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.
News that the government is handing WECA over £500m to give to First Bus (surely to “transform regional transport infrastrucure”? Ed) has got our brand new Metro Mayor Dan “The Weca Man” Norris hyperventilating with joy.
However a closer look at the plans reveals most of this money will be going into so-called “transport corridors” to develop more bloody Metrobus routes. The Metrobus having been conveniently redesignated from public laughing stock to “a step change in public transport” by the WECA Man’s optimistic transport bods.
An even closer look reveals the majority of the money may well be splurged on just one route – ‘The Bristol – Bath A4 Corridor’ in the jargon. Does this mean that on-off plans to build the Callington Road Link that would take cars off the A4 Bath Road and along the route of the disused North Somerset Railway line between Sandy Park and Callington Road are back on?
This a road scheme that the Reverend and his Labour councillors, taking time off from pretending that Brislington Meadows won’t have housing built on it by Homes England, deny is happening and have described it to locals as “a Lib Dem conspiracy theory”!
Not a theory at all, however, according to WECA’s Public Transport Manager Phil Wright who confirmed on Twitter in the autumn that the road plan is very much under consideration again.
Is there a WECA conspiracy against Marvin’s Bristol Labour?
“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.
I have heard from a very trusted source that the great anti-vaccination activist, Youtube VLogger and Bristol resident Dr. Jon Rogers, of Windsor Road, was admitted to Bristol hospital ICU on 2 occasions in the past month to receive oxygen as he and his wife had contracted Covid.
Fancy finding the Reverend Rees in the latest ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column of Private Eye. The natural home of the bent provincial politician.
It seems this brief article refers to Lib Dem councillor Tim “Small Asshat” Kent who asked the Reverend at a recent Cabinet meeting how many followers he had blocked from his ‘Official’ Twitter account run by council officers?
None of your business came the official reply. It’s a private account, explained the Reverend, and he could choose what he did with it, including “blocking individuals who are abusive or deliberately spread misinformation”.
He then proceeded to block Kent on Twitter describing him as a “pit of negativity” at a press conference the next day.
None of which explains why the Reverend is spending £3k a month of public money having his private Twitter account monitored by Impact Social, a dubious internet monitoring firm based above a used car dealers in south London, while blocking any resident he feels like.
People gathered at College Green last week to protest a part of the ‘Police Crackdown Bill’ that targets the Gypsy, Traveller, and Roma community. The bill gives the Police new powers to fine and imprison people, simply for residing in a vehicle at the side of the road. It also gives Police the power to confiscate the homes of people they ‘suspect’ will commit trespass at some point in the future. The bill effectively bans and criminalises anyone who lives nomadically – whether through culture, choice, or necessity.
The protest began peacefully with people sat on the grass around tents and placards. The atmosphere was relaxed and calm as speeches were made, people danced, and others laid flowers and lit candles for Sarah Everard at the memorial to her. From here, ‘Chloe’ takes up the story. This is her full statement:
My name is Chloe. I was at the ‘Kill the Bill’ peaceful protest on College Green last Tuesday. My grandad was part of the Traveller community. I wanted to go along to show my support for the Gypsy, Traveller, and Roma communities threatened by the bill. I also wanted to take flowers to the Sarah Everard memorial. I have been working so much lately, I haven’t had the chance to go. I went with my friend Sophie. We are both shop workers from Knowle, Bristol. I am 25, Sophie is 22.
We placed our flowers and stood there reading the messages. Although it was sad, I felt so moved by the memorial and all the flowers and messages people had left there.
We had been there for about 20 minutes when a gang of riot Police ran up to us from behind. They started smashing up the memorial. They were kicking and stomping on the flowers and teddy bears. They were so angry. It looked like they were trying to make a point.
My friend Sophie took a step towards them and said: ‘Please don’t… this is a memorial for Sarah Everard’. The Police Officer said: ‘F*ck Sarah Everard’, and hit her over the head with his baton. The force knocked her off her feet, and her head hit the ground with a thud. As she was laying on the ground, he kicked her in the stomach. I started screaming and a second Police Officer hit me in the face with his riot shield and I fell to the ground. Blood was pouring from my nose.
I couldn’t see Sophie at this point, there were too many legs in the way. I struggled to get to my feet. The last thing I saw was Sophie being dragged off by her hair – completely unresponsive.
I was hysterical and crying at this point. Everything seemed a blur. I eventually found Sophie and she was conscious, but very confused about where we were and what we were doing there.
The next day, we phoned the Police to report what happened. The Officer told us we were lying, and said: ”You’re lucky we’re not arresting you for criminal damage”.
My view of the Police has completely changed. They acted like terrorists. The Officers should be punished for what they did to us, but I don’t think they will”. [Statement Ends]
We showed this statement to Bristol Mayor – Marvin Rees. He has refused to condemn the violence meted out to Chloe and Sophie, and said in a statement: ‘Police in Bristol have shown they are capable of managing protests well and with sensitivity’.
We also sent Chloe’s statement to all four Labour MP’s in Bristol; Kerry McCarthy, Thangam Debbonaire, Karin Smyth, and Darren Jones. Each one refused to criticise or condemn the actions of the Police. Not one of them offered any kind of sympathy or regret at the way Chloe and Sophie were treated.
An unelected, unaccountable group of corporate chancers calling themselves the ‘Bristol City Leaders group’ have heaped praise on the Police saying: ‘We have complete confidence in the way Police have acted’. Despite many not actually living in Bristol, they have taken it upon themselves to speak for all of Bristol, as they proclaim: ‘The protestors are nothing but thugs who demean us all’.
We showed Chloe’s statement to five members of the shady ‘Bristol City Leaders group’, who some say is just a rebrand of the Merchant Venturers. These include: Ben Lowndes (Social – Communications Consultancy), Oona Goldsworthy (Brunel Care), Professor Steve West (Vice Chancellor – UWE), the Bishop of Bristol – Vivienne Faull, and Andy Forbes (Principal of City of Bristol College). We asked if they would consider retracting and disowning the group statement. They all declined. They also refused to add their names to growing calls for an independent inquiry.
Bristol City Council’s ‘Women’s Commission’ recently led a campaign called ‘Bristol, a zero-tolerance city’ which encouraged bystanders to ‘report violence against women, and raise awareness of gender-based violence through staff training’. We showed Chloe’s statement to several members including Vice-Chair Anna Smith, who is also CEO of women’s charity ‘One25’. Shockingly, Anna Smith declined to condemn the Police, and refused to include ‘One25’ in a list of organisations calling for an independent inquiry.
We showed Chloe’s statement to a serving Police officer in the Avon & Somerset Police. This is his reply:
”I can honestly say, in over 30 years service I have never witnessed such violence and brutality as this week. The total lack of professionalism and disregard for rules and procedure is astounding. Chloe’s statement is sickening to read. I am amazed she isn’t seriously injured. Their actions were deplorable. I watched the footage from that night. I saw a Police officer punch a woman in the face without any provocation. He was twice her size and strength. There is no justification in the way she was hit. Just mindless thuggery.
I watched the footage of a man taking repeated blows to the head. Even as he lay on the ground dazed, the officer continued to reign down blows of his riot shield. That is what would be classed as inappropriate use of the shield. He was out of control.
It sounds hard to believe right now, but there are some good people in the Police. Our job is extremely difficult at the best of times. We rely on the consent of the public. It’s not just a phrase, our job would be impossible without it. What makes me angry, is the fact that in the 80’s, the Police had a very toxic relationship with some parts, and some communities in this city. Since then we have worked bloody hard to repair that relationship and gain the trust and good will of those communities. Now it seems all that hard work has gone down the drain in the space of 7 days. I think there needs to be a proper inquiry, and Superintendent Mark Runacres needs to go.
The Police officers responsible for violent conduct should be sacked and prosecuted for assault. Some serving officers are a danger to the public. They should not have been recruited in the first place. Senior Police at the A&S are well aware of this”. [Reply ends]
Cleo Lake – Candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, led calls for an independent inquiry into Police conduct. Via social media she said: ”I advocate the need for an urgent meeting & dialogue between Police and protestors to find a way forward if possible, in addition to the independent inquiry into the latest Bristol Protest. We must absolutely condemn the level of unnecessary Police violence witnessed in our city. We must have policing by consent. To all those peaceful protesters battered, I’m sorry this has happened to you. It is not, and will never be ok”. A link to Cleo Lake and Sandy Hore-Ruthven’s official statement is below.
Bristol Lib Dems defended the right to peaceful protest, and called for an inquiry into how the policing was handled. Their statement reads: ”We have seen violence from a minority of protestors. However, the response by Police officers was disproportionate and excessive, which is also unacceptable”. This is an excerpt. Link to full statement below.
A group of 16 Labour council candidates published an open letter saying: ”We are deeply concerned about the videos circulating on social media which appear to show police using excessive force against protestors. Of particular concern are the reports of multiple journalists being intimidated and in some cases assaulted by the police. We condemn all violence. We absolutely condemn uses of excessive force. These incidents need to be fully, independently investigated and those responsible held to account”. This is an excerpt. Link to full statement below.
Bristol Women’s Voice have added their name to calls for an independent inquiry, saying in a statement: ”BWV are deeply concerned by the images of violence at the protests over the last week and horrified by the experiences of aggression we have heard about from women who have contacted us directly.
We condemn all violence – this is never the way – and we support the call for an independent inquiry into police behaviour”.
Discrimination and prejudice experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities has been called ‘the last acceptable form of racism’. Possibly the most sinister part of the ‘Police Crackdown Bill’ empowers the Police to confiscate GRT homes at the mere suspicion of future wrong doing. If GRT families are suddenly made homeless, the state has a legal obligation to remove their children and place them into care. People who remember ‘Dale Farm’ know it is not simply a case of buying some land and setting up camp. England has some of the strictest planning laws in the world. With GRT people unlikely to satisfy Local Authority criteria to get a Council house – they could be in for a long wait for housing and the return of their children.
Cleo Lake and Sandy Hore-Ruthven’s official statement:
THE REVEREND’S ATTEMPT TO OUTSOURCE VULNERABLE CLEANING AND SECURITY STAFF TO BRISTOL WASTE GOES NUCLEARDURING HR CONFLAB
The passing resemblance of last Thursday’s HR Committee Meeting of Bristol City Council to a Handsworth Parish Council Zoom session wasn’t just down to useful-idiot HR Director Mark “Bashar” Williams’ accidentally misinforming himself over whether or not he was still paying Colin “Head Boy” Molton the second highest local government salary in the country.
The meeting also had a special ‘Chair’s Business’ section dedicated to Director of Workforce John “Bedwetter” Walsh’s half-arsed plan to outsource his low paid council security and cleaning staff to Bristol Waste to save money.
It was this issue that had barking Tory nutjob Councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy telling Bedwetter that his description of the outsourcing proposal was “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich.”
The comment drew a weak Claude Rains impression from Bedwetter as he attempted to feign shock at being branded, on the public record, as a liar by a senior councillor. It’s also noteworthy that staunch right winger, Bunter managed to outflank the Reverend Rees on the left with his views on this outsourcing issue,
Bunter’s comments came partly in response to Bedwetter’s ludicrous claim that the staff he had formally consulted were entirely in favour of a move to Bristol Waste and Bedwetter didn’t recognise Bunter and the trade unions’ version of events.
Versions outlined in a series of public statements and comments to the meeting. Bunter said that the staff he had spoken with were “scared and mystified” and were “terrified of losing their job” if they spoke directly with councillors or made public statements, as is their right, at council meetings.
The GMB told the meeting “Not one member of BCC staff … has expressed a wish to move across” and “the vast majority, many of whom are long service, wish to stay with BCC”.
Unison’s Tom “The Red” Merchant got even more to the point. He told the meeting, “The affected staff are very angry indeed over this and we don’t see why we should be shielding anyone from what is an understandable disaffection on the part of our members”
Tom the Red was also bemused that Bedwetter had managed to consult with cleaning staff, many of whom did not speak English and require an interpreter for Unison to be able to speak with them. He summed up, “staff who face transfers feel like they are bought and sold like cattle and though this phrase really upsets HR it is how the staff feel and I don’t see why I should be shielding the organisation from this level of disappointment from so many staff.”
Who’s telling the truth then? Bedwetter or the unions and councillors? One way to find out could be to read Bedwetter’s formal “best practice in consultation” document. It’s published with cabinet papers about the outsourcing and is scheduled to be rubberstamped by the Reverend and his Labour Cabinet next week.
Bedwetter’s consultation report is just one page long and while it goes into some detail about the process Bedwetter used to consult staff (which didn’t include using interpreters), there’s no mention anywhere about what staff actually said about his proposed transfer.
It’s an odd omission for a consultation report to have no content. It also means Bedwetter is unable to provide a shred of evidence, despite having apparently canvassed their opinion in a month long formal process, to back his claim that staff he has subsequently tried to gag are in favour of his plan.
Who should we believe? Notorious Director of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, called out at the meeting as a liar and unable to produce written evidence from his own consultation for his self-serving claims, or councillors and elected trade union officials who directly represent the workers in question?
Chair of the meeting, limp Rees brown-noser and University of Bristol PhD perpetual student prat, John “Welly” Wellington, did manage to apologetically squeak at one point, “I don’t think you’re a liar John.”
Although the Labour Councillor for Windmill Hill, who’ll be quitting in May after a futile term of unquestioning loyalty to the Reverend’s right wing crap, didn’t offer any explanation as to why Bedwetter had attended his meeting and talked his typical brand of bollocks.
But let’s leave the last word to professional Lib Dem gobshite Councillor Gary “Hefty” Hopkins who told Welly’s HR meeting, “I don’t believe a word of what’s been presented to us by the management side.”
Is Bristol’s Labour Group at the council, led by the Reverend Rees, attempting to commit some weird form of RITUAL POLITICAL SUICIDE before the local elections next May? What other explanation is there for the STUPID DECISIONS and CRAZED OUTBURSTS emanating from the Reverend Mayor and his daft councillors?
The Reverend has already pissed off loads of communities throughout the city who are unlikely to vote for him or his party next year. These include WHITCHURCH where he’s proposed running a ring road through the community past a primary school; HOTWELLS, ASHTON and SOUTHVILLE where he wants to build his corporate high rise wet dream on their doorstep; STOKE BISHOP where he’s allowed their open space to be fenced off by Cotham School; TOTTERDOWN where his councillors voted through, contrary to the Local Plan, a hideous 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road; KNOWLE where he’s backed another tower block and WINDMILL HILL and BEDMINSTER where the Reverend’s been unable to get any grip on unruly private developers at Bedminster Green.
Then there’s the Reverend’s thicko cabinet sidekick, Kye “The” Dudd’s treatment of the FLY PROBLEM in Avonmouth. The Dudd has courted voters by variously accusing residents of planting dead flies to create a FAKE PROBLEM; blaming the flies on DOMESTIC WASTE left on St Andrews Road and, even, claiming there’s NO FLY PROBLEM and that fly levels in Avonmouth are the same as other areas of Bristol. A claim recently rubbished by the BBC who did their own tests for their ‘Inside Out West’ documentary slot.
Remarkably, things now seem to be TAKING A TURN FOR THE WORSE for Labour. At September’s Full Council, the Reverend, behaving like the last officer standing on a Pacific island as GIs storm the beach, raged about “SABOTAGE” by opposition councillors before burnishing his ANTI-UNION CREDENTIALS by refusing to allow his council to be involved in the Climate Strike on 20 September. The Reverend’s Labour colleague, Tom “Charming” Brooks, then PLUMBED FURTHER DEPTHS while responding to a petition from 3,979 voters calling for a moratorium on 5G rollout.
Rather than calmly quote scientific sources to rationally dispute the petitioners health claims, the Horfield councillor launched into a DEMENTED RANT instead. The petitioners were “naive people who had been taken in by MALICIOUS MISINFORMATION” and “conspiracy theorists fuelled by fake news and misinformation” and were “PEDDLING PSEUDO-SCIENCE using technical sounding words to confuse people”. However, Brooks dismally failed to cite ANY EVIDENCE to support his insults. Instead, he argued, he was right because he had “the ability to Google and was also as an engineer working in risk and safety”.
Lib Dem, Green and, even, Tory councillors were much CANNIER and CALMER towards this large group of potential voters. Explaining they accepted Public Health England’s view on 5G for now but agreed the health situation should be monitored as the technology was rolled out.
That’s another 4,000 votes down the pan for Labour next May then
less than a year in post and many at the Counts Louse are unhappy with the
Reverend’s new Head of Paid Service, MIKE
“I’M YOUR BITCH” JACKSON, the £165k a
year replacement for the highly costly and abysmally useless, Anna “Big
Indeed Lib Dem Anthony “Arthur” Negus is already demanding a “FUTURE DISCUSSION ON THE POST OF HEAD OF PAID SERVICE“. This comes after what Negus describes as the “politicising of replies to members’ questions at Full Council that cross the line.”
This is a reference to the Reverend Rees’s increasingly SAD AND BITCHY RESPONSES to any opposition councillor trying to hold him to account at their monthly q&a sessions. These catty political responses, it seems, are often PERSONALLY DRAFTED FOR THE REVEREND WITH GREAT PRIDE BY JACKSON who, despite being a neutral civil servant, appears to enjoy pleasuring the mayor in this way.
The big problem here is that unelected Jackson, having spent a year BITCHING AND SNIPING AT ELECTED COUNCILLORS opposing the Reverend, may find they will not want to work with him if they gain office next year.
Who could blame them? Meanwhile, Green councillor Clive “Shakin” Stevens has also been expressing his RESERVATIONS ABOUT JACKSON and especially the close relationship and strong male bond there appears to be between this objective and independent senior local government officer and the elected Mayor. “IT’S NOT POSSIBLE TO TRUST THIS ARRANGEMENT,” says Shaky darkly.
Shall we start organising Jackson’s leaving party for next May now as few are likely to be prepared to work with a former Mayor’s bitch? And why should they be?