Tag Archives: Bristol

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.

FLY ON THE WALL: The ‘Save St. Marvin from His Plummeting Popularity’ Rally on College Green

The Fly: savouring Marvin’s shite

Enormous deposits of BULLSHIT were detected and tasted by The BRISTOLIAN’s six-legged friend flying overhead at Marvin’s ‘anti-austerity’ march and rally on Saturday September 9.

According to our blue-arsed correspondent, the vicar of Bristol and his collaborators in UNITE, UNISON, The Peoples’ Disassembly, ACORNYJOKE and the Labour Party made up a DISMAL, rain-bedraggled charade of no more than 2,000 on College Green.

It even included a big bouncy castle for speakers to jump up and down on while they whined infantile DRIVEL about ‘diversity’, ‘inclusiveness’, “hey, my dad was a Welsh miner and I was born in Southmead”, or “why I love Bristol” and other IRRELEVANT TOSH. Some of it even recounted in verse by ‘the city’s poet laureate’!

Every subject under the sun (or rain) was covered in fact. Except the one the march and rally was actually supposed to be about, namely AUSTERITY and THE CUTS. This ‘difficult’ subject was raised NOT ONCE by any of the OVERWHELMINGLY MIDDLE-CLASS speakers. One of whom was a LAWYER who offered WAGE-FREE LABOUR in her office to “any of you principled, under-employed folk out there who’d like some work experience”.

The sole rebellion against this pretentious downpour of excrement was offered by a small group of DISSIDENTS. During The Reverend’s speech, despite all attempts by UNITE stewards to thwart them, they repeatedly called St. Marvin out on: the fakery of his much-publicised ‘anti-austerity green paper’ submission to Theresa May (which doesn’t mention austerity once); his craven compliance with the Tory austerity programme when he could legally set a NO-CUTS BUDGET; the libraries and public toilets he’s closing; the social care programmes he’s shutting down; the park/street maintenance departments he’s stripping to the bone and the ILLEGAL ‘gate keeping’ of homeless categories currently being enforced at BCC’s Housing Department.

And all to pay for the continuing Metro/contractor disaster, his GOLDEN HANDSHAKES to the Dirty Thirty bosses; ever more ‘public-private partnerships’ with thieves and parasites and the hiring of a new generation of incompetent, six-figure salary ‘consultant’ twats to make even more of a mess at City Hall.

The REBELS were sorely put upon. First by ‘stewards’ trying to rip down a banner opposing Marvin’s cuts and, later, an enraged Momentum youth in a Jeremy Corbyn sweatshirt who tried to start a fight, before wisely thinking better of it.

In between her feast on the LASHINGS of BS spewed out through the stage microphone, The Fly observed a laughable attempt by one of Marv’s acolytes to silence the uproar, claiming the rebels were ‘failing to be inclusive to the hard-of-hearing group’! All of whom were, of course, straining to hear The Reverend’s every word.

Two of the disgruntled were also overheard wishing that they’d brought along a stanley knife or drill (as in ‘Driller Killer’, 1979??) to DEFLATE the rain shelter/bouncy castle over Marv’s head*. “Come better prepared next time”, buzzed The Fly as she savoured more of Marvellous’s shite.

*Of course The BRISTOLIAN warns that such a violent act could feasibly constitute a new ‘credible death threat’ to the embattled Mayor, instigating an ‘immediate investigation’ by the Stasi (ie. the UK Special Branch) – ed..

BIJAN EBRAHIMI, THE IPCC AND THE DISGRACED CHIEF CONSTABLE

A warm glow of VIRTUE SIGNALLING embraces Bristol as the IPCC finally gets around to releasing their report on the Bijan Ebrahimi murder four years ago. Bijan was beaten to death and set alight by his neighbour in Broomhill, Lee James, in July 2013.

The brutal murder happened after police from Broadbury Road Police Station had IGNORED Iranian, Bijan’s, complaints of racism from his neighbours for over SEVEN YEARS. Police officers treating the life of a working class, disabled man on one of our estates with absolute contempt.

Who gives a fuck about Broomhill and the people who live there? That was the clear message from the city’s authorities in 2013, with the council and voluntary organisations also notable for a LACK OF EFFORT on behalf of Bijan when he needed them.

Police treatment of Bijan in the seven years leading up to his murder, concludes the IPCC’s Commissioner Jan Williams who fronted this remarkably slow and unincisive investigation into Avon & Somerset’s conduct, had ‘‘all the hallmarks of RACIAL BIAS‘.

While, apparently, not being actually racist, conveniently meaning nobody in the force is a racist who can be brought to book. A bizarre conclusion further borne out by Avon & Somerset’s misconduct hearings against 17 staff closely involved in the case, all of which concluded there was “NO EVIDENCE OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION” by our police.

The sense of an empty virtue signalling public relations exercise being conducted by the IPCC and Avon & Somerset is further enhanced by the VAGUE and CONTENT-FREE statements from our establishment-friendly Chief Constable, Andy “Yes Man” Hayman and the bankrupt doughnut vendor turned Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Sue Mountstevens.

Jan Williams, IPCC

Yes Man has assured the Nazi Post “that the police moved quickly to look at what they did wrong, and have already implemented changes”. Although the detail of these “changes” is conveniently WITHELD from us. We do know, however, that the “changes” didn’t consist of the firing of up to 17 RACISTS operating with impunity out of Broadbury Road Police Station in 2013.

Mountstevens was similarly vague, assuring Nazi Post readers she was “confident there would not be a repeat” and claiming, “we have learned from this and the Chief Constable and I must ensure that a tragic event like this does not happen again.” Although, yet again, any detail or explanation as to why there won’t be a repeat is mysteriously LACKING from Mountstevens statement. So what has Mountstevens LEARNED? And what has Yes Man actually done to CHANGE anything?

Inexplicable “changes” accompanied by aimless virtue signalling and bland positive public relations messaging is in STARK CONTRAST to the actions of Avon & Somerset’s former Chief Constable, Nick Gargan. Gargan, a liberal reformer, was in charge of the force in 2013 at the time of the racist murder until he was effectively SACKED in 2015 by Mountstevens with the help of, er, IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams.

Leaving public relations considerations to the establishment wankers and second-rate careerists, Gargan immediately got stuck into the CORRUPT and RACIST culture of Broadbury Road Police Station in 2013. Thanks to his actions four officers at Broadbury Road were charged with misconduct in public office and two were convicted and finally imprisoned by 2016. All four were dismissed from the force.

Gargan also had a further TWELVE police officers – including sergeants and inspectors – lined up for disciplinary action by early 2014. Indeed, so keen was Gargan to discipline the RACISTS and SCUMBAGS in his force he formally complained to the IPCC’s Jan Williams regarding the ridiculous length of time her investigation was taking as it was delaying him from taking action against racists and incompetents.

Within months of this, Gargan was SUSPENDED and being INVESTIGATED by, er, the IPCC’s Jan Williams for  ‘inappropriate behaviour towards female officers and staff’. Sixteen months later after a thorough fishing expedition and witch hunt, Williams finally trumped up some charges for Gargan around a series of PETTY and UNRELATED allegations of sharing information with his partner by email and using his work mobile phone to send personal text messages.

These charges were put before an independent disciplinary panel that found that NONE of these actions had done any harm to the force and did not justify dismissal. Indeed, the disciplinary panel confined the majority of its criticisms to the conduct of the IPCC’s Jan Williams who didn’t seem to think she had a CONFLICT OF INTEREST in conducting an investigation into someone who had formerly complained about her USELESS and painfully SLOW investigation into a major racist incident.

Gargan was found guilty of eight counts of misconduct, none of which related to the original allegations against him and the independent disciplinary panel concluded he should be issued a WARNING LETTER. At this point the thuggish Police Federation and elements within Avon and Somerset – and across policing generally – who hated Gargan’s efforts to modernise his force stepped in demanding Gargan had to go.

Nick Gargan

He was eventually FORCED OUT when our piss-weak Police and Crime Commissioner, bankrupt doughnut vendor Sue Mountstevens, sided with the old school police reactionaries and withdrew her confidence in Gargan.

With the departure of Gargan, the Ebrahimi investigation was toned down and slowed down further and the BROADBURY ROAD TWELVE Gargan had identified for the chop were LET OFF after Avon & Somerset’s disciplinary panel concluded at internal misconduct hearings that there was “no evidence of racial discrimination”! Instead Avon & Somerset officially announced a “range of outcomes” from these disciplinaries, including two officers receiving final written warnings. That’s shown the racists!

Now, a further two years later, up pops the RANCID and INCOMPETENT IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams with her empty-headed report and PR effort and we’re suddenly assured that everything at Avon & Somerset is absolutely fine now due to a series of INEXPLICABLE and CONFIDENTIAL culture changes within the force.  Meanwhile senior Avon & Somerset officers are now on the BBC rambling about “unconscious racism”. What can it all mean?

The cover-up is strong in this one …

Told you so … READ THE BRISTOLIAN’S EXPOSE OF THE IPCC, JAN WILLIAMS AND NICK GARGAN FROM 2015.

‘BEST CUT OF ALL’ IS “DISGUSTING” SAY FAKE CAMPAIGNERS

THREE PEOPLE NOBODY’S EVER HEARD OF CONDEMN CONFECTED SHOCK IMAGE AS, ER, SHOCKING IN USELESS RIGHT WING RAG EVERYONE KNOWS IS FULL OF CRAP!

The Nazi Post has kindly published our hugely successful ‘Best Cut of All‘ front cover and poster so it can reach a wider audience. It’s published today under the excellent, if inaccurate, headline, “Anti-cuts campaigners condemn ‘disgusting’ image of Bristol mayor Marvin Rees”. 

The article features a few random nobodies from West Bristol – that the Post apparently found on Facebook and rebranded as “ANTI-CUTS CAMPAIGNERS” – who helpfully consented to condemning our artwork in the local yellow press. This is presumably so we can all have a good laugh at the Post’s expense?

Meanwhile, actual, real, anti-cuts campaigners from Bristol’s local anti-cuts group, BADACA, didn’t, er, condemn anything at all! Do we have a new media phenomena? FAKE CAMPAIGNERS?

Full article here: ***WARNING*** This link contains shocking bullshit: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/anti-cuts-campaigners-condemn-disgusting-image-of-bristol-mayor-marvin-rees/story-30135187-detail/story.html#ipHBqQfKVokBpzXc.99

In case you care, the quote the from us that the Nazi Post won’t print said, “Could you tell Mike Norton he’s a cunt and we wouldn’t mind putting an axe through his Tory head?”

A word from the circulation department:

“We’ve had quite a good response from the street to this issue and only had one ‘negative’ – which was really more in the realm of worry about displaying the front cover rather than an objection to it per se. Even this hitch was overcome.

“Laughter or a shrug is the more common response.

“On the positive side we’ve already had two sell outs requiring re-stocks, and two places wanting our number in the anticipation of demand for more. A punter in one of the delivery venues shook our hand and said ‘I just love this paper – it’s straight from the heart with two fingers up to PR bullshit – I’ll show all my friends.”

Ho, ho!

BRISTOL UNISON ELECTION: BACKSIDE BLASTS ROBBO

PANIC is breaking out at the South West regional branch of Unison following the hasty RESIGNATION of their Bristol Branch Secretary, Steve “Backside” Crawshaw after he was exposed in The BRISTOLIAN cutting a SECRET DEAL with the Rev Rees to help smoothly deliver controversial staff cuts at Bristol City Council with a minimum of trade union opposition.

Backside actively tried to make his sleazy deal with the Reverend while joint trade union Employee Side Secretary at the council, crudely EXCLUDING the council’s other trade unions and his own membership from these secret discussions. So it’s hardly surprising everybody’s lost faith in him and he’s slithering back to his protected £30k plus sinecure in the council’s bent property department.

An ELECTION is now underway for a new Bristol Branch Secretary, which pits a traditional left winger -Tom “RED ROBBO” Merchant, who wants to openly OPPOSE the Reverend’s stupid and brutal £110m Tory cuts programme – against a right winger, Jane “Wet” Carter – who wants to focus the branch’s attention on a load of middle class EQUALITIES bollocks for the next few years.

The election – and the simple choice it offers between traditional trade unionism or a load of useless liberal shite – appears to have thrown Backside’s Labour Party handlers at Unison’s regional office in Wine Street into something of a meltdown. So they INSTRUCTED Backside to urgently email out to members “in a personal capacity” to support the useless but Labour and Reverend-friendly Wet Carter.

Hapless neo-liberal jerk, Backside, has COMPLIED with his Labour Party handlers instructions to the letter. Because an absurd email, listing all the skills he believes a union branch secretary requires, arrived in Unison members’ inboxes. Accompanied by Backside’s view that Wet Carter “embodies, and can demonstrate, all these characteristics”. (Fancy that!)

Backside selflessly reveals his views on Red Robbo in his email too. “I cannot strongly discern the qualities listed above in Tom Merchant,” sniffily explains this inadequate sell out who has had to QUIT after conduct so DISREPUTABLE it’s resulted in local trade unionists’ total loss of confidence in him.

Backside finally advises his Bristol members, “to use your vote wisely and advise other members accordingly”. We concur with Backside entirely. Use that vote wisely Unison members. Do you want an ACTUAL TRADE UNIONIST fighting for your job and the services you run or a right wing APOLOGIST for huge cuts who will help make you redundant and trash local public services while creating a first draft transgender bathroom policy?

The choice is all yours comrades …

 

That email in full:

FROM: Steve Crawshaw
SENT: 27 January 2017 15:40
TO: Steve Crawshaw
SUBJECT: Branch Secretary Election – Bristol UNISON

Dear UNISON member

As you may know, I am stepping down as Branch Secretary after 3 years in the post as I have been asked to return to my substantive role in the council. There will now be an election for the role, and two candidates are standing. I am writing to you in a personal capacity to set out my views as to the merits of the candidates in terms of their
suitability for the role.

The position of Branch Secretary requires specific personal characteristics. In my view these are: sound judgement, resilience to stress, empathy, critical thinking and determination. As well as being the lead negotiator in the branch, they are also a manager and employer of a team four staff, so strong management skills are necessary. They need to be able to marshal an argument and communicate clearly. They need to think be able to think strategically, but also be prepared to pick apart a document in detail and respond to complex proposals intelligently. Importantly, they need to work with activists, members, employees and regional officers as part of a cohesive team. The branch secretary needs to understand and accept the organising principles in UNISON, where we empower members rather than service and put equalities at the heart of our practice.

In my view, only one candidate, Jane Carter embodies, and can demonstrate, all these characteristics. I will not repeat the text of her election address, but I can endorse all of what she says in it. She has a track record of running a large branch and I have been impressed with all the work she has done in our branch.

Unfortunately I cannot strongly discern the qualities listed above in Tom Merchant.

Bristol UNISON is the largest trade union branch in the South West and the largest union in the council. I believe we have a good reputation with members, employers and in the region. It is important that we maintain this to protect our members’ jobs and T&C’s. Having a strong and competent leader is a vital part of this, so I would encourage you to use your vote wisely and advise other members accordingly. The ballot materials will be sent shortly.

Kind Regards

Steve Crawshaw

SICK COUNCILLORS PUT PARK ON ROAD TO RUIN

jon-wellington-1462720144

SPADstic and Lazy in happier times before they decided to fuck up one of the city’s parks and become objects of mass derision

We have an early entrant for our IDLE SELF-PUBLICIST COUNCILLOR of the year award. Please step forward Labour’s councillor for Windmill Hill, “Lazy” Lucy Whittle.

LIVID RESIDENTS of Windmill Hill and Totterdown – fuming over her and her politically ambitious colleague Jon “SPADstic” Wellington’s top secret plan to build a bloody great ROAD through their beloved Victoria Park – were desperately emailing Lazy Lucy in December only to be greeted by an out of office message.

“Thank you for contacting me, I am currently on SICK LEAVE but expect to be able to return to work within a few weeks, hopefully at the end of December,” bleated Lucy.

Fair enough. We all get ill and can’t work. But wait! What should pop through residents’ doors in late December/early January but a copy of the South Bristol Voice newspaper featuring a ‘Your councillors’ column written by none other than LAZY LUCY, merrily wittering away, without a care in the world, about the awfulness of the cuts she’ll be voting to implement this year.

What type of STRANGE ILLNESS is this that afflicted Lazy Lucy over the Christmas holidays? Too ill to reply to residents’ emails but well enough to write an article promoting herself and taking advantage of free PR in the local freesheet? Truly, an extraordinary condition.

Lazy Lucy and sidekick, SPADstic, may be trying to avoid residents after they supported a SECRET three month public consultation by cycling and concrete charity, Sustrans, into the so-called ‘Filwood Quietway’ through Victoria Park.

This is basically a plan – going to a planning committee next week – for a FIVE METRE WIDE ROAD for cyclists to SPEED through the park on. And, despite Lazy and SPADstic’s comprehensive three month consultation over the summer, virtually no residents knew anything about it!

Unless, that is, they happened to wander into a BICYLE REPAIR GAZEBO in Victoria Park on the afternoon of Wednesday 31 August or they were invited to a few mysterious PRIVATE, invitation-only meetings with the mendacious pair of Labour councillors and Sustrans’ posh engagement manager, Anais “Nincompoop “Leger-Smith.

To add INSULT TO INJURY, Lazy Lucy even used her South Bristol Voice PR column in October to discuss her road-through-the-park plan in vague terms, telling residents, “we are really interested in what the community thinks. So do let us know your thoughts,” a week after the consultation CLOSED!

Lazy Lucy also gave the road Labour’s SUPPORT in her column, telling residents, “[SPADstic and I] see this as an improvement to Bristol’s cycling infrastructure that will bring benefits to communities along its route.”

Now SPADstic, apparently alone and abandoned by sickly Lazy Lucy, and desperate to salvage his six-month car crash career is attempting a REVERSE FERRET at the kind of furious speeds cyclists will soon be doing across his local park.

As hundreds of objections pour in from residents – as they finally find out about the road SPADstic forgot to tell them about – SPADstick is desperately issuing VAGUE and PISS WEAK promises to support the residents he deliberately sidelined and ignored during the three month consultation.

Too little; too late we say. Why did Lazy Lucy and SPADstic DELIBERATELY allow this plan get to a planning committee before telling residents? And why – if their consultation with Anais NIncompoop from cycling’s concrete kings – has been such a comprehensive listening exercise, are HUNDREDS of residents and every community group and school in the area UP IN ARMS about it?

The plan needs to go back to the drawing board and these idiot councillors need to apologise to their residents for their appalling conduct and start doing their jobs properly. Or else.