Tag Archives: Bristol

MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MANIFESTO

Manifesto

Keeping his manifesto promises was always going to be challenging for the Reverend Rees, not least because we calculated at the time that it contained about 78 UNCOSTED PROMISES in all. However, what we couldn’t predict was how the Reverend would smash through any BARRIERS TO FAILURE quite so spectacularly.

Top of the list must come his promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“, which has now been downgraded to, “I will cancel the existing arena project I promised and instead support a global corporation’s efforts to build an arena in Filton named after an obscure dead bloke who owned our local privatised water utility scam”.

Meanwhile in terms of the Reverend’s highly contested housing promise – “WE WILL BUILD 2,000 NEW HOMES – 800 affordable – a year (by 2020)” – his housing guru, Paul “Wolfie” Smith continues to carefully calibrate the spin with the line that his PROJECTIONS are on target … Even if the actual number of houses being built isn’t!

Then there’s the recycling promise. The Reverend’s recently promoted former waste boss, The Former Socialist Known as Kye Dudd simply CHANGED THE TARGET and hoped no one would notice. We will “increase recycling, setting a target of 55% for all waste by 2020,” thundered the Reverend’s manifesto in 2016.

Fast forward to 2019 and we find The Former Socialist Known as Dudd’s waste overseer, Bristol Waste managing director Tony Lawless telling the Nazi Post, “We are delighted to see Bristol is on track to meet its ambitious RECYCLING RATE OF 50 PER CENT BY 2020.”

The comment came after the Reverend’s council managed to announce in January a measly ONE PER CENT increase in recycling rates since 2015 to 46%. Nothing like enough of an increase to reach 50 per cent, never mind 55 per cent, by 2020 as promised in their manifesto.

Have Rees and Dudd changed their promise in a vain attempt to claim they have courageously fallen a little short of a hugely ambitious target and hope we’ll not notice?

CORBYN IN URGENT ENGLISH LIT INTERVENTION

idiot

With the city’s housing crisis officially averted by a global fixed income and derivatives specialist and a religious nut who’s “no housing expert”, JEREMY CORBYN swung into town to grace us with his Jesus-like presence on October 11. The very day it was announced 100 per cent of kids in CLIFTON went to university while only 9 per cent of kids in HARTCLIFFE did.

So what burning issue of the day did the Jezza choose to raise regarding the AUSTERITY SHATTERED LIVES of long suffering Bristolians? Education inequality? SEND cuts? The failing NHS? The wage freeze since the turn of the Millenium? Rogue landlords? Brexit? The slow financial death of local authorities?

Er, no. Jeremy met a selected group of people from UJIMA RADIO and the CREATIVE YOUTH NETWORK to outline to them what books he thought he should be on the GCSE curriculum for English Lit.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a male MP in possession of the Labour Party leadership, must be in want of a brain”

JOINED UP GOVERNMENT: THE BOTTLE YARD

Boyyleyard

Having spunked £1.2million in 2016 on a new roof and buying the freehold of the Bottle Yard Studios in Hengrove, the Reverend’s cabinet, urged on by finance chief Craig “Crapita” Cheney, has come up with an entirely NEW PLAN for their film studios in 2018.

They’ve now decided to spunk further MILLIONS moving the studios half a mile down the road to Hawkfield Business Park, which they intend to buy some time in the next month. The cost of this substantial piece of real estate is, currently, a closely guarded “commercially confidential” SECRET.

Four of the Bottle Yard studios will move to Hawkfield in late 2020 and then the last two will move there after the Reverend has SPUNKED more money building two purpose-built studios on the site by 2022.

The official reason supplied by the Reverend and his cabinet for this EXPENSIVE MOVE is that “the lack of soundproofing in older, unadapted buildings will render three (possibly four) of the current studios inoperable” once housing at the proposed Hengrove Park development is built.

However, insiders tell us that the current Bottle Yard site is simply “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE“, which raises the question of why did the Reverend invest £1.2million into the site in 2016? Especially as the council claims the business only generates £100k a year so has little chance of ever paying back this huge PUBLIC HANDOUT.

Meanwhile at Hawkfield, the Reverend’s cabinet report breezily informs us that the COST of repairs alone, will be £520k and “this may have a direct impact on the Bottle Yard Studios overall operating position if they are to pick up these costs.”

In other words, we’ll be picking up the BILL for the purchase of the Hawkfield site and its repairs so that the Bottle Yard Studios can continue to pretend – for PR purposes – to “generate” money for the public purse.

It doesn’t. It runs at a loss and will run at a bigger one now.

LABOUR NEWS

Snake

The Reverend’s Labour Party continues to be a revolting SNAKEPIT of GRASSES and BACKSTABBERS out to get any Jeremy Corbyn supporter any way they can.

The latest victim of this vile tendency – that the Reverend makes no effort to stop – is Harriet “Dave Spart” Bradley, Labour councillor for Brislington West and one of the few OUTSPOKEN LEFT WINGERS in the Labour Group of councillors at City Hall.

We learn that Harriet was reported to the Labour Party Compliance Unit after publishing the following “ANTI-SEMITIC” tweet:

“#BackNECcode. Stand firm. Resist the Israeli state lobby”.

Alas, the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit declined to take the matter further and suspend Harriet, instead letting her off with a “WARNING“. Hardly surprising when what she published isn’t in the slightest bit anti-semitic by most people’s reckoning.

This isn’t the first time Harriet’s been GRASSED UP by Labour members unknown in Bristol. In 2016 she was suspended after she described Labour’s National Executive Committee as “TYRANTS” on Facebook in a response to their MASS SUSPENSION of members in the lead up to the Labour leadership election.

That suspension was later dropped without charges …

TRUE BRISTOL STORIES #1

Scene: Labour Party canvasser out campaigning (LPC) meets troublemaking constituent on pushbike (TCP)

TCP: Hey, are you canvassing?
LPC: Yes, I’m with the Labour Party.
TCP: What’s your constituency?
LPC: Thangam Debbonaire. This street marks the boundary between her constituency, Bristol West, and Bristol North, represented by Darr—
TCP: Dipshit Daz?
LPC: Ahem. I must get back to my canvassing.
TCP: So, how’s the deselection process getting along in Bristol West?
LPC: Good god! Of whom?
TCP: Thangam Debbonaire of course.
LPC: But why on earth would we want to deselect our MP?
TCP: Because she’s fucking useless, and she’s really right wing. Also a traitor to your party leader on three separate occasions to date, and counting.
LPC: That’s not what 37000 people in Bristol West think. 37000 people voted for her in the last election. That’s an amazing achievement.
TCP: No, they voted for the Corbyn agenda, not her. I hear there’s been moves to get her deselected, and one very nearly succeeded. I wanted to find out how it’s progressing.
LPC: Where did you hear that? Are you a member of Bristol West LP?
TCP: No, I live in Bristol North nowadays.
LPC: Well, there you have the excellent—
TCP: Dipshit Daz? He’s even worse than Thangam Debbonaire. All that bogus ‘anti-semitic’ witch hunt claptrap he signed up to just for a start.
LPC: Ahem. I must get back to—
TCP: Hey, it’s common knowledge how unpopular Thangam is with the branch party. Come on, you must know what’s going on. Spill the beans.
LPC: There’s no infighting in the Labour Party. I don’t know where you heard that. We’re all moving forward together, campaigning to make sure Bristol remains a Labour city.
TCP: Don’t make me laugh. You know full well what’s going on in your party.
LPC: Are you a member of the Labour Party at all?
TCP: No, I’m an independent communist.
LPC: Oh. Goodbye then.
TCP: Goodbye? We’ve only just started a political discussion. Are you canvassing or what?
LPC: Must be moving on. Good luck to you.
TCP: And good luck to you too. With an attitude like that to politically informed voters who ask questions, you’re going to fucking need it.

SCORE AT HALF TIME:

TROUBLEMAKING CONSTITUENT 12, LABOUR PARTY CANVASSER 0

LABOUR NEWS

All hail the great Labour leader

 Bristol’s Labour Party under the deft (surely daft? Ed.) leadership of the Reverend Rees continues on its singular journey to becoming an embarrassing farce and danger to its own members.

We learn that the Bristol Labour Women’s Forum on Facebook has been FORCIBLY CLOSED down due to “transphobia”. Or women wishing to discuss the Gender Recognition Act and transgender issues as it’s also known.

Presumably, in the world of Rees’s Labour it’s best all round if women are SHUT UP and CENSORED? This follows the CLOSURE of Bristol Labour Party’s private forum on Facebook in March after Bristol City Council bosses were granted access to the pages to SPY on staff and councillors.

Meanwhile, in a further extraordinary move, we learn that Ras Judah, the Rasta who was TASERED in the face by cops last year, has been suspended by the Labour Party for, er, racism!

All hail the peoples’ party!

A RIGHT ROYAL LOAD OF SHITE

Confronted by such a FARCE of ANAL pomp and circumstance on the TV and in the papers, you might think that the people of the UK are being manipulated and made to dance around like puppets. But are your fellow citizens really as stupid to be taken in by such a bunch of irrelevant non-entities, as the deluge of reports across the ‘liberal’/conservative media appears to indicate?

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that the ‘royals’ are the most crucial symbol for the power of the ruling class in this country. They keep the whole structure of CLASS RULE and the remaining TATTERS of the so-called ‘British Empire’ going. Yes they are indeed a bunch of irrelevant non-entities, but for the landowners, corporate billionaires and financiers of the 1% to keep their power masked, it’s essential for the sycophantic media to pump out the kind of REACTIONARY DRIVEL you read in The Nazi Post, The Mail and all other outlets, turning it into not only justification for this royal waste of money, but also to perpetuate AT ALL COSTS the myth about how subservient and ‘loyal’ we, their alleged ‘subjects’, are.

Hence the clever pandering to ‘identity politics’, which has so successfully diverted the majority of the left away from the politics of class. A little smoke and mirrors around the bride being of mixed race and an alleged ‘feminist’ seems to fit the bill; a bit of window dressing supposed to make the RULING CLASS look okay again. Only it won’t work, because the onward march of MONOPOLY CAPITAL will continue regardless, disenfranchising you, taking away your rights, stripping away your chance of a secure home, depriving you of the last scraps of the 1940s ‘new deal’, making you redundant and accelerating your descent into poverty. And ONE DAY SOON, even the most duped of you will wake up feeling VERY ANGRY.

Okay… now for a reality check, away from the media’s grovelling before wealth, power and ‘celebrity’. Across our city of Bristol last Saturday, a team from The BRISTOLIAN travelled from place to place and found there was NEXT TO ZERO interest in the ‘royal wedding’. They saw a mere TWO rather PATHETIC attempts at putting up bunting with NO celebrations of any kind, and instead everyone was either hanging out in the parks or watching the footie.

LOYAL TO THE IN-BRED ROYAL LEECHES MY FUCKING ASS!

HEY MOMENTUM – WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU AT?

MOMENTUM is the movement within the Labour Party that has, according to their own manifesto, set out to radicalise the party behind leader Jeremy Corbyn.

While this principle is to be lauded, to the average punter on the Bristol street the internal Labour Party struggles of Momentum against its well-entrenched old guard of (neo)liberals, careerists and self-serving jobsworths means very little. Why?

Sometimes I wonder how many of you have your ear to the street, because we’re in a MASSIVE SOCIAL CRISIS this winter. The homeless are strewn everywhere. No social housing, just rack-rent slum landlords. Wages going down in real terms. Benefits being trashed. Fewer and fewer social services. The NHS on the brink of total collapse. That means GRAPPLING WITH THIS EMERGENCY can’t be put off until ‘after the next election’, but needs to be addressed RIGHT NOW. Here in the socially-cleansed margins of working class Britain, we’re LITERALLY dying by the thousands.

And Bristol’s Labour Party elected representatives are STILL nearly all diehard Blairites. Happy to implement Tory austerity, yet craftily using Momentum activists to keep themselves in power and/or looking good in public. This happens any time one of these anti-Corbyn quislings needs re-election – or to give a recent Bristol example, when they need your street presence to give them the kudos they lack on say, a so-called ‘March Against Austerity’, WHERE THEY DON’T MENTION AUSTERITY OR THE CUTS ONCE!

What would JC do? He’d agree with us. Look back at his record since the 1970s. He always saw Labour Party internal politics as being SECONDARY to the struggles of the countless social movements he was active in. His principles never changed, but he always had the humility to listen to the people first. He didn’t wait until authority had been cleared through his control over the Labour Party – he just GOT STUCK INTO THE ISSUES. That’s why people voted for him and it’s why many more support and trust him today.

There seems to be some confusion in Momentum ranks as to what a social movement is. A social movement is not about ‘getting our guys into office’ in the Labour Party. It’s a MASS GRASS-ROOTS militant and democratic CAMPAIGN built around the key issue of the moment, and also one that isn’t a covert vehicle for any one political group or another. Think of the 1980s Anti-Poll Tax Campaign as a model. Right now, that key issue is STOPPING AUSTERITY DEAD IN ITS TRACKS – while we still can.

So Momentum needs to HELP BUILD that social movement and GET STARTED on it right away. Let the changes in the party structure and democracy be propelled forward by the social movement, not the other way around. Because quite simply, without such a movement, we haven’t a hope of effecting any real change – either within the Labour Party or without.

ANGRY BRISTOL LABOUR PARTY MEMBER

How to stop cuts the Steve Norman way

By The Bristol Blogger

I first came across Steve Norman in late 2004. Ian Bone, then editor of The Bristolian, called one evening: “You’ve got to meet Steve Norman and Andy Richardson. Top geezers! They’re running a campaign directly with the elderly and learning disabled to save their daycare centres, which are being shut down by the council.

“The protests are crazy. You’ve never seen anything like it. Steve was quoting Martin McGuiness’s ‘Armalite and ballot box strategy’ to me. They’re doing a protest next month outside the Council House. Make sure you get there.”

So that’s how I found myself outside Bristol’s Council House on a crisp January morning in 2005 at some protest to save something I didn’t know much about. Although that was about to change because Bone was right, I’d never seen anything quite like this before.

A protest over council cuts in those days would usually consist of eight – maybe ten – well-meaning socialists brandishing a few crappy placards and a fake petition for the public to sign. Maybe they’d be accompanied by someone flogging a badly written newspaper listing the crimes of the Labour government alongside an urgent plea to join their marginal socialist sect.

This protest consisted of about 20 elderly and learning disabled people accompanied by Andy and – as the public ringmaster-in-chief with a megaphone in hand – Steve. However, the genius of this protest didn’t lie with Steve’s quickfire Bristolian epithets aimed at various social service bosses and out-of-touch Labour councillors but with the 20-odd extremely vulnerable elderly and disabled people who were very, very slowly trooping across the pelican crossing on Park Street directly outside the Council House.

When a protestor finally made it to the other side, they would press the button to cross again and wait for the ‘green man’ pedestrian light. Meanwhile, the other nineteen would continue their ramshackle progress across Park Street. By the time they all finally reached one side, the green man appeared, allowing them to troop across the road all over again!

Few cars were going anywhere that morning. Traffic chaos engulfed the heart of the city directly outside its notional seat of power and there was fuck all anybody could do about it! Motorists might be fuming but they were hardly going to get out of their cars and start threatening a load of vulnerable adults, some with zimmer frames, others in wheelchairs.

The police arrived, mildly (and not very realistically) threatening arrests. Only to be told by Steve they would require full risk assessments and specialist lifting equipment before they attempted to remove anyone in a wheelchair into a police vehicle. The police seemed to accept this logic and drifted away to do something more useful or, maybe, they were trying to find their equalities policy and a disabled access police van with a wheelchair lift? (Steve knew perfectly well that the Avon & Somerset Police had no such vehicle in service. Police were therefore unable to arrest or legally remove wheelchair using protestors).

Meanwhile, the target of the protests, Bristol’s councillors and senior council officers remained hiding behind closed doors. Not one of them daring to venture the few metres outside to meet with their own vulnerable service users on a chilly January morning. Stephen McNamara, the council’s legal boss and town clerk, then at the height of his high camp wig-wearing “Look-at-me-I’m-a-very-important-man-I-am” phase, was even stationed in the lobby of the Council House to personally prevent any of his vulnerable adult service users accessing the toilets!

The protest broke up after a couple of hours when council transport arrived to return the service users to Lockleaze Day Centre for their lunch. Steve and Andy invited me to come to a ‘Campaign to Save Daycare in Bristol’ meeting.

These meetings happened most Thursday evenings in a back room at the – now – sadly demolished Wedlocks pub at Ashton Gate. From this disorganised ragbag of vulnerable service users, carers, political activists and anyone else who showed up – sort of led by Steve and Andy often with their heads in their hands – a ‘spring offensive’ of actions was devised and launched.

This offensive kicked off on the 1 March at the annual budget meeting of Bristol City Council. A meeting flooded with the elderly, disabled and their carers. So many attended that wheelchairs lined the length of chamber and a victory came early when it was announced that Labour’s piss weak and wimpy council leader, Peter Hammond, had thrown a sickie and his long-suffering deputy, Helen Holland, would be standing in for him. Lib Dem Councillor Simon Cook, that year’s Lord Mayor, provided further amusement prior to the meeting when he agreed to depart from tradition and let the public speak at a budget meeting “as long as you don’t mention Hitler”.

Helen managed to mumble through almost five minutes of her boss Hammond’s odious justification for cuts to the city’s most vulnerable at the height of an economic boom for the rich when the council chamber descended into chaos and the budget meeting – as planned by the council – ground to a halt. Kicked off by a single carer interrupting her speech and loudly accusing Helen “of trying to fucking kill me” in 2003, the Hitler speech was soon rolled out by another protestor as councillors, the Lord Mayor and town clerk, McNamara, resplendent on his throne in his absurd judges wig, were aggressively heckled into silence.

A full blown retreat by councillors from the chamber soon followed when Steve and Andy handcuffed themselves to a rail in the public gallery and McNamara was confronted with the reality that he had lost all control of his own council meeting and had no means of restoring order. He had no clue how to remove the handcuffs from Steve and Andy and couldn’t use his security to throw out any other protestors. Even he understood manhandling any vulnerable adults he was legally responsible for protecting out of his building might end badly.

The people had seized the council chamber and the Lord Mayor, councillors and highly-paid administrators from the UK’s eighth largest city were cowering from vulnerable adults in a back room unable to set a legal budget for the city. Mission accomplished.

Many of the “spring offensive” actions have now taken on a near mythical status. Not least, the Friday afternoon of March 18 2005 when twelve service users occupied their own day centre in Lockleaze after some of them handcuffed themselves to rails and refused to leave at the end of the day. Steve, Andy and friends remained outside all night, supporting the occupiers – and thwarting the plans of council staff, who had to remain on site to “protect” service users, to starve out the occupiers – by pushing fish and chip takeaways through an open second floor window on long sticks.

The occupation created a huge amount of high profile coverage from the press, TV and radio. While the council’s daft PR man, Simon Caplan, invited open ridicule and more publicity when he helpfully explained, from the front page of the local newspaper, that the protest “served no useful purpose”. Except introducing the daycare campaign to new audiences across the city through headline coverage on every available local news platform!With the wind in their sails, the campaign moved on to even more logistically complex protests. Within hours of the announcement by Tony Blair of the 2005 General Election on April 5, Steve and a number of protestors with major mobility problems had occupied the Labour Party’s first floor South West HQ on Portland Square with an ITV News camera crew in tow!

On May 3 2005, just days before the election, Steve and protestors targeted hundreds of bank holiday customers at @Bristol. Many of these punters were less-than-impressed that the learning disabled and the frail elderly were having to take the streets to campaign to keep their own services. Bristol’s Labour boss for social services, Robin Moss, however, insisted to reporters that the daycare protests were “political stunts”. Although the real political stunt arrived just a few days later when Moss was unceremoniously dumped out of his Easton council ward by the Lib Dems while his party was similarly dumped out of power in Bristol, again, by the Lib Dems.

Steve, Andy and the protestors weren’t done yet and continued putting pressure on the new Lib Dem administration that had promised a review of daycare services during the election. On June 6 2015, the group appeared on College Green directly outside the Council House for the day with a series of 10ft-high placards directly naming seven council officers under a large headline: “Bristol social services’ list of uncaring professionals”.

This produced an aggressive response from town clerk and part time Council House toilet attendant, Stephen McNamara. “If necessary,” the wannabe tough guy thundered from the pages of the Evening Post, “the council will take legal action through the courts to prevent any such activity. The council will not tolerate its employees being harassed in this way.”

Steve loved these kind of threats from puffed up bureaucrats. “This campaign will not be bullied by city council legal mumbo jumbo and empty threats,” he replied in the same article. While he told the BBC, “I would love a legal action for the publicity”. That same day, Steve publicly forwarded his name and address to McNamara, inviting him to take immediate legal action. Steve was only too happy to see this – or any other – pompous old fool, who habitually made the law up to suit the interests of the powerful, in a proper court where the real law would apply.

When Steve, predictably, received no response from McNamara, he borrowed a flat-bed truck and on June 11 2005 spent the day humiliating the council by driving around the city centre, followed by a convoy of the press, parading his ten foot placards publicly shaming the same seven council employees all over again.

And the council’s response? Immediate legal action? Police? Arrests? Injunction? ASBO? Er, no, unconditional surrender and an invitation to Steve and the protestors to immediately attend talks with the Lib Dems to try and settle the dispute. Within weeks of these talks, the Lockleaze Day Centre was officially saved and the campaign drew to a close.

Steve went on to fight many more battles after this one. But the basic template of the ‘Armalite and ballot box strategy’ altered little: use persistent and high profile PR-friendly direct action ignoring all police and legal threats from weak and desperate politicians until the useless fuckers surrender. And they always will.

RIP Steve.