Tag Archives: Christine Townsend

Downs Committee Statement March 21st 2022

The vile Merchant Venturer creatures on the Downs Committee: selfish; anti-democratic; unaccountable; dishonest; rude; arrogant; ignorant; misleading and stupid …

Here’s the full statement from Green Councillor, Christine Townsend made to the Downs Committee today:

As stated in January this committee must be served by the Nolan Principles, current composition prevents this. The Society of Merchant Venturers is an unincorporated, undemocratic, invite only, private members’ club whose position derives from ongoing environmental extraction and the historic horror of the TST [Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade] that saw human exploitation, kidnap and murder for private gain. The legacy of the TST is structuralised throughout present day society and personified in Merchant Venturer presence on this committee. Despite Freed claiming that the Merchant Venturers will
follow the Nolan Principles, the statement he then read out in January ran contrary to each and every one of them: –

Selflessness – Fighting members of the public in a prolonged, unwinnable judicial review, funded by the public purse to ‘save face’ is not in the public interest.

Integrity – Merchant Venturers are on this committee by way of this undemocratic, unaccountable private members club and, by definition, are here to represent and promote that organisation’s interests

Objectivity – Freed attempts to blame Downs for People for the cost of the judicial review. But it was the Merchant Venturer dominated sub of the Downs Committee, not Downs for People, that prolonged the case even though they will have known it was hopeless. They did not concede until they were almost on the steps of the courtroom. Downs for People were pursuing the case in the public interest to safeguard the Downs, mainly at their own expense.

Accountability – This committee has repeatedly failed to engage with scrutiny from members of the public, ignored email requests for information and has to date failed to make public the amount of public money wasted attempting to fight an unwinnable judicial review. As I stand here as a democratically elected representative there remains zero public information about the total sum wasted on this failed venture.

Openness – it is not acceptable that members of the public are needing to resort to making Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulation requests to get basic information. It was necessary for Downs for People to get a disclosure order via the court to have sight of the 20 year licence they were challenging, the judge was unimpressed with the Committee’s behaviour. Needing to approach the Information Commissioner to access requested information is shameful and the antithesis of the Nolan Principles.

Honesty – Freed’s statement references ‘the court case’ the process was a judicial review – accurat language use matters. Freed referred to the history of the Downs and claims that ‘at a time when the others were making a fortune out of developing houses all around it….they bought the land specifically to stop that from happening’ This statement is factually incorrect, the Merchant Venturers purchased the land in the 17th century and sold leases for development pocketing the money and quarried large parts for private capital gain. The idea that Merchant Venturers act in a manner that benefits anyone other than themselves is ludicrous and is demonstrated in other aspects of their ‘work’. The public words of their ex-head teacher John Whitehead stated that the instinct of the Merchant Venturers is ‘self-preservation’ days after the felling of their statue mascot the enslaver Edward Colston.

Leadership – Whilst Freed promoted historical inaccuracies, myths about the history of the
involvement of the organisation with the Downs and private profit made from it, described a judicial review as a ‘court case’ the rest of the Merchant Venturers sat back silent, this is not leadership this is complicity.

‘The Merchant Venturers need to remove themselves from our governance structures, getting out of Bristol’s democracy – removed if necessary.’

Turds of turd hall
Why are these unaccountable wealthy bastards allowed to spend public money on themselves as they see fit?

Public statement to today’s Down Committee Meeting by Cllr Christine Townsend, Green Party, Southville Ward:

The Nolan Principles cannot be served with the current governance set-up of this committee despite the elected members being bound by them as the Society of Merchant Venturers are not. Nor does the Society of Merchant Venturers make any financial contribution. The Committee’s secrecy, incompetence and extravagance have, cost the Bristolian tax-payer hundreds of thousands of pounds and must now be dealt with.

The recent Judicial Review illuminated how public funds were used to defend the indefensible. The settlement demonstrated that the Committee’s licensing decisions were, as they had been warned, contrary to the purpose of the Victorian piece of legislation that this committee is bound by. Society of Merchant Venturer members led on these decisions.

The Society of Merchant Venturers have sought to involve themselves in the democratic process and influence decisions in this and other arenas which has been well publicised in recent years. The time has come for a complete overhaul of how and why public money can be used by private individuals to further their own views, interests and ideological positions. The elected representatives of the people, including the Lord Mayor, must step-up and address these now pressing issues that run contrary to the democratic society in which we are told we live.

Officers administrating this committee do so as servants of the people paid from the public purse. Yet the contortions exercised in relation to the Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations questions from Downs for People do not reflect this. Your agenda today does not include the minutes from the Governance Task and Finish Group that previous paperwork indicates apparently met on December 13th. Nor could I find a record of a meeting stated as scheduled for September 8th – Why is that? Where are these minutes? This is unacceptable.

Councillors on this committee cannot claim the role of the elected mayor lacks transparency,
openness, avoidable loss of public funds and democratic decision making, whilst simultaneously dragging their feet with inaction and inertia in relation to this committee – that would be hypocrisy of the highest order.

The Society of Merchant Venturers need to hand over the Downs and remove themselves from our governance structures, getting out of Bristol’s democracy – removed if necessary.

Only those of us with a mandate to represent the people can be in position to make decisions over how our public spaces are managed and how much public money is spent on them. It is the people who have been paying for the upkeep and development of public space, not the Society of Merchant Venturers.

CITY’S SLAVE CULT SETTLED LIBEL ACTION AFTER SMEARING ANTI RACISTS

Brown-Anthony-150x150
Brown: RESIGNED

Press releases tumbling out of the Society of Merchant Venturers since the fall of Colston on Sunday 7 June 2020 have left campaigners against the cult and their slave trade icon gobsmacked.

“The statue of Edward Colston was removed from Bristol’s city centre last weekend and the fact that it has gone is right for Bristol,” the Venturers innocently chirped to the press late on a Friday evening about a statue they fought a bitter and underhand battle for years to maintain at the heart of city.

Public warm words and contrition now are in stark contrast to the cult’s attitude as recently as 2018. Then the Merchant’s misfiring education wing, the Venturers Trust, which runs Colston Girls School and  Withywood’s Merchants Academy as well as string of primary schools across the city, accused Colston campaigners and anti-racists of terror offences.

The damaging smear, a deliberate attempt to destroy the careers and reputations of campaigners prepared to directly challenge our city’s wealthy and influential Colston cult, came after Countering Colston’s Christine Townsend submitted a formal objection to the Office of the  School Adjudicator in April 2018 about admission arrangements at Colston’s Girls School.

smallwood
Smallwood: RESIGNED

During this adjudication process, in letters to the Adjudicator and to Bristol’s Local Education Authority, signed by senior Merchant Venturer Anthony Brown of the Venturers Trust, they claimed that Christine had harassed children and associated her with a bomb threat to Colston Girls School. They even demanded that the Home Office’s PREVENT Programme to tackle homegrown terrorism investigate Christine and other members of Countering Colston.

The Adjudicator ignored Brown’s absurd fabrications as the Adjudication process deals exclusively with school admissions and a ruling on this appeared in August 2018. The local authority told the Merchants they needed to speak with the police, not a local council, in line with long established children’s safeguarding processes an academy chain should be familiar with.

Throughout the summer of 2018 the Venturers Trust ignored all correspondence and refused to retract and apologise for the kind of damaging smears that can cost people hard-earned careers. Eventually, in August 2018, a Civil Procedure Rules Pre-Action Protocol was served on Anthony Brown as Chair of Colston Girls Schools and trustee of the Venturers Trust. Christine was suing for libel.

By February 2019, with neither Brown, Colston Girls School or the Venturers Trust able to produce a shred of evidence for their claims, a written apology and a full and detailed retraction of their allegations was received by Christine from Anthony Brown. The proven liar also quietly resigned as Chair of Colston Girls School and a Trustee of the Venturers Trust. Oddly, Trevor Smallwood, a former Master of the Merchant Venturers, followed Brown out of the door as Chair of the Venturers Trust. The typical fanfare the local press reserves for vain old Venturers for their much-vaunted charitable and voluntary work was noticeably absent.

No explanation for Brown and Smallwood’s sudden departure from running one of the city’s leading academy chains has ever been publicly provided by The Venturers Trust or the Merchant Venturers. While the editor of the Bristol Post, Mike Norton, has declined to publish this news, almost certainly in the public interest, that his newspaper has held for over a year.

Are we to believe it is so entirely unremarkable for senior Merchant Venturers running academy chains to be proven liars that it is not worthy of news or comment? Or is the city’s wealthy slave trade cult so malignly powerful and influential it can easily silence our city’s senior media figures in order to maintain their false reputation?

Why are these wealthy men allowed to continue getting away with it and what else haven’t you heard about the Colston cultists dominating our city?

SECRET HUSTINGS

Leigh-Court-Header2A new phenomenon is emerging at this year’s mayoral election – THE SECRET HUSTINGS. Apparently, petrified mainstream candidates, scared of the Bristolian public – and some of the other independent candidates – and the questions they might ask, are meeting carefully selected audiences at UNDISCLOSED VENUES to answer questions.

The main victims of this process – so far – have been INDEPENDENT MAYORAL CANDIDATES Christine “Pete” Townsend and Paul “Mister Tea” Savile who are deliberately NOT invited to these hustings. Coincidentally, both have been raising difficult questions for the other candidates.

Townsend has been highlighting the dubious practice of SELECTION BY WEALTH AND CLASS in Bristol’s secondary schools while Savile has been addressing issues around street homelessness, particularly the council’s REFUSAL to open any of their buildings for temporary shelter to the growing number of people living on the streets.

This situation has already created one wholesale FARCE with Savile visiting FIVE different venues in search of a SECRET HUSTINGS on housing issues. The hustings were attended by the establishment-approved candidates (George, Labour, Lib Dem, Green and Tory) and a selected audience of polite and non-troublemaking housing “professionals” and “experts”.

Savile did eventually locate the meeting and even managed to blag his way in. But how many more wankers are there in this city prepared to run fiascos like this over the next two months under the guise of democracy?

The Bristolian also learns that Mayor Venturer, Labour’s Marvin “Luther” Rees and Tory, Charles “Thicko” Lucas attended another SECRET HUSTINGS at the Business West HQ at LEIGH COURT MANSION in February.

We understand the Merchant Venturer front organisation held a 45-minute audience with each candidate who were, no doubt, GRILLED on their acceptability to the city’s SHADY BUSINESS ELITE. Luther Rees, in particular, is very tight-lipped about this secret meeting and what he’s promised them.

Let’s hope he hasn’t got one public message for us and another secret one for the wealthy elite!

MAYOR GORGEOUS DITCHES INDY REDPANTS AFTER DESULTORY ELECTION RESULTS?

So the votes have been counted, and despite thousands of pounds spent on promoting the middle class vanity project ‘Independents for Bristol’ – the ‘party that’s not a party’ set up by a bunch of Mayor George Ferguson’s rich chums on the grounds that the City Council isn’t stuffed with enough self-regarding toffs or laptoperati  – IfB only managed to win a single seat. And that was Kingsweston, won by the all-but-in-name Lib Dem Jason Budd!

Now that Labour is the biggest party in Shitty Hall with 28 councillors, George has been making overtures to them to get them inside his fast-sinking administration. Indeed, it is of note that instead of palling up with the single successful Indy Redpants candidate and offering Budd a place in his Cabinet, George has now turned his head to attracting in some Labour faces, having pointedly said:

I very much hope we can achieve a four-party cabinet, because I think it’s in Bristol’s interests and I also think it’s in the parties’ interests.

Seeing as he already has the Lib Dems, Tories and Green Party represented in his fake ‘rainbow coalition’ Cabinet of cuts-makers, it’s a rather harsh snub for the hard-working finance directors, self-facilitating media nodes and political anoraks who so tirelessly canvassed as proxies on his behalf.

The failure of the Indy Redpants to fire the imagination of Bristolians might have something to do with their insufferably middle class smugness, and their barely credible claims to be representing a change in city politics.

Cast your mind back ten years to the only-half-serious Bristolian Party – born of an earlier version of this very scandal sheet. It put up twelve candidates across Bristol, including a couple – for comedy value – in Clifton and Clifton East, on a ticket of “reclaiming our city back from the corporate developers”.

In the four wards contested by both the Bristolian Party in 2003 and IfB in 2013, the Bristolian candidate placed higher than the IfB in all but one (Clifton, unsurprisingly). The Bristolian candidate beat the IfB candidate in votes and vote share in two wards – trouncing IfB in both Ashley and Easton. In Lawrence Hill the Bristolian candidate polled just twelve votes fewer than IfB. And in all the jointly-contested wards, the Bristolian Party faced a higher proportion of voter turn-out than the IfB.

So what does that say about the ‘success’ of Fergo’s ‘independent’ outriders of the Indy Redpants, their ability to inspire voters, or their willingness to address issues on the doorstep?

That they were roundly outperformed by a bunch of chancers united by contempt for the well-heeled political classes in Bristol that the IfB so clearly seeks to represent?