Tag Archives: George Ferguson

HANDOUTS FOR THE RICH UPDATE

Posh fella needs public handout

Launched in a blaze of gushing publicity in the autumn of 2015, snooty TV celeb, Kevin McCloud’s HAB building company’s development on the site of Dunmail Primary School in Southmead was touted as the sustainable HOUSING OF THE FUTURE.

A major PR effort back in 2015 with public schoolboy Mayor No-more Ferguson front, back and centre alongside the Cambridge educated TV presenter waffled a lot about “partnership” and “sustainability”. So it was only a matter of time before the scheme would need a PUBLIC HANDOUT wasn’t it?

Fast forward to May 2017, eight months after master builder McCloud should have began work, and we find the shyster TV presenter has failed to “roll up his sleeves” and get a shovel in the ground in Southmead as promised. Instead, he’s working hard alongside accountants in his office and is now DEMANDING we – the council tax payer – UNDERWRITE his fancypants state-of-the-art development!

Just weeks before Kevin was finally threatening to get those shovels out, he discovered that the private rental element of the state-of-the-art mixed scheme of social housing, affordable housing, private rental and private purchase housing he promised was too much of a RISK!

So we, the council tax payer, will now act as guarantor for the scheme after the Rev Rees’s cabinet agreed to a last minute BAILOUT of £500k to get this private sector scheme off the ground.

Welcome to the future of housing development in Bristol where the private sector and well-heeled TV celebs pocket the profit and get the PR gush and the public takes all the risks …

BOARD NEWS

A home. How many will we get for £160million?

Bristol City Council has very, very quietly released limited membership details of its BRISTOL HOMES BOARD, tasked with spending a headline figure of £160m of our money to resolve the city’s housing crisis.

Naturally the equaliser, the Reverend Rees, has opted for a 75 per cent male, all-white board (except himself) stuffed with incompetent TIME-SERVERS and serial QUANGOCRATS to spend this large wedge of public money.

Alongside the Reverend and his sidekick, Labour housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith, you’ll find Alison “THREE JOBS” Comley, a senior city council boss and direct subordinate of Rees and Smith, hardly best placed to speak truth to power. Especially as she’s up to her neck in the council’s £30m unlawful budget scandal and is yet to be cleared.

Alison is joined by luminaries such as Stephen “What Crisis?”Teagle from Galliford Try Partnerships, a front for the corporate that runs house builders, LINDEN HOMES. Last year, Linden saw profits rise 21 per cent to £74.3m while its average house cost a mere £338,000. The company also boasts to shareholders that it has a LANDBANK of 14,250 plots. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis for them does it?

Also on the board is Knightstone Housing Association boss Nick Horne “Blower”. He was last seen sat on his useless lazy arse as a board member for West of England LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) while, directly under his nose, BAE sold their Filton Airfield land to YTL Homes UK. YTL is run by Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett who also happened to be the Chair of er, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership! This blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST clearly passed Nick by, even though the LEP was given a key role in marketing and developing the airfield for sale with the public money he was overseeing!

Nick also waved through TWO PAYMENTS from the LEP to board member George Ferguson’s Beer Factory and Bristol Brewing Company totalling £62k. A further £92k was paid to a company owned by one of Ferguson’s political donors, Alasdair “Sorearse” Sawday. What were these handouts for? Who knows? Because NO MINUTES exist of these board decisions and no documents indicating Ferguson’s interests were ever published by Horne’s LEP!

Also getting rewarded for serial incompetence and moving across from the useless board of the LEP to oversee millions of pounds of our money for housing in Bristol is Business West bigwig James “Licker” Durie.  Not only is he unlikely to raise any difficult questions about any handouts to wealthy locals, he’s also a notorious salaried lackey for the MERCHANT VENTURERS.

Making up the numbers on the Rev’s quietly appointed board are a couple of posh public schoolboys turned voluntary sector luvvies – David “HAPPY CAMPER” Ingerslev from multi-million homeless charity St Mungos and the CEO of Elim Housing Association, Alistair “HEAD BOY” Allender. No doubt Head Boy can bring his street-level experience from Birkenhead School, “a top performing independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 months to 18” and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences to bear?

Further INEFFECTUAL luvvie input on our Homes Board will be supplied by Bevis Watts “The Fuck”, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. He’s a serial quangocrat who boasts the pie, booze and cash giveaway to the wealthy that was the board of the Green Capital, Bristol 2015 Ltd, on his CV!

Adding a healthy dose of surrealism to the whole affair, the board also has a ‘Head of Multi-Channel Fulfilment’ at the table – Debbie “Fulfil Me” Franklin from the Andrews Property Group, a local LETTINGS AGENCY, no less. Career bureaucrat David “The Loaf” Warburton from the Homes and Community Agency quango is also along for the £160m public money ride

The small amount of hope we can invest in this board lies with the final two members. Geraldine Winkler, a housing solicitor with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre and Tom Renhard, a member of tenants union ACORN. He also sits on the board of the Avon Pension Fund for some random reason and we note with concern that Renhard was funded by local authority bosses’ union UNISON to help him get on to this pension board. It’s unclear, too, whether Renhard was a personal appointment by the Vicar or whether he was chosen directly by Acorn members.

As always, it’s just as interesting to note who ISN’T on the committee – seasoned troublemakers or gobshites known to be prepared to stand up to a committee of pie-munching land dealing wankers who forget to keep minutes. And It’s further worth noting that there was no sign of a competitive application process to join this board disbursing £160m of our cash. Instead membership is entirely courtesy of the political PATRONAGE of the Reverend Mayor Rees well away from any scrutiny by councillors and public.

The last “PUBLIC MEETING” of this board took place on 29 June. Despite being “public”, no reports were issued and the board was, instead, treated to a series of Max Wide “Boy” style verbal briefings and crappy Powerpoint presentations that will never be seen again. Already, we have to ask, are these board members doing their jobs properly?

There may be trouble ahead …

ARE THEY PULLING OUR LEGACY?

“The establishment of the council’s energy company – Bristol Energy – will be one of the landmark achievements of Bristol’s year as Green Capital and one of its most significant legacies and that’s been recognised from way beyond Bristol,” blustered MAYOR NO-LONGER, George Ferguson, to any media that would listen in July 2015.

Although a somewhat lower key PR approach has been taken by Bristol City Council to the news this July that Bristol Energy – their wholly owned landmark achievement company – has made a LOSS of £3m already!

What a legacy! And you, dear taxpayer, will – of course – foot the bill.

RAT AND SHIP UPDATE

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ – Hell toupee when we see what he’s done …

So it’s farewell, then, to Max Wide “Boy”, the city council’s Business Change boss who leaves the organisation at the end of May after two years of hard graft SACKING PEOPLE in return for over £250k! What a deal that’s been for the city.

Former BT salesman, Wide Boy, arrived at the council just two years ago on a £130k a year wedge after a stint controversially PRIVATISING SERVICES in Barnet. His remit in Bristol was to deliver £64m of cuts by 2017.

His final report to the city’s cabinet suggests he’s actually delivered about £33m of these cuts by FIRING around 500 council staff and a further £18m may get delivered if his ‘EFFICIENCY SAVINGS’ pan out as planned. Meanwhile the £12.9m in cuts still outstanding will need to be found by a further 450 REDUNDANCIES according to the cabinet report Wide Boy published shortly before scarpering.

So well done Mayor Fucking Useless and Bristol City Council. You’ve paid someone a quarter of million pounds to sack a 1,000 people and run away before the disastrous results of this policy become clear.

MAYORAL ELECTION: HUSTINGS FARCE

The absolute fiasco of SECRET and CLOSED hustings featuring only carefully selected candidates from the establishment political parties continues to blight the mayoral elections.

We have already reported in The BRISTOLIAN how BUSINESS WEST invited just the Tories, Labour and George Ferguson to some very hush-hush hustings at their Leigh Court Mansion in March where, no doubt, the Merchant Venturers issued their orders to candidates.

We also reported how, at least, one hustings on housing run by crappy homeless charity, ST MUNGOS, was kept secret to keep independent candidates and their opinions out of the way and tricky questions at bay.

Now we’ve uncovered a whole series of hustings where independent candidates, UKIP and TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Colaition) have been DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED by the organisers.

Among these was a hustings instigated by the TUC at the Unite Union HQ, Tony Benn House, on Victoria Street in early April. This turned into a major humiliation for the TUC, however, when the excluded candidates organised a PROTEST outside Tony Benn House (pictured).

tu protest web

“Who made the TUC gatekeepers of democracy”

Surely this protest marks a significant NEW LOW in this city’s fine trade union tradition? And maybe it’s something the union bureaucrats and bosses responsible need to think long and hard about. Once ordinary people are protesting about you isn’t it time you carefully considered your position?

Especially after the TUC’s shitty little BIASED and MANIPULATED hustings only managed to attract about 30 people from a trade union membership in the tens of thousands in Bristol. Are these self-appointed trade union bosses in touch with anyone in the city outside their FRIENDS in the local Labour Party?

On the plus side, it seems the teachers union, the NUT, learned from the TUC’s huge EMBARRASSMENT and avoided a further HUMILIATING protest against trade unions. They hurriedly arranged invites for ALL the candidates for their hustings at Tony Benn House a few weeks later.

Not so, however, from other so-called progressive organisations in the city who seem desperate to control any political debate and EXCLUDE any troublesome views that might fall to the left of Labour’s right wing candidate Marvin “Luther” Rees.

Hustings organised by the CREATIVE YOUTH NETWORK for young people; VOSCUR for community and voluntary organisations; ACORN, the direct action tenants organisation and even hustings on disabilities organised jointly by The National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for the Blind, Mencap and the Bristol Centre for Deaf People all EXCLUDED legitimate mayoral candidates.

In the case of the disability hustings, it’s nothing short of extraordinary that organisations supposedly dedicated to preventing exclusion should OPENLY EXCLUDE people! The other organisations involved are, mainly, thinly disguised LABOUR SUPPORTERS obviously petrified of giving a platform to any of the many left wing critics of Marvin “Luther” Rees among the mayoral candidates.

Mayor Loser’s supporters appear to have been getting in on this act too. A hustings at the Analphoney art gallery organised by the RIDICULOUS POSH BOYS running the POINTLESS Bristol Pound project also FAILED to invite most candidates because there wasn’t “enough time”. Although it looked more like a last ditch effort to keep the wheels on Mayor Massive Defeat’s car crash campaign by banning all his more open and aggressive critics.

Welcome to progressive politics in Bristol where dissent will be quietly suppressed and democracy overlooked due to time constraints.

MAYORAL ELECTION: COCK & BALLS

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The BRISTOLIAN has been running stories on and off since 1827. Same old shite really – POWER, CORRUPTION, LIES, THEFT, NEPOTISM AND DECEIT.

One editor in the 19th Century even ended up in the nick for fucking LIBEL would you believe? So it’s pretty fair to say that Bristol and this country have not changed much.

By the time you read this you’ll be electing another pissant (or perhaps the same pissant) as Mayor of Bristol after they’ve made all sorts of promises about housing, transport and whatever else they think will make you vote for the twats.

If anything’s really changed since the 19th century, it’s for the WORSE. Day after day we hear more and more about the state we’re in. One in five kids turning up at school underweight and malnourished. Whose kids? Our fucking kids!

The elderly are dying of COLD or HUNGER. Over 100,000 people in the West Country are reliant on FOOD BANKS. One third are children. Thousands of families go without benefits because they are two minutes late for an appointment with the government.

More people are homeless in Bristol now than any time since the GREAT DEPRESSION of the 1930s. Libraries, swimming baths and children’s centres are closing. The local NHS is cut to the bone. Even doctors are striking over conditions.

Meanwhile we work ’til we drop, get our pensions ROBBED and live in perpetual debt. All the while working on zero hour contracts for TYCOONS buying big houses, flash cars and yachts off our backs.

But we’re all in it together! Are we bollox! The gap between rich and poor is the largest in living memory. Bigger than when Queen Vic lorded it over the Empire.

The Panama Papers and the rich and powerful avoiding tax are the tip of the iceberg. Bankers are getting their bonuses again. And all the local politicians – Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green – tell us they’re POWERLESS to stop the austerity measures screwing up our lives.

Really? Is that true? Were politicians in Bristol “powerless” when they voted through a 20 per cent pay rise for council bosses last month? Were politicians in Bristol “powerless” when they kept their gobs shut about the 50 council homes flogged off to property speculators in the last year?

Were Bristol’s politicians “powerless” when they waved through Mayor Crook’s BENT Green Capital accounts? Are they “powerless” to stop our librarians getting shafted? Are they too “powerless” to mention our local academies are run by SPIVS chasing a fast buck?

Are they “powerless” to ask why the mayor’s daughter is being handed hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money? Are they “powerless” to DEMAND the streets are cleaned? “Powerless” to ask why public documents are suddenly SECRET? “Powerless” to ask why their useless housing department can’t answer a bloody phone?

Our politicians are not “powerless”. They’re IDLE, PATHETIC and WEAK. Voting for any of them is a waste of time. They will not help you or your family or your friends. They will help themselves whilst kowtowing to thieving corporations.

Once elected, local politicians will give away the power we give them and hand the running of the city to ELITIST council bosses on big wages working to the instructions of the Tories in Westminster. The politicians, meanwhile, will keep their heads down, enjoy the perks of office and simper that they’re “powerless”.

So what is to be done instead? Because if we don’t do something sharpish, we’ll all be well and truly fucked.

We need to get organised as a city NOW. We need to UNITE the city and start FIGHTING the Tory government in Westminster. We must CHALLENGE the property speculators and off shore property owners in Bristol. We must STAND OUR GROUND against greedy CAPITALISTS making money out of privatisation of public services. We must DUMP the politicians who say they’re “powerless”. We must REJECT the thieving bankers dumping debt on us. We need to fight back.

Organise. Prepare. Kick off. They’re coming for us. We must get after them. Sticking an ‘x’ in a box every four years just isn’t working any more.

COCK UP BRISTOL

COCK UP BRISTOL webThe BRISTOLIAN has been contacted by an angry reader who read about our European Green Crapital and the mysterious holes in its finances.

His family were contacted in 2014 by WARM UP BRISTOL, a green capital initiative to improve homes and cut energy bills. They promised to clad the external house walls of their home and gave a quote for the work. He tells us, “the quote was really good. We were going to get the house cladded and we were convinced that Bristol City Council would do it for us.”

He waited … and waited … and watched … as Bristol was awarded European Green Capital status … and lots of money. Then he realised that the company was going BUST and any money had been spunked up the wall on CORPORATE BACK SLAPPING and JOLLIES.

So far he has paid TWO deposits, had THREE surveys, spent hours on the phone and has sent HUNDREDS of emails while Warm Up Bristol try to ignore him. They are now REFUSING to do the work be claiming there are cracks all over the house and the internal walls are damp.

No shit Sherlock! He knew the house needed work on it but the council had promised to do it and put in an excellent quote. So he waited. Now his kids have got WATER RUNNING DOWN THE WALLS and the Council are telling them to fuck off.

But it’s not a complete disaster. The family got a letter from Warm Up Bristol recently, signed by his Red Trouseredness George Bleeding Ferguson. He THANKED the bemused family for being part of the Warm Up Bristol scheme and sent them a STICKER you could put on your bin and a stupid little Warm Up Bristol PLASTIC FLAG. What’s the family supposed to do with that? Stick it up Ferguson where the sun don’t shine?

Worse, someone, somewhere GOT PAID with Green Capital money and your council tax to sit in a room and decide that it would be a good idea to send stupid little plastic flags to people who have been ripped off. They then PAID to get them made and PAID to get them posted to poor, long-suffering families still waiting for work to be done. What a load of bollox.

The BRISTOLIAN has the contact details of this angry local. If you are experiencing similar shenanigans either phone or email us and he will get in contact. He has some good ideas on how to force them to do the work.

NO PARKING PLEASE IT’S HOUSING

No parkingWe hear a private meeting in February organised by Mayor Desperation to encourage the city’s LEADING RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS to take on social housing tenants didn’t quite go as our hapless mayor might have planned.

Our man close to the property business tells us, “George rolled in and delivered a confident, if brief, speech BEGGING LANDLORDS TO TAKE ON COUNCIL TENANTS, which was politely received.”

However, problems soon emerged when landlords started asking some fairly basic questions of George and, “it became apparent George was hopelessly unbriefed on the subject of housing, lettings and tenancy and COULDN’T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.”

Matters then took a turn for the worse when one landlord piped up, “Well, it might help if we could actually PARK outside the homes we’re trying to rent out.”

A red-faced and, now, visibly fuming mayor angrily shouted back “THIS IS NOT A MEETING ABOUT CAR PARKING“.

Bad move. The meeting broke up immediately in disarray as the majority of the attendees simply upped and headed for the exit to escape from the RUDE AND CLUELESS mayor.

It therefore looks HIGHLY UNLIKELY the private sector will be looking to take on any one from the council’s waiting list in the near future.

Another example of the excellent inter-personal skills and fine negotiation and persuasion talents by our charmless mayor there then.

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!