Labour councillors’ new object of fury is cycling campaigners. Some of them had the cheek to attend a Bristol City Council Full Council meeting and present a petition, that attracted almost 3,900 signatures, demanding the city have a proper cycling strategy.
During the ensuing debate most councillors seemed to agree that making cycling safer in the city by publishing a new Bristol Cycling Delivery Plan might be a good idea.
But this didn’t stop Labour Cabinet member Nicola “La La” Beech, having a pop at the campaigners when they left the Council Chamber after the debate.
The embittered councillor later Tweeted, “We support the need for continually improving cycle infrastructure BUT I am appalled at those @BristolCycling campaigners who couldn’t even wait until the break to leave and walked out on the important words from Alun Davies MBE on the work of Disability Equality Commission.”
The outburst came despite the Fancy Dress Mayor especially making time for campaigners to leave the council chamber before the disability item began.
Meanwhile, there was no Labour fury over the Mayor’s assistant, “Slo” Kevin Slocombe, who was filmed pulling a face when the agenda item on disability was announced. He then walked out before the cycling campaigners did!
Does Labour have different rules for mayoral bag carriers?
Plans to turn the ‘tramway’ – a section of the old North Somerset Railway Line in Brislington – into a PR-friendly hipster heaven Greenway for cyclists and snooty businesses running out of shipping containers have gone off the, er, rails.
Trendy property-less firm, Meanwhile Creative, got planning permission back in March from the council for the temporary greenway on land long earmarked for the Callington Link, on the route of the proposed A4 Bath Road relief road, by promising their greenway was “ready-to-go”.
Or perhaps not. Over six months down the line and Meanwhile Creative are now wheeling out that all-purpose excuse “the cost of living crisis” and claiming it’s unlikely to go ahead. Informed opinion, however, says this is because neither the applicants nor the council owned the land and the people who did wanted £250k for it.
None of this is surprising to some Brislington locals who have dubbed the efforts of Lib Dem Councillors Andrew “Reg” Varney and Jos “Peculiar” Clarke and Labour councillor Tim “The Ripper” Rippington along with Bike Bristol and the Meanwhiles as “an embarrassing failure”.
Lookout for that lovely link road coming to quiet green space in Brislington soon!
Another petulant outburst from our man-child Reverend mayor in the papers. He’s now got his knickers in a twist because opposition councillors aren’t attending his cabinet to watch him rubberstamp decisions he made earlier behind closed doors.
Seems councillors aren’t much interested in asking him questions at these meetings so that Rees can direct one of his bitchy little monologues at them that they’re not allowed to respond to.
It’s a shame the Reverend doesn’t take such a keen interest in Labour attendance at meetings. In three weeks in late September/early October there were four scrutiny meetings and one audit meeting and 18 places available to Labour.
They only filled five of them and, of those five, only two of them participated and spoke!
The current Labour record holder for not bothering to show up is the lazy bastards’ lazy bastard, Hartcliffe councillor Paul Goggin. He’s attended 33% of the meetings he’s been expected at. These are meetings like planning and licensing where he might have some input rather than a cabinet meeting where there’s no role for ordinary councillors.
But it’s not all bad news for Goggin. As it seems that this lucky council tenant has been gifted a brand new fence. Although no one quite knows how that works as it’s not council policy to provide tenants with new fencing.
Is it some sort of special award for being fucking lazy?
ANYONE FOUND A LOST LIB DEM
Has anyone seen the Lib Dem councillor for Hotwells and Harbourside, Alex “The Disappeared” Hartley? Residents say he doesn’t bother responding to emails and he hasn’t been near a council meeting for months? Has he died?
The councillor has quite an inbox too as the Reverend’s proposed plan to turn Cumberland Basin into a corporate high-rise hell is high on the agenda as are various other smaller developments that may involve height.
If anyone finds him, please return him to Hotwells and Harbourside pronto.
LABOUR LAWRENCE HELL
No article on councillor attendance would be complete without a mention of that legendary serial absentee, Labour’s Lawrence Hill councillor Hibaq “To Basics” Jama. Hardly ever at the Counts Louse, she’s reputed to spend a lot of time out of the country.
Ms Jama managed an attendance at council meetings of just 30 per cent for the first six months of this year and was nowhere to be seen afer the recent fire in her ward at council owned Twinnell House.
A fire that left one dead and eight hospitalised. Instead of visiting, Jama announced to residents that they could contact her by email if they needed to.
Was Jama out of the country? The Reverend definitely was. Hanging around at various obscure Bloomberg and Rockefeller meetings in the Big Apple, he finally managed to fit in a difficult visit to Twinnell residents five days after the fire.
Labour Cabinet housing boss, Tom “Plasticine Man” Renhard, meanwhile, was at the Labour conference on the morning after the fire from where he did manage to tweet his sympathies to the victims. He then happily spent the rest of the day tweeting and retweeting about various dull career-building conference events he attended.
‘Enough is Enough’, the left wing campaign trying to get gullible socialists, tankies and bitter Corbynites to vote for Starmer’s right wing authoritarian Labour Party next year, brought their bandwagon to Bristol on October 1.
Inexplicably, this self-styled ‘working class campaign’ held their rally at the overtly middle class St George Hall in leafiest west Bristol. “A venue,” we’re told, “a lot of the audience didn’t seem unfamiliar with.”
Local speakers included Acorn Union Ltd boss Nick Ballard and posho Green Party UK leader Carla Denyer. (Because it’s not a proper socialist meeting without a posh twit on the platform talking bollocks is it?) Both speakers talked a lot about “action and not just words” as the working classes face household economic meltdown this winter.
But the only action on offer seemed to be an opportunity to join the speakers’ respective organisations and listen to more “action and not just words” speeches on repeat from self-selected working class leaders with little idea what to do.
Our man on the spot says there were no concrete proposals from this meeting and “no rank and file worker spoke and no discussion was allowed. It felt very top down.”
About as effective as a Brahms recital then. The normal offering at St Georges.
Some tittle-tattle about the Labour Party and the mayoral referendum: a little birdy tells us Bristol Labour never passed a motion through their internal processes about any of it. Therefore the membership never confirmed that they supported having mayor in Bristol.
Instead, it seems,Labour councillors and members were instructed by the Reverend and his team to support a mayor for Bristol in a referendum all about, er, democracy and whether one person in the city making all the decisions was a good idea?
This may explain why few Labour members bothered to campaign and the Reverend suffered a crushing defeat.
Isn’t this also something a decent local journalist might have bothered to ask some questions about during the campaign?
A crap win, by just 52 votes over the Greens, by Labour’s self-styled working class hero Kye “The” Dudd at the Southmead by-election had The Dudd’s team reaching for their copies of The Labour Party Book of Crap Excuses. Divide and misrule was the excuse of choice.
‘Gentrification’ was to blame, announced local Labour mastermind ‘Slo’ Kev Slocombe. Pesky unidentified incomers and the damned middle classes of, er, Southmead voting Green instead of Labour like proper working class people do were to blame.
Labour also claimed that their core vote on Southmead’s long-neglected council estate had held firm. So firm that less than 9 per cent of people living in a solid Labour ward based around a council estate voted for them. The former Labour heartland now enters ultra-marginal territory with the Green Party likely to seize the ward at the next election in 2024.
Is it time for the Rees administration to stop lecturing us about how working class they are and, maybe, start actually spending some bloody money on working class voters in the suburbs? Rather than pouring all the city’s cash into corporate coffers to fund big projects in the centre, attractive and convenient for the city’s real gentrifiers. The wealthy white professionals who dominate the inner city and the management of our local institutions.
Has The Dudd got the message that Rees and his corporate gentrification agenda need a hard kick up the arse?
A heroic reader has suffered Guardian columnist, Owen “Luvvie” Jones’s latest book, ‘This Land: The Story of a Movement‘ so we don’t have to. The book is “a compelling, page-turning journey through a tumultuous decade in British politics” according to the, er, Guardian, and describes the rise and fall of the Corbyn movement in the Labour Party.
Our reader says the book is “overwhelmingly worthy and dull” but a small remark catches the eye.
“Corbyn’s then head of media, Kevin Slocombe, did not respond to requests from the newspapers for comment, and the matter seemed to end there. But the Mear One controversy resurfaced over two years later.”
A rare reference to the Reverend’s PA “Slo” Kev Slocombe who worked for Corbyn during his first year as Labour leader. And, surely, it’s no news to local journalists to find Slo Kev ignoring difficult questions about his boss from the media? On this occasion Slo Kev ignored the Jewish Chronicle from November 2015 when they asked ‘Did Jeremy Corbyn back artist whose mural was condemned as anti-semitic’
The mural, Freedom for Humanity, was painted near Brick Lane in London in 2012 by graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One. Some claimed imagery in the painting was anti-semitic and Corbyn waded in, commenting on Facebook, “you are in good company. Rockerfeller destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”
The comment sparked questions from the Jewish Chronicle, which Slo Kev strategically ignored. But the issue of anti-semitism never went away for Corbyn and ended up wrecking his leadership when the press started digging at loose ends after the general election in 2017.
A question arises: could Corbyn’s career have been saved if his media operator had nipped accusations of anti-semitism in the bud in 2015?
Rather than performing his usual trick of ignoring tricky allegations and hoping they go away?
An otherwise dull by-election in Southmead, following the resignation of the Reverend’s cabinet member Helen “Oh My” Godwin to become an, er, consultant at dodgy big four accountants KPMG, was brightened up by the epic stupidity of Labour candidate Kye “The” Dudd.
Halfway through the campaign The Dudd, who lost his Central Ward seat last year to the Greens, took it upon himself to get himself photographed in the middle of Southmead’s Doncaster Road Park along with his gormless Labour colleagues Brenda Massey and Tom “Plasticene Man” Renhard. Together, they announced, they were “saving the park from development” by Bristol City Council.
All well and good, except, legally, the park is already “saved” from development like every other park in the city by virtue of it being designated important open space in the Local Plan.
Protection that Renhard’s loopey housing development droids programmed to build have zero authority to overturn without an expensive court battle they would almost certainly lose.
Therefore the only thing that The Dudd has “saved” is an enormous sum in legal costs had he supported such a daft idea.
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!
The £20m of cuts announced by the Reverend Rees for next year mainly seem to confirm that he has now gone totally insane. Among the highlights we’ve spotted so far:
An inexplicable £4m cut to the Adult Care budget will appear if HomeChoice prioritise people with adult social care needs on the housing register.
A proposal from a Labour administration to cut trade union facility time by 75 per cent. That means union reps will have no time to represent staff directly affected by cuts from a Labour administration.
Lots more cuts are proposed by HRH Helen of Holland overseeing Adult Care. This is despite her failure to deliver £4m of the £6m cuts she proposed last year.
Transport guru, “Tweedle” Don Alexander, will attempt to increase council revenue by about £2.5m from Residents Parking Zones (RPZ) and car parking. Tweedle Don has lost about £5.4m in income from these so far this year.
Asher “The Slasher” Craig proposes charging a fee to parents who are contacted by her Education Welfare Service about their child’s school attendance. Will she discover parents are suddenly uncontactable?
Finance kingpin, Craig Cheney, officially the stupidest man in Bristol, is opening a rooftop bar at the M Shed to make £85k a year.
Asher the Slasher is supporting young people by slashing youth services budgets by £400k.
Government money for Public Health will be spent on wages for the Reverend’s evangelical pals in his City Office instead. He will also pass a begging bowl around ‘external partners’ to see if they’re up for funding an office full of evangelical loonies at the Counts Louse.
Cabinet Pied Piper Nicola “La La” Beech is to deliver pest control in “different ways”.
We’ll let you know as we find more of these inanities over the coming months.