We are happy to confirm as correct rumours circulating that the Colston corrective plaque created in 2018 was actually CAST and READY TO HANG. The finalised plaque, a work of censorship and fake history by the Merchant Venturers ‘historian’ Francis “The Overseer” Greenacre that was forced on the local historians and school children invited to create the wording on the plaque, was cast by Wards Signs of Barton Hill in 2019. However, it seems to have DISAPPEARED.
What’s happened to this intriguing and valuable historical artefact that casts the MERCHANT VENTURERS and their pro-Colston racist elite friends and supporters around the city in a less than favourable light? The answer lies with Myers-Insole Local Learning Community Interest Company who were generously FUNDED BY THE COUNCIL to manage the creation of the plaque. Alongside his wife, Peter ‘Arse’ Insole, the city’s Principal Historic Environment Officer, is a director of Myers Insole, which is a very cosy arrangement between a council officer and public money isn’t it?
So is Arsehole planning on keeping this valuable piece of public property and important historical artefact as part of his PENSION PLAN? If not, perhaps he could urgently hand over our significant historical artefact he has no business with to the city’s museum service? What a potentially great display item it would make sitting alongside the original wording for the plaque that the Venturers sabotaged.
And what a story it would tell about the city’s wealthy elitists in the early 21st Century.
Since Colston came off his pedestal and went for a swim on June 7th social media, TV and the press have been dominated by politicians, journalists and so-called ‘community spokespeople’ gushing with praise for the statue coming down.
The Mayor’s Office even banged on in a press statement that the Reverend Rees had an audience of 10 million around the world, from Bangladesh to Tokyo after Colston’s ‘burial at sea’. However, while seizing this new opportunity for pontificating, Rees conveniently failed to give a toss about the people who had put him on the world stage. That was the 17 or so demonstrators who had been identified under Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s orders to “get these people” – the statue topplers.
So as Rees was boring the masses in Bangladesh, Avon & Somerset Police were being forced to line up charges of criminal damage that could put the protestors away for up to 10 years. And what did Rees do? Intervene at the Council for the good of the city and agree not to press charges, allowing the cops to give two fingers to Patel? Like fuck he did … Far better to bathe in the glare of global publicity and forget about those who put him there.
Campaigners who have fought for many years for the Colston statue to be removed and to get a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery in the City have been astounded by the two-faced hypocrisy of these turncoats. Rees told Points West:
“When I first came in, myself and a number of black people in the creative sector said that the best thing to do is to keep that [Colston] debate away from me.”
So Mr Civil Rights’s major contribution to the struggle to get the Merchant Venturers pet slave trader off our streets and schools was not just to do nothing but to actively discourage others from getting involved.
When calls came to change the name of the Colston Hall in 2017 Rees was silent, refusing to make his position clear until he was caught like a rabbit in the headlights at the end of a TV programme. Martin Luther King, who Rees idolises, must be turning in his grave.
In 2019 after the Merchant Venturers had spent months sanitising the wording on a plaque for the statue that was meant to correct the history of Colston, Rees only intervened to avoid becoming a laughing stock. Finally using some of his executive power to block the Venturer’s sanitised plaque before heading to the hills faster than Dominic Cummings in a top of the range Land Rover, leaving the project in limbo for over a year.
Meanwhile Rees’s second in command Asher Craig’s hardly covered herself in glory in dealing with persistent calls by campaigners for a permanent memorial to remember the victims of the trans-atlantic slave trade. Bristol lags far behind other ports like Liverpool and Nantes in France that were involved in the ‘vile trade’ and have made major efforts to both memorialise the victims and tell the history – warts and all.
One historian from Bristol University stated in a meeting with Asher Craig in March 2019 “that Bristol’s reputation abroad, when referring to the city’s response to its slaving past, was very bad”. He also said that Bristol shouldn’t limit its ambitions regarding a slavery museum, “the city should think big and be better than Liverpool”.
Bristol City Council have missed opportunities to right this embarrassing wrong many times. In 1996 around the Festival of the Sea, in 1999 when the Respectable Trade exhibition was launched, in 2007 with the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade and again in 2015 when the Colston protests began.
In 2017 campaigners from three groups and local residents proposed the Abolition Shed project, which wanted to convert two council-owned warehouses on Welsh Back into a memorial for the victims of the African slave-trade with a visitor centre to tell the history. When they approached Asher Craig to get support from Bristol City Council she basically told them to clear off and get some private funding.
Despite this slap in the face campaigners continued the fight to halt the council’s proposed development of the warehouses into more restaurants and bars and to finally do something. This persistence and enthusiasm by unpaid Bristolians who gave a fuck about the memorial, the history and the city’s reputation was clearly starting to annoy Rees and Craig.
In August 2019 Marvin angrily demanded to know “who the campaigners were” and in response to their proposals cited a record in office of being amazing, without, of course, any concrete commitment to a memorial and museum. Asher was even more furious claiming“the City was now taking this seriously” and accusing the campaigners of being “bullies”. One local historian from the Counter-Colston group commented:
“Despite the fact that it is just not true, for Asher to characterise people as ‘bullies’ who have, without ‘funding’ and political power given lots of time and energy over several years to try to get something done after decades of failure, is disgraceful.”
Needless to say the Abolition Shed project was strangled at birth by Rees, Craig and the Council as they voted to turn the warehouses into pizza restaurants whilst wasting a million quid on moving a barge to appease the developers. Another missed opportunity in Bristol’s tradition of failure.
Asher’s only response to persistent demands for a memorial was to set up a ‘roundtable’, which descended into the usual talking shop while those who wanted to get a concrete commitment from the Council were seen as ‘troublemakers’.
It is also no surprise that Marvin’s response to Colston’s statue coming down was to propose a ‘history commission’. Looking into the “true history of the city”, which sounds like another opportunity for free-loading academics to fail to do anything.
So here we are, kicking the can down the road again….
For years a Bristol City Councillor has sat QUIETLY, INEFFECTIVELY AND INCONSEQUENTIALLY as a non-executive director of the Merchant Venturer-run PORT OF BRISTOL COMPANY at Avonmouth. This councillor is supposed to protect our public investment in the firm as well as independently oversee the company, its finances and management to ensure it’s acting lawfully.
at last, a councillor has stepped up and admitted that he QUIT this non-Exec role two years ago as he was PREVENTED from effectively overseeing
the firm as the law requires and he was concerned this CONFLICTED with his responsibilities under the council’s code of
Green Councillor Clive Stevens told a council scrutiny committee that the
demand from the Port of Bristol Company that he sign a GAGGING ORDER preventing him from discussing any issues regarding
the company shackled him from independently overseeing the company and conflicted
with his primary role to be OPENLY AND
DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC .
also raises further questions. Like what the hell port owners, the scummiest of
Merchant Venturer scum, David Ord “Ure” and “Tory” Terrence
Mordaunt, think they’re doing NOBBLING
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS of
their firm? Or why our councillors have colluded with this legally dubious
corporate management culture for years and why were they putting up with
anti-democratic bullshit from a couple of wealthy Tory boys on the make?
The council’s Head of Legal Services has agreed to look at the matter and
produce a report. Will he have learned anything from the 2008 banking crisis
and the need for genuinely independent non executive directors TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM THIEVING
CORPORATE BASTARDS WITH NO MORALS?
Pissed off Avonmouth residents, who have been subjected dangerous pollution and public health hazards from the port, have started a campaign of direct action against BRISTOL PORT COMPANY.
Meanwhile the city’s business, political and bureaucratic elites have closed ranks around the MERCHANT VENTURER owned big business to suppress the truth about the port’s activities.
Residents have been complaining for years now about dust from the port, some of which is potentially carcinogenic wood dust from biomass stored on the dock and some is metal dust from the SIMS METAL MANAGEMENT PLANT containing LEAD, CADMIUM and ARSENIC.
More recently, over the last month or so, residents have been subjected to a plague of flies that has been traced to waste being exported by local company BOOMECO. The company’s boss OLIVER ‘TWATTER’ LATTER has verbally admitted responsibility for the infestation but is refusing to pay residents the small cost of fumigating their homes.
Meanwhile the two regulatory bodies, THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY for the Port and the CITY COUNCIL for public health matters relating to its residents are passing the buck to each other and effectively washing their hands of the matter.
It also has come to light in recent weeks that the city council has secretly authorized the storage in the open air of ‘bottom ash’ on land they own at the port just a few hundred metres from people’s homes. This ash is what’s left after waste is incinerated and residents say, “literally anything could be in this waste, including TOXIC AND RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL from stuff like hospital waste. It’s obviously a danger to public health so near to our homes”.
Residents held their first demo at the port on Friday 30 May and they promise they’ll be going “on tour” throughout the summer until the authorities start doing their job and looking after them rather than poisoning them.
A resident says, “the time for tea and biscuits with these people is over. Direct action has moved us more forward in one week rather than the three years we have been trying to resolve things.
“I’m up for embarrassing the politicians and Councillors and giving glorious George and cuddly Augustus a bloody nose every time they appear spouting their false ‘green’ agenda.”
Mayor George Ferguson’s old friends and colleagues in the rich posh boys’ club the MERCHANT VENTURERS seem to be doing all right out of his administration…
STEPHEN PARSONS, in his role as chair of the governors of BRISTOL CATHEDRAL SCHOOL, looks set to take over TWO FLOORS of the Bristol Central Library with few questions asked for his primary ‘free school’ project.
DAVID FREED, director of upmarket property developers DEELEY FREED, has been handed a sizable chunk of CASTLE PARK to concrete over. At least we now know what Mayor Redpants meant when he said he was going to get things done.
Nothing to see here, honest!
Meanwhile, Fergo’s extensive and highly involved business interests in the city have attracted the attention of the council’s official auditors, Grant Thornton. “[A] review of the Mayor’s declarations of interest found a number of organisations with which the Council have had interaction which have not been included within the related parties transactions note,” they say in their ‘Audit Findings for Bristol City Council’.
No doubt it’s all just a big misunderstanding that cash-strapped millionaire George will set straight when he’s able to take time out of his busy schedule.
Edited to add:
It seems that the audit report linked to above is now mysteriously ‘unavailable’ on the Bristol City Council website – so download it direct from The BRISTOLIAN website here!
Edited again to add:
It would now appear that the Council decided to change the document’s address on the BCC website (at around 6pm on a Friday afternoon!) as soon as it was realised that The BRISTOLIAN was linking to it.
You can find the document in question via this direct link, or you can click on the link at item 11 on the agenda of the Audit Committee meeting of 24 September 2013 here…
Council finally calls time on sickening anti-safety bosses – but will Mayor Fergo take notice?
After a long fight led by determined construction workers, Bristol City Council in early September voted to END THE GRAVY TRAIN of juicy local authority contracts for firms that profit out of ‘blacklists’.
With blacklisting, construction giants like McAlpine secretly trade ILLEGAL FILES on ‘troublesome workers’ – the ones that kick up a fuss over inadequate safety – and keep them out of a job.
Whilst the new council policy won’t affect private sector projects – such as the building of Cabot Circus, where building boss CULLUM MCALPINE admits his company blacklisted brickies and sparks from the site due to whistleblowing on safety issues – it could help workers running council services.
Thanks to the LONG-RUNNING PICKET of May Gurney’s depots by blacklisted workers, union activists and local campaign Bristol Hazards Group that put the blacklist issue onto the table, Kier may yet lose that lucrative council rubbish collection contract…
Focus now shifts to McAlpine’s fellow Merchant Venturer, millionaire mayor George Ferguson and his own CAVALIER APPROACH TO HEALTH AND SAFETY.
It was Mayor Fergo’s outspoken disregard for safety that helped cost cyclist Sean Phillips his life in March (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.3), and in 2009 his deathtrap ‘Millennium Mast’ in the Centre had to be dismantled over fears pieces could fall off and cause fatalities.
And did we mention his fast-becoming-legendary CONTEMPT for ordinary bar workers at his image-over-substance hipster venues like The Tobacco Factory, #1 Harbourside and Canteen?
So whether Gorgeous George actually honours the blacklist ban, or throws his weight behind his corner-cutting rich building boss pals, is still not entirely clear…
Politicians from across the spectrum are quick to insist that ‘Plot 6’ at Temple Meads train station – situated in the heart of the Tories’ so-called ENTERPRISE ZONE next to Brunel’s original building – is pencilled in to become a much-needed transport interchange. No, ‘onest guv!
This seems a bit strange as plans for the site have always shown Plot 6 occupied by a grotty speculative development of office blocks. And now The BRISTOLIAN learns that desperate planning bosses offered the plot to the BBC last year as a base for their operations in the city – and as part of a transparent attempt to boost the Enterprise Zone’s thin claims to be a centre for the creative industries.
Alas, the BBC declined the offer, presumably not really wanting to move to a DULL WASTELAND of office blocks and car parks.
But surely our councillors and Mayor Fergo need to have an urgent chat with Enterprise Zone boss – unelected Tory-boy Merchant Venturer Colin Skellett – and find out what his plans really are?
A couple of examples emerge of just how charitable our old friends at the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS really are.
First, please step forward TIM ROSS who seems well-versed in that old Venturer trick of turning public money into private wealth.
Ross was, until June last year, Chairman of financial basketcase waste company MAY GURNEY (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.3 & 4.4), currently being rescued from financial collapse via a multi-million pound takeover by anti-union construction outfit, KIER GROUP. Indeed such are the financial problems at May Gurney that Bristol City Council has been discouraged from enforcing the penalty clauses in its waste collection contract with the company as it was thought it would bankrupt them and our rubbish could go uncollected.
However, bankruptcy is not something that’s likely to happen to Ross: once the ink was dry on May Gurney’s contract with the city council, he cashed in 100,000 of his shares in December 2011 to pocket A COOL £235,000 – conveniently before the share price of the company went south! He scarpered as Chairman of May Gurney six months later, just a few months before the share price tumbled below a pound.
Our second all-heart, all-charidee Venturer is CULLUM MCALPINE, scion of the civil engineering giant SIR ALFRED MCALPINE LTD, a firm that is never far from a tasty government contract or two. Cullum is a director of the company and has been personally named in papers lodged with the high court as being “intimately” involved in the operation of a “clandestine” organisation – The Consulting Association – holding a list of people barred from the construction industry. Or trade union blacklisting as it’s generally known.
The court papers claim, “McAlpine was the founding chairman at the [Consulting Association’s] inception in 1993. He was intimately involved in the foundation and operation of TCA. He formally offered Mr Kerr the position of director in August 1993. He finalised the written particulars of Mr Kerr’s employment, sending them to members for approval and obtaining legal advice in relation to them. He oversaw the arrangement of life and health insurance for Mr Kerr as part of his remuneration.”
IAN KERR was the director of The Consulting Association, the organisation which operated the ILLEGAL BLACKLIST OF WORKERS on behalf of big construction firms until he was exposed and prosecuted in 2009.
Perhaps Mr McAlpine should keep better company – as should the Society of Merchant Venturers.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Venturer DAVID ORD, co-owner of the Bristol Port Company at Avonmouth, has donated more than £330,000 to the Tory Party since 2005.
He was also one of forty donors to attend dinners with senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the last quarter of 2012.
So, did Ord use his access to ‘Dodgy’ David Cameron to lobby for the scrapping of plans for an electricity-generating Severn estuary barrage?