Tag Archives: MIPIM

COCKTAIL PARTY JOY

COCKTAIL PARTY JOY

FACTS and FIGURES come crashing into the inbox regarding the Reverend’s recent trip to Cannes to attend the MIPIM property conference. A sort of working holiday on the Côte d’Azur where gullible local authority types can get mugged for their land by property speculators.

THREE ‘delegates’ from Bristol City Council went. The Reverend and his two current sidekicks, PR man Kevin “Don’t Mention the Private Education” Slocombe and Colin “Head Boy” Molton. Although we’re told that the Reverend’s Cabinet member for Spatial Planning and City Design Nicola “LA LA” Beech went along paid for by her employer.

And the cost of this three-day jaunt to you, dear council tax payer? A mere £9,950! Included in a busy itinerary for these selfless public servants were urgent events such as the ‘ARUP COCKTAIL PARTY‘, the ‘YTL  DEVELOPMENTS DINNER‘ and the ‘BOUYGUE – LINKCITY DINNER‘!

Tough gigs but, no doubt, someone’s got to spend £10k of our money doing it!

 

LEADERSHIP WATCH

The Reverend Rees continues to demonstrate the leadership skills and sure touch that earned him a MISERABLE little middle management equalities officer post paper shuffling for the NHS. Was it there he perfected that ability to wear a shiny suit and talk utter shite?

A brief glance through the Reverend’s weak and cowardly Tory budget for the coming year reveals virtually every department at the council will be making CUTS. Or “efficiency savings” as the Great Helmsman demands we call them. Deploying weasel words in a sad attempt to fool us that his atrocious cuts WRECKING our public services will somehow be improvements to these services if he applies enough heavy-handed PR spin to them.

However, if we’re being strictly accurate, all council departments are making “efficiencies” except ONE. The exception being the Reverend’s very own EXECUTIVE OFFICE, which is receiving a £600k boost to its budget for next year. Although, if we’re to be consistent, shouldn’t this 25 per cent uplift to his own budget be called an “INEFFICIENCY SPEND“?

Does the Reverend think CUTTING everyone else’s budget while BOOSTING his own to afford more trips to Manhattan, China and Cannes and run a junket for ‘World Mayors’ here in Bristol is a good example of the ‘city leadership’ he’s forever banging on about? Did they teach him to be a GREEDY self-serving bastard on his wanky leadership course at Yale? Or is his ‘I’m all right Jack’ approach to leadership just another one of his many embarrassing PERSONAL FAILINGS?

Surely leadership is about leading from the front and ensuring that he takes, at least, his share of any cuts to ENCOURAGE and LEAD his colleagues in these harsh times?

Got to be better than blathering on about leadership while blatantly showing none.

JUNKET GEORGE JETS OFF YET AGAIN: YES HE CANNES!

It’s that time of the year once more – so our illustrious MAYOR FERGO has packed his BUDGIE HAMMOCKS AND BRONZER and buggered off to Cannes on the French Riviera for the annual MIPIM Property Conference!

Yes, just like last year, when we reported how George and his pals racked up a tab of more than £100,000 at an industry get-together known as “basically a four-day party with loads of LOBSTER AND CHAMPAGNE ON YACHTS”…

This time, though, he will be part of a “high level delegation” of city bosses from CUBA (that’s the Councils that Used to Be Avon), as well as his close, personal Merchant Venturer chum COLIN SKELLETT from Wessex Water.

The icing on the cake? George’s jolly is being organised through regional quango Invest Bristol+Bath – and sponsored by HorseWorld lawyers BURGES SALMON!

What a small world…

REDTROUSER RADAR (AUG 2013): AN IRREGULAR LOOK AT BRISTOL’S MILLIONAIRE MAYOR AND HIS GLOBETROTTING!

REDTROUSER RADAR!

Help us track our BELOVED KING GEORGE!

It’s tricky keeping abreast of exactly where our illustrious millionaire Mayor has been JETTING OFF to – five trips in just six months this year alone, racking up an impressive 5,000 air miles already.

So please drop The BRISTOLIAN a line if you spot the Redtrousered One on an overseas FergoJaunt – our contact details are here

TROUGH OVERSEAS AGAIN! FERGO’S JET-SET MAYORALTY RACKS UP THE AIRMILES

Mayor’s expensive Euro jaunt habit exposed

Millionaire mayor George Ferguson - globetrotting on your Council Taxes so you don't have to

Millionaire mayor George Ferguson – globetrotting on your Council Taxes so you don’t have to

Following last issue’s story on His Royal Redness’ conference-hopping jaunts around Europe, it has emerged that Mayor George Ferguson cost local people a WHOPPING £126,000 on one trip alone!

Information obtained by The BRISTOLIAN details how independently wealthy Fergo took a TWENTY-STRONG ENTOURAGE with him on his recent junket to Cannes, further fuelled by nearly £35,000-worth of ‘business sponsorship’ taking the total cost up to an astounding £161,000.

With £20k contributed directly by Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils, the balance – just shy of £107,000 – was funnelled through various BCC front organisations. These include ‘Invest in Bristol’ and ‘Bath and the Local Enterprise Partnership’, both of which – entirely by coincidence – have Bristol City Council addresses. So, fellow Bristolian, you footed the bill!

Mayor Gorgeous has already rebuffed any criticism of this fatuous trip and its cost as “trivial” – because obviously one hundred low income households’ yearly council tax payments are mere “trivia” to George and his wealthy eurotrash business pals. And if you’re wondering why the Evening, sorry, Bristol Post has been so quiet about this executive troughing farce, you might be interested to hear that its editor Mike Norton also went along for the ride!

Your favourite super sleuthing scandal sheet can also reveal that Mayor George gallivanted off on another Euro-trip last month. With at least one person from Bristol Green Capital, he popped to Switzerland for three days where they POLISHED THEIR BACKSIDES on plush conference seats for €540 a throw at Geneva’s Conference on Sustainable Towns and Cities.

The conference also included an invite-only trip to the opera – Puccini’s three hour bore-fest, Madama Butterfly, performed by the Houston Grand Opera – though it’s not clear whether George attended this or just settled for the Fondue Gala Dinner, which provided the opportunity “to mingle in an informal setting and discuss the issues of the day.” Like, er, Europe-wide austerity measures!

When anyone questions the cost of all his away-days at our expense, the millionaire mayor Fergo seems to bristle with rage, as with his recent Twitter outburst over Freedom of Information requests – such as the as-yet unanswered one relating to his Geneva jolly. Similarly George wails that he was in Geneva “creating jobs”, which tells us how just far departed from reality he now is, seeing as he’s not created any jobs at all – but actually cut 300 jobs in his last budget.

We think the jet lag from all this travelling abroad at our expense might finally be taking its toll – can you get deep vein thrombosis of the brain?

CHOC’S AWAY – FERGO OFFERS SHANKED SHAW REDEMPTION

‘No poor people’ housing development for rich liberals Chocolate Factory back from the dead after secret meetings?

Mayor Fergo: planning to resurrect Greenbank deal previously agreed with BCC's Bishop through Isaacs & Generator Group?

Mayor Fergo: planning to resurrect Greenbank deal previously agreed with BCC’s David Bishop through his pal Paul Isaacs and the Generator Group?

Information about what His Royal Mayorness George was actually doing at the MIPIM conference in Cannes [see ‘JUNKET GEORGE’] has been suitably vague. He’s variously been described as “attracting inward investment”, “banging the drum for Bristol”, and – so says the great man himself – “increasing our international standing”. Conveniently for SUPERFERGO, none of this wishy-washy PR babble is provable one way or the other.

However, The BRISTOLIAN can exclusively reveal that high on George Ferguson’s list of priorities at Cannes was the attempt to restart a controversial high class housing project with which he himself had originally been closely – and financially – associated.

Whilst sunning himself on the Côte d’Azur at our expense, our Glorious Mayor Redpants had at least one private meeting with PAUL ISAACS from property developers GENERATOR GROUP. In its own words, Generator Group “comprises a specialist developer, funding partner and advisor that exercises both its intellectual capital and financial knowledge to deliver effective and innovative solutions to a full range of property related matters.” And it just so happens that Generator Group and Mr Isaacs have produced “a due diligence report and advice on a strategy to take the site forward” for an unnamed “strategic development site in the south west”. The site in question? The so-called CHOCOLATE FACTORY in east Bristol’s Greenbank, on the site of the old Elizabeth Shaw production line.

The Chocolate Factory is a site that the mayor has had both a significant personal and commercial interest in down the years. Those with longer memories may recall Ferguson was at the forefront of a campaign to have planning permission refused for the original site developers, Persimmon – only to pop up as the architect of a new “sustainable” scheme when Persimmon then sold the site on to local developers Squarepeg.

The Squarepeg-Ferguson project – basically a housing scheme for wealthy liberals – quickly unravelled when it turned out to be totally unaffordable. Despite securing planning approval, they then had to go cap-in-hand to council planners and explain that they couldn’t pay for any infrastructure costs (such as roads and education, in an area with an acute school places shortage) due to the huge cost of their upmarket scheme. Squarepeg also refused to include any more than 25 affordable homes in the 252 dwelling development, having grudgingly upped their initial offer of 14 – still short of the council’s call for 10-30% to be suitable for lower income families.

Further controversy came when it emerged that somehow George had managed to “improve” his scheme by purchasing a piece of public land next to the Greenbank section of the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. He managed this coup in a private telephone call with the City Council’s then Head of Planning, DAVID ‘BASHER’ BISHOP – against all stated city council procurement rules and regulations – in a manner never fully explained.

However, even with the granting of massive favours by his little council helpers, in 2009 George’s ridiculous scheme collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity, never to be heard of again. Until now, that is, with the declaration by Mr Isaacs’ company that the Ferguson/Squarepeg scheme “is neither deliverable nor viable” and the news that Generator Group has apparently produced a report on the site “offering various exit strategies based on appetite for risk and preferred timelines.”

At which point George – now Mayor – reappears holding private meetings in Cannes with this major stakeholder in the site. Should our mayor really be holding meetings with developers regarding a site in which he’s had a commercial interest? And what is the mysterious second project that Georgie is cooking up with Generator Group?

It’s looking murky already…

JUNKET GEORGE DOES EUROPE

Bristol Mayor takes taxpayer-funded jaunts to Dublin and Cannes to help cultivate sense of self-importance

The Mayor sends his regards

With £35m of unachievable cuts randomly delivered across council budgets, now MAYOR GORGEOUS can get on with the more serious aspects of his role … Like enjoying jolly ‘junket’ outings abroad at our expense.

The year’s first freebie trip overseas for George came in February when he spent a couple of days in Dublin at the ‘World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty’. A stop-off on the INTERNATIONAL POVERTY INDUSTRY grand tour, the event was themed around technology and cities, and attracted mostly faceless EU and UN bureaucrats with fat expense accounts and plenty of time on their hands.

Gushing publicity offered lucky attendees the opportunity “to marry practical experience to blue sky thinking” and hear words of wisdom spouted by self-important bigwigs from the Big Four accountancy firms. They, of course, are famed for their robust approach to preventing poverty by, erm, creating it on a grand scale across the entire western world by signing off dodgy bank balance sheets just prior to their collapse into bankruptcy and creating the need for mass public bailouts.

See the pattern here? Those that have caused mass poverty are now selling solutions to it back to governments. Other speakers included the aptly named Patricia Bastard of Yellow Window Design Consultants and the Queen of the international poverty scene, former Irish premier Mary ‘Antoinette’ Robinson.

But this was a mere warm-up for the main event that Junket George attended a few weeks later: the MIPIM PROPERTY CONFERENCE in Cannes, delightfully situated on the Côte d’Azur. And what was this conference all about? Public relations people will try to tell you “MIPIM provides a unique opportunity for industry decision-makers to meet, develop long-term relationships and showcase their latest development projects.”

However, a more honest appraisal is available from Clare Barrett, managing editor of Property Week magazine, who helpfully explains, “It’s basically a FOUR-DAY PARTY WITH LOADS OF LOBSTER AND CHAMPAGNE ON YACHTS.”

When now-disbanded quango the South West Regional Development Agency attended this piss-up a few years ago, they managed to run up a £61k bill for running a press conference and two cheese and wine parties. But it is suspected that George and the large entourage he assembled for this must-go event managed to smash that pre-austerity record with a WHOPPING £100K+ TAB. George even forked out for his glamorous assistant Zoe to attend and to provide him with her late night ‘list-ticking’ services, as well as dragging along a local artist to flaunt – just to show people how wacky he is.

No doubt Cannes echoed to the question, “Qui le fuck est la poshe idiote Anglais avec les pantalons rouges”?

NEW BRISTOLIAN OUT NOW!

Bristolian #2 - NOW OUT!

Ahoy there, shipmates – the latest issue of Bristol’s finest muckraking newspaper is now being distributed across the city as we speak!

This edition is packed full of exposés of the overpaid mediocrities running our fair town, with the focus on ‘hands-on but light touch’ MILLIONAIRE MAYOR George Ferguson and his scuttling around overseas at our expenses cooking up development deals with his old business cronies.

There’s also the scoop that Bristol City Council has brought in KILLER COMPANY ATOS – notorious for throwing disabled people off benefits – to manage its workers’ occupational health; a report on shady Facilities Management accounting and MISSING MARKETS MONEY; and news that senior officers don’t know how much of our money they’re spending on CUTS CONSULTANTS.

Throw in a round-up of how UNION BUREAUCATS are betraying ordinary Bristolians, a look at some of the candidates in the upcoming council elections, the story of the POSH NIMBY who tried to shut down a popular pub, and of course the latest entries from SIR GUS HOYTY-TOYTY’S CABINET DIARY, and you have yourself a super, soaraway scandal sheet!

Currently available from:

In addition there are copies around St. Nick’s Market, with St. Paul’s, Bedminster, Windmill Hill, Totterdown, Southville and Kingswood all being covered today or in the next few days. Precise locations will be added as they are confirmed.

More outlets will be added to the distribution list as they are confirmed, and further drop-offs can also be arranged – just get in touch.

++ STOP PRESS ++ STOP PRESS ++ STOP PRESS ++ STOP PRESS ++

Our street team reports back that this edition of The BRISTOLIAN has flown out of their hands so quickly just one day in that they’ve completely run out!

To satisfy the city-wide hunger for real news you can trust, we’ve put ordered a reprint, which will be ready for us to hit Hartcliffe, Knowle West, Sea Mills, Cotham, Hotwells – and other areas not yet covered – next week.

In the meantime, if you can’t wait to get your hands on a paper copy – or your local stockist has already run dry – download a digital version here.

PS:

This issue of The BRISTOLIAN was sent to the printers at 4am on Monday. At 11.28am Margaret Thatcher was found dead whilst “reading in bed”.

Coincidence? You decide.