Bridge row as transport fiasco trundles on – George’s Stalingrad?
Another week, another embarrassing public row about BRT, the crappy ‘super bus’ system nobody wants but nobody seems able to stop.
In March Gorgeous George found himself engaged in a WAR OF WORDS with North Somerset councillors Elfan Ap Rees and Nigel Ashton over their glorified FirstBus service. They both criticised the mayor for being in Cannes (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.2) rather than at a meeting with them explaining his new policy of rerouting this supposed transit system. Unimpressed, the two carrot-crunching councillors issued a press release stating the BRT plan was going ahead in its original form: through Bristol Docks, over Prince Street Bridge, and into the Centre.
George responded by publicly calling Rees and Ashton “SILLY” and firmly stating BRT would not be going over Prince Street Bridge.
Then everything went very quiet for a few weeks. But now George’s own underling, Head of Special Projects and consummate time-serving Bristol City Council underachiever, Alun Owen, has piped up to councillors and the press saying – wait for it – that buses will be routed over George’s beloved Prince Street Bridge!
“Oh no they won’t,” replies Dame George in true pantomime style. But what on earth is going on here? Who’s in charge – unelected bureaucrat Owen or elected mayor George? And why is a local government officer openly contradicting his elected boss and NONCHALENTLY CHANGING AGREED POLICY via the press?
This is turning into a huge débacle for George. He was elected on a platform of scrapping the BRT plans – yet U-turned on this within days of being elected, announcing instead he would reroute the system to avoid the Docks and Prince Street Bridge (and so not upset his Redcliffe heritage mafia chums and Harbourside business associates). Now even that plan is being publicly undermined by his own employees.
It’s as though the mayor can’t even manage his own staff – let alone a whole bloody city!