Tag Archives: Green Party

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 PRINCESS AND THE POLLSTERS

Princess

With Clifton Down councillor Carla “The Green Princess” Denyer elected co-leader of the Green Party last year, her recent reselection as candidate for the Greens’ number one target seat, leafy Bristol West, was pretty much a procession. Even though The Princess got well and truly stuffed at the 2019 election by Labour’s  “Thingy”  Thangam Debonnaire.

After a vigorous campaign full of crazed Green promises that they could win the seat, the Princess was rejected by voters and trailed in nowhere near power, almost 39,000 votes behind Labour. She even managed to get a smaller share of the vote than hapless carpetbagger Darren “Tamanay” Hall got for the Greens in 2015.

In response to these ongoing electoral disasters, the Princess and the Greens, who remain convinced she’s a great candidate even if the public don’t, have hatched a cunning plan. Starting their campaigning early, it appears they are throwing money at dodgy pollsters Survation, to convince people that they are popular.

A reader in Bristol West says they received a call from Survation recently and they were asked a series of “ridiculous questions”. “It was obvious,” they say, “by the way the questions were structured that Survation were desperate for me to say I would vote Green. I refused and eventually had to decline to continue with the poll.”

Well, that’s one way to convince a dubious press and public you’re going to win an election. Pay a polling company to tell people they’re going to vote Green even if they’re not and then announce you’re going to win again.

We predict crushing defeat as in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

CIL-LY GAMES

CIL

To that most boring of events, the council’s annual budget meeting. Where 70 councillors argue for hours over a few million quid of a £400m budget that gets passed largely unscrutinised.

Last year, the Green’s longwinded Redland Councillor Martin “Yoda” Fodor – “Ramble for hours at a tangent, I can” – spotted that there was £12.5m of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding from corporate developers sat there doing nothing.

So he popped in an amendment suggesting that the money be spent on improving parks and the city’s national laughing-stock public transport system. This was voted down by Labour who claimed the money was earmarked for projects such as: City Centre/Castle Park, Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway, Green Infrastructure (inc tree planting & biodiversity improvements), City Region Sustainable Transport Strategy and Avon Flood Strategy.

At this year’s budget Yoda reappeared, he did, and popped in another amendment asking for £1m for parks and liveable neighbourhoods after he discovered there was £12.1m of CIL still sat there doing nothing. 

And Labour’s response? “The money’s earmarked for projects such as  City Centre/Castle Park, Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway,blah, blah, blah.”

Yoda’s amendment got through this time but then the Reverend’s took five days “to think about it” and then rejected it!

What a joke.

RANTING REES’S MISFIRING TOILET ATTACK

To Tuesday’s Bristol City Council budget meeting where the Reverend Rees was especially on edge after councillors voted to cut the budget to his well-staffed office – run by a PA on £95k a year – and use the funds to open some public toilets.

Here’s what Rees had to say to Green Councillor Jenny “Spend-a-Penny” Bartle who tabled this popular amendment to the Reverend’s budget:

Just the couple of issues with this latest unhinged outburst from the Reverend:

Firstly, the Reverend seems to have unilaterally changed the job description of Bristol City Councillors. Their roles are described by the Local Government Association (LGA), who the Reverend earns £17k a year from chairing their City Regions Board, here.

Where does it say our councillors should traipse the streets doing the work of the Reverend’s council officers for them? What does he think the council have staff for? Just to serve him and his business cronies tea and mini pastries and answer his emails?

We’re also reliably informed that there’s been no information or briefing on the community toilet scheme to councillors in the last year, So any new councillor wouldn’t have been given the materials, resources or information to recruit new businesses to the Reverend’s Community Toilet Scheme. They don’t even have a lists of who’s signed up at the moment!

Are council officers so busy running the Mayor’s Office there’s no time for the Reverend and his officers to provide information to councillors about the projects the council would like to promote?

The Reverend owes councillors an apology. Bet they don’t get one.

‘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.

COP26 CLIMATE MARCH: GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES?

ClimateMarchjfifjpgest

Yesterday saw another poorly attended march around Broadmead as part of a “global day of action for climate justice.”

The usual liberal suspects bearing ‘witty’ homemade placards were joined by unions, the Labour Party and the Green Party, all touting a version of “the Green New Deal”. Where large sums of commercially confidential public money will be handed over to struggling corporations with no questions allowed to provide profitable market solutions to the climate crisis.

Under the ubiquitous straplines “net zero” and “just transition”, some of the most unjust organisations and institutions on the planet – that created climate change in the first place – are now going to solve it for us (for a fee)!

The BRISTOLIAN’s position on this hasn’t altered on this since 2014 when there was also a “a global day of climate change action” during a UN conference in New York City to organise a climate conference. We said then:

Any response to climate change requires a new mass social movement and the dismantling of existing elites and their interests, not some crude rearrangement betweeen these elites (who have already trashed the planet) backed up with a novelty global PR campaign aimed at GUILT TRIPPING US.

If we want to protect humanity from climate change, we have to TAKE CONTROL of business and industry ourselves, not leave it to profit-hungry corporations or a bunch of rich hippy clowns. We don’t want a nicer shinier ‘green capitalism’, we want to DESTROY it, their class system and protect our future in one shot. You know it makes sense 

DEFLATING MAYORAL EGO LIVE!

A seemingly harmless question from posh Green councillor Carla “The Green Princess” Denyer at Tuesday’s council meeting got the Reverend Rees in a bit of an emotional state.

The painfully liberal member for the Royal Borough of Clifton East asked the Reverend a seemingly harmless question. Was it reasonable to refuse to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, a Private Members Bill currently going through Parliament, just because it was likely to fail without Tory support?

Back came a rambling response from a visibly emotional mayor: “I just anticipated this. When I see your name, my heart often sinks because it’s just the usual, kind of, you know, chess game trying to get a tweet or a blog out of the answer that feeds that line that, you know, Labour Party don’t care about the planet.”

This is despite the dull Green Princess not running a blog (unlike the Reverend) and running the most boring Twitter account imaginable! Could the Reverend’s response have anything to do with Ms Denyer’s efforts at present to become leader of the national Green party and the amount of press and attention she’s receiving locally and nationally? Press coverage that currently eclipses the thin-skinned jealous Reverend’s by a considerable amount?

It was obvious to many on Tuesday that our emotionally insecure mayor needed to constantly underline his own importance. He spent most of the meeting basically saying “Look at me. I’m a very important person” and boasting about the national and international corporate non-entities-in-suits he has been meeting with lately.

At one point he even told councillors that they lacked the integrity of the people he had had a highly important Zoom meeting with just that morning. Those people being merchant bankers and financiers. A profession popularly regarded for having, er, zero integrity.

Take cover! The Reverend’s fragile ego has crash landed in the dodgy international finance sector!

THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HALF CABINET: A REVEREND REES ADVENTURE

Famous Five (2)

Eighteen days after his election and the Reverend Rees still hasn’t managed to find a full cabinet for his second term.

Despite reappointing his ‘Infamous Five’, the two deputy mayors – Craig “Dick” Cheney and Asher “The Slasher” Craig – his anointed successor – Helen “Oh My” Godwin – court favourite – Nicola “La La” Beech – and aging makeweight – HRH Helen of Holland – Rees still has no cabinet members to run Transport, Housing or Education.

Neither is the Reverend intending, it seems, to reach out to the Greens by giving them some cabinet seats after they decimated his councillors and destroyed his majority at the election.

What is his plan then? Is the Reverend going to end all pretence of democracy in Bristol and simply let council managers and appointed One City business wankers run these departments any way they see fit? 

Questions are also being asked about the appointment of La La Beech to the Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy brief. Here, among other things, she’ll nursemaid through Rees’s deranged City Leap public asset sell-off to a multinational company. This may result in the burning of as much shit as possible in Avonmouth to generate loads of lucrative dirty (surely clean? Ed.) energy.

Alas, it turns out that La La Beech, in her day job as a corporate PR consultant, lists one of her clients as the National Grid. is there a conflict of interest here at all?

We think we should be told.

POLITICOS SILENT ON FAMILY EVICTIONS

From ‘Human Being’ in the comments

Yesterday saw the planned eviction of a travellers site on Glenfrome Road, Eastville. When I say planned I mean in so much as police, bailiffs and a crane were organised to remove people and vans from land that West & Wales Utilities say they want to use.

So what provisions where planned for these people, including children? Councillors for Eastville, Labour’s Marley Bennett and the Green’s Lorraine Francis*, both failed to do anything or say anything. Well then Green Party leader Paula O’Rouke? Nothing.

So then surely Helen Godwin must have stuck up for families, homes and children? She must have had a plan in place to ensure provision for these vulnerable people now homeless on a wet and windy day. Nothing. No alternative site lined up. No hot meals ready for those evicted forcibly. No care from this Labour Party politician. Not present at the scene, nothing. Not a word.

What from the mayor who’s well versed in issues concerning oppressed minorities and equality?

HE WENT TO THE PRESS TO TELL THEM ELECTRIC SCOOTERS ARE TO STAY!

* We have been informed that the site is actually in the Lockleaze Ward and the councillors are the Green Party’s Heather Mack and David Wilcox

MANIFESTO WATCH: ‘CLIMATE EMERGENCY’ REQUIRES PUBLIC ASSET FIRE SALE ANNOUNCE GREENS

Green manifesto

The first of the manifestoes for the mayoral elections crashes on to the internet. It’s from the Green Party’s “Squire” Sandy Hore-Ruthven “Bufton-Tufton” who marked this auspicious occasion by standing on a street in Broadmead yesterday and reading out a poorly drafted script from an iPad.

His manifesto gets underway by claiming, “Sandy’s not a politician”! Something only a politician would need to say, before proceeding to unload the not-so-great man’s not-so-great plans for Bristol.

Bufton-Tufton’s effort is actually highly reminiscent of The Reverend Rees’s manifesto of 2016. Back then we said of Rees’s slightly deranged effort: 

The Labour manifesto consists of around 180  COMMITMENTS. These roughly break down to 78 UNCOSTED  PROMISES ranging from an arena – a snip at around £150m – to “Promoting the role of Bristol Credit Union as an ethical means of accessing financial services” – at a cost of, I dunno (and neither does he, Ed), £150k? So fuck knows how much this little lot would cost us in its entirety.

Our research team haven’t managed quite the same level of detail as they managed back in 2016 mainly because they lost the will to live halfway through that project. However, they assure us that Squire Bufton-Tufton has managed to come up with over 50 uncosted promises himself.

These range from some promises that appear at first sight to be costed: “Halve the price of bus fares for under-21s” and “Invest £600,000 in information, advice and guidance for young people this year”. To vague big-ticket items notable for a high risk and the lack of any multi-million price tag: “support the development of local and regional banking”; “address flooding risks”.

A large majority of Bufton-Tufton’s promises, however, are considerably more small scale: “Celebrate our local high streets with events and festivals led by our creative and arts organisations”; “revitalise South Bristol’s industrial estates”; “create a repair and reuse industry in the city”; “continue installing electric vehicle charging points”; “maintain bus shelters and install universal real-time information”; “invest in specific services for marginalised groups”; “introduce seamless ticketing across the West of England region”; “improve support for families and young people seeking asylum”; “protect and provide more allotments”; “introduce free bulky-waste collection on doorsteps”; “write a Mental Health Charter for Bristol”; “set up a register of ‘meanwhile’ temporary spaces available to help arts and cultural organisations”.

The list of shit Bufton-Tufton intends to deliver just goes on and on and on … Just like Rees’s 2016 manifesto. The detailed promises from which remain robustly undelivered five years later. Is history repeating?

What super-experienced expert Chief Executive Bufton-Tufton appears to fail to understand is that every promise he makes requires a substantial resource to deliver. Unless he thinks that the Council House is full of council officers hanging around doing nothing while sitting on a large pot of unspent money marked ‘vanity projects for incoming mayor’?

Let’s take just one example – “set up a register of ‘meanwhile’ temporary spaces available to help arts and cultural organisations”. This has actually been tried before and does not come for free. You need to identify the properties, set up a register; run a register; run an application process; complete due diligence; run an allocation process; survey the building to ensure they’re safe for public use; monitor the spaces; act as a good landlord; this list goes on. 

A highly conservative estimate of the cost over Sandy’s three years in office to run “a register of ‘meanwhile’ temporary spaces” would be £300k if you managed to do it with a couple of staff working their arses off unmanaged with few resources. Multiply that figure by 50 to cover Bufton-Tufton’s various promises and you have a spending commitments averaging, at least, £15m. Although the cost of say, “seamless ticketing across the West of England region” would probably cost more than £15m on its own.

This from a council that can’t afford lollipop ladies, public toilets, SEND provision and has had to outsource their own low paid jobs to their private companies to save a few quid.

So much for the undeliverable small stuff designed to attract the foolish voter who likes ‘a good idea’ and believes anything they’re told. But what of the headline items? The ones that tell us what Bufton-Tufton is really all about and where the money’s really going?

Bufton-Tufton’s big announcement is on housing. He promises to “build 2,000 new council homes by 2030 and “insulate every council house in Bristol by 2030, reducing carbon emissions and fuel bills by 40%”. There’s some debate as to whether the funding exists to both build the houses and retrofit the existing stock, which may be why Bufton-Tufton has downgraded to a cheaper option of insulating homes rather than the a full retofit extravanganza of heat pumps, solar panels etc. Let’s just hope he’s got his sums right on this or his legacy may be a bankrupt Housing Revenue Account for the city.

2,000 council homes is also a fairly small promise if you consider we’re losing homes at a rate of about 150 a year through Right to Buy. He’s actually promising just 500 homes to tackle a council house waiting list of 12,000 and a projected population increase of around 70,000, which makes you wonder why anyone would expend so much political capital on so little? Maybe it’s all about having a big swinging dick my-numbers-are-bigger-your-numbers game with the Reverend Rees during the election?

Also on housing, having explained we have a ‘housing crisis’, Bufton-Tufton proposes, to “charge a carbon levy of £75 per tonne of emitted carbon in all new domestic and commercial developments, to generate income to offset carbon emissions from new developments.”

We’re reliably informed this could cost somewhere between £3k – £5k on a new three bed house. Yes, in the middle of a housing affordability crisis, the Greens are proposing to put house prices up! Who thinks this shit up?

Another big issue is the Reverend’s proposed corporate redevelopment of the Cumberland Basin, which involves renaming the area ‘Western Harbour’ and moving the Brunel Way flyover and existing road into Hotwells to free up land with views of the Suspension Bridge so that corporate developers can cash in while trashing Ashton Park. 

Bufton-Tufton has very little to say about this. The man who’s assured interviewers he can take “tough decisions” weakly proclaims he will, “reappraise the Western Harbour development, consulting with residents and businesses first.”

Quite how yet another bloody consultation on a corporate road building scheme – few people outside the business community want – squares with his promise elsewhere in his manifesto to “oppose plans for major road building” isn’t explained. Although the absence of a simple “tough decision” contrary to multinational corporate interests screams out at you.

Of another harebrained council corporate scheme, designed to hand huge amounts of our public assets to the private sector with poor oversight and little discussion or useful scrutiny, Bufton-Tufton comfortably adopts one the council’s many examples of dubious Reespeak. Cheerily repeating news of the “£1 billion City Leap programme,” Bufton-Tufton promises, “We will accelerate the City Leap project and increase investment beyond the £1 billion currently committed.”

His explanation for this dodgy public asset firesale and corporate sell-out helpfully reveals Bufton-Tufton’s true ideological colours, “the climate emergency dictates that speed is more essential than public ownership,” he says.

There you have it. The Bristol Green Party in a nutshell. We must urgently give our public assets away as quickly as possible to corporations because “climate emergency”. Public ownership is now an unaffordable luxury according to the Green Party in Bristol

Anyone telling you this right wing, free market, corporate crap is in any way ‘left wing’ is a liar. We suggest you (don’t) vote accordingly.