferring so much land to your housing company. I don’t know all of the 12 sites in detail and many do seem to be genuinely brownfield. However some of the sites are environmentally rich, semi wild spaces, or sites that are rewilding themselves (Western Slopes/Novers Hill), or perhaps were brownfield but could now commonly be thought of as a green space (New Fosseway), or unambiguously a green space that is in high use (Knowle West Health Park).

There was also no mention of the well being effects of green spaces, especially in poorer neighbourhoods and seemingly no recognition of the value of such spaces in reducing the need for costly use of NHS services.

As all but one of you in the register of interests lists your ‘land in the property of the authority’ as ‘sensitive interest’, it is impossible to see if your decisions are affected by self interest to any property you own that may increase in value if these sites are developed. Your land is classed as ‘sensitive interest’ or ‘confidential for reasons of security’, presumably because these are your home addresses.

I invite you to add more transparency to the decision. What is the mechanism to allow this to be looked at? Can council officers who are allowed to see your registered interests check the locations and review whether conflicts of interest should have been declared for this decision?

Councillor Beech, the Cabinet Member for housing said, at 1 hour 8 minutes on the recording, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWn4orU-W2Q):

“Where we own the land we have greater influence in the planning system. The planning system has some teeth, but where you’re the landowner it can really kind of add value and get the outcomes that we’re looking for, so a combination of that sort of regen thinking and where we also have Goram Homes involved it makes me very positive about the future of some of those locations and so I really look forward to…. I’m so glad Gorham are going to have that certainty and now we can look forward to cracking on with those sites.”

I invite you to clarify what was meant, as there are possible different interpretations. On the one hand it could be a positive statement about the benefit to the council of achieving what it wants to on those sites, on the other it carries a threat of extra power in the planning process to push through whatever you want to build. Given the comment is ambiguous and unclear, I think some clarity is needed.

You seem to have created a tension between your housing aims and your ecological aims. The choice of housing or ecological richness. For some of these sites the ecological loss is just too great. All but one of you have wards in the north of the city, I’m very happy to meet you at the Western Slopes and show you around, so that you can actually experience the site for yourself.

Kind regards,

WHO’S RACHEL LUNNON?

Rachel Lunnon
Rachel hard at work for you at City Hall

Having scoured the list of candidates at the forthcoming local and mayoral elections in Bristol, we’re happy to confirm there’s not much to get excited about. Just the usual bunch of swivel-eyed loons standing for colour-branded parties committed to more-of-the-same except with different people doing what council officers say instead.

The reds are offering more-of-the-same but with more talk of equality and diversity; the Greens are offering more-of-the-same but with more promises of segregated cycle lanes; the yellows are doing more-of-the-same but with no more mayor and the blues are offering more-of-the-same with even more-of-the-same.

The exception to all this crap is Rachel Lunnon who’s running for Burning Pink in Windmill Hill. Burning Pink are an Extinction Rebellion splinter group who accuse politicians of “treasonous betrayal” and are demanding that local councils actually honour their climate emergency declarations and act now on ecological collapse and social breakdown. Burning Pink have a variety of other demands too. Most of which would make the average local authority bureaucrat shit their grotty y-fronts. 

The headline demand, however, is that local councils immediately declare open rebellion against the government! Which, at least, should keep Bristol City Council’s senior leadership team gainfully employed and prevent them squandering another £100m on daft vanity projects.

Rachel said on Facebook yesterday:

Democracy is broken. Our system makes a mockery of representation, with well meaning reformists unable to make real change. I’m fed up with big promises but lack of action on: city-wide clean air, the climate and ecological emergency, and affordable housing. Meanwhile high-rise development and building on green spaces disproportionately affect South Bristol without solving anything. I’m ready to listen to what local issues are affecting you, and what solutions you want.

We urge all Windmill Hill residents to vote for Rachel and for open rebellion against the government. It’s got to be more fun than three years of useless centrist dad explaining why he can’t do any of the things he promised hasn’t it?

Vote early. Vote often. Vote open rebellion against the government .