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.
Having had the grand global green sustainable smart city visions courtesy of the progressive parties, it’s time for the Tories to enter the election fray as their manifesto finally appears.
At just ten pages long, they’re doing us, at least, one massive favour. By way of comparison, the Green’s Squire Bufton-Tufton treated us to 36 pages of his Clifton drawing room progessive piffle. The Tories, in contrast, leave few populist cliches unturned in a short booklet that’s quite hard to find and called ‘Our plan to build back better in Bristol’.
Big ideas are thin on the ground here. Apart from wanting to scrap the mayor and save money by not pissing millions up the wall on energy companies, there’s nothing much in the way of grand schemes to catch the eye. Instead it’s just a list of local bugbears with a few law ‘n’ order shapes thrown in
The most noticeable of these is a clear threat of some social cleansing: “Use the Council’s powers to move van dwellers to permanent sites rather than allow informal sites to develop on local roads.”
They’re also quite keen on having an ongoing passive/aggressive conversation about your your safety. “We want people to be safe and feel safe where ever they live”; “We will listen to communities on how to make neighbourhoods safer for all” and “We will work with the Police Commissioner to ensure safer streets across Bristol.”
All of which actually makes you start wondering if you are safe? Especially when their seemingly endless safety concerns are washed down with a further mild threat/message from their thuggish looking ex-squaddie Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Mark Shelford. He promises with menaces to “drive down crime and make our streets safer.”
Although judging by Mark’s general tone and demeanour, it seems highly unlikely that our streets will be safer for anyone who wants to protest on them. The rest of the manifesto is lists, dog whistles and mood music clearly aimed south of Southville where the progressive manifestoes abruptly stop.
In the Tories’s words it’s a manifesto that “delivers on the basics that matter to our residents, prioritises funding for our communities and doesn’t ignore the suburbs”!
This means public toilets will be reopened; libraries kept open; the Jubilee Pool saved; pavement parking tackled; “more will be done to preserve and improve our local amenity such as the Western Slopes in South Bristol”; “licensing for all ‘houses of multiple occupancy’ across the city not just in certain areas” introduced; an “end to over-development of some of our key sites such as the Cumberland Basin and Hengrove Park” and “we will fairly distribute money across the City so communities have a real chance to improve their area rather than fighting over funding scraps.”
Will the public find this thunderously low key and ordinary municipal vision with a blatantly populist edge that promises to preserve services and protect communities more appealing than the progressive ‘big project men’ and their weird ‘visions’ that can only be delivered through large faceless corporations seeking profit?
We’re overwhelmed with choice at this election aren’t we?
Taking some much-deserved time off from wandering aimlessly around the city lying and bullshitting to long-suffering residents (surely spearheading a modern and professional election campaign? ed.), the Reverend Rees has taken an especially large dump and evacuated a stinking pile of an election manifesto on to the public. And yes, we’ve read it all and our research team are now in recovery.
Yet again, we’re treated to the, now, traditional Labour shopping list of promises off the back of a fag packet. We’ve counted a total of 91 of these promises and hardly any of them are costed. Starting with the unfeasibly bonkers plan to “deliver a mass transit system … in the form of both an underground and an overground” because, we’re assured, Marvin’s “laid the foundations for a mass transit system.”
What foundations has Marvin laid? A demented assertion in a couple of interviews and some orange lines on a Google Map? Where, for starters, is the feasibility study for an underground he promised three years ago? He’s, literally, done nothing about this plan he can show anyone. Why would anyone sane believe a word of it? And how much will it cost?
Another tactic from Marvin is to promise again things he promised in his 2016 manifesto. So having failed to deliver ‘2,000 homes a year, 800 affordable’ as plastered on billboards all over the city in 2016, this time we’re assured the Reverend will be “building over 2,000 homes a year, of which 1,000 are affordable, by 2024.”
Another gem recycled from the 2016 manifesto, “Complete and open Hartcliffe Way recycling and reuse centre”. Why hasn’t it been completed already as promised five years ago? Why believe it in 2021 if it was patently untrue in 2016?
Or how about this one? “We’re delivering on our 2016 promise to get an arena built”. The only thing Marvin delivered on this subject was the exact opposite by cancelling getting an arena built. Who believes they’ll be an arena open in Filton by 2024 then?
In all, there’s 14 pages of this crap. Some appears stolen from the Greens in a blind panic: “Provide free travel for apprentices and students under-25”. Some is appearing in everybodies’ manifesto as the essential uncosted promise du nos jours: “Deliver a London-style one-touch integrated ticketing system so that your ticket can be used across different types of public transport.”
Some is peculiarly clueless: “Deliver a Green Spaces and Allotments Strategy which encourages local food production in every ward to help tackle food poverty”. As if local food production has something to do with low cost food.
Similar economic illiteracy abounds throughout. Another big idea is, “work with the City Funds to deliver the economic priorities in the One City Plan”. Why the fuck get a small charitable grant making trust run by your evangelical looney mate to deliver an economic plan for the eighth largest city in the UK? It makes zero sense. Who thinks this shit up?
We’ll conclude with the Reverend confirming his five years of useless failure in style with the promise to “Expand the Community Toilet programme and introduce an app that provides their location”. In other words he’ll not be bringing back the public toilets he closed. Instead he’ll spend our money on useless private sector provision with a pointless tech solution thrown in.