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.
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.
Just what is up with Unison South West Regional boss Joanne “Priti” Kaye, Bristol’s answer to Priti Patel ? Why does she seem to dedicate her life to wrecking trade unionism at Bristol City Council where lots of her members work under appalling pressure for little money and less thanks.
The Reverend’s PA, “Slo” Kev Slocombe – completing a predictable trade union bureaucrat journey from Militant Tendency to right wing cunt – now wants to cut trade union facility time at the council. A move that effectively destroys trade union representation at the council by ensuring there’s no full time professional union workers around to represent members to bosses.
“We’re cutting the head off the snake” is how Slo Kev likes to tell it in front of the crowd of simpering senior council officers he tries to impress at the Counts Louse with a ridiculous prolier than thou geezer act that trousers him over £90k a year.
Some of the many people unimpressed with Slo Kev’s right wing antics over the unions are members of Labour’s South Bristol Constituency Party. Some even approached the chair of the constituency party and demanded a debate on these blatant anti-union attacks disguised as cuts cooked up by Labour. Only to be refused by the party chair.
And who might this chair, backing Slo Kev to the hilt and not fighting for trade union rights at Bristol City Council, be? Please step forward,er, Unison’s Joanne Kaye.
Who needs bosses screwing you over when we’ve got trade unionists like Joanne and Slo Kev doing their job for them?.
“L’il” Tim O’Gara, the city council’s weak and woolly Monitoring Officer, is at it again.
Richly rewarded to be a tough and independent voice at the council, keeping the Mayor, councillors and staff in line and acting according to the council’s constitution and policies, “L’il” Tim has consistently failed at this. Instead he has carved out a reputation for doing whatever the mayor tells him, regardless of propriety or the law.
Among his many handiworks has been turning a blind eye to the Reverend’s lack of any apparent open sale or procurement process as our valuable land at Arena Island is handed over to pension fund L&G. They will develop the land at a considerable profit to themselves while lumbering us with a 40 year rental charge for an already obsolete office block they intend to build.
O’Gara was also behind hiding vital Bristol Energy documents, such as dodgy business plans and realistic accounts, from the councillors and the public. A dumb practice only helpful to the Reverend, keen to hide his fundamental incompetence, now condemned by the council’s auditors. “L’il” Tim’s work almost certainly helped the shambolic energy reseller run up a £43m debt for council taxpayers.
Now we learn “L’il” Tim has turned his attention to next week’s motion before the Full Council to have a referendum on whether we should continue to have a mayor. And “L’il” Tim has helpfully allowed the Reverend to table an amendment to the Lib Dem’s motion stating that the alternative to the Mayor should be a leader and Cabinet system not the committee system requested by the Lib Dems.
This is odd because last year, when the Lib Dems put in a similar motion, proposing a leader and cabinet system, the Greens tabled an amendment to change it to a committee system. Only for O’Gara to pop up and dismiss the Greens stating it was a “wrecking amendment”. So what’s changed now? Apart from it’s the Reverend (who O’Gara’s shit scared of) tabling this latest and similar amendment?
Why is some weak and useless tosspot of a Monitoring Officer allowed to be entirely partisan and fuck about with our city’s democracy like this? With his limited legal skills, mental weakness and poor character, might “L’il” Tim be better suited to provincial house conveyancing practice rather than to the political cut and thrust of a core city local authority where the bullies and thugs tend to congregate at the top?
“L’il!” Tim is a wimp and a coward and he now really needs to fuck off before he does any more damage to our city.
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