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