Tag Archives: Society of Merchant Venturers

WEST WING WATCH

west wing ii

Efforts by the Reverend Rees and his point man ‘Slo’ Kevin Slocombe to create their own new season of THE WEST WING up on the third floor of the Counts Louse brings predictable results.

Having EXPANDED the Mayoral Office budget to the best part of £1MILLION A YEAR and styled themselves as fast talking power dressing power players who get things done, their efforts to slickly command and control a council of 7,000 employees SPENDING A BUDGET OF A BILLION is more Jedward than Jed Bartlet.

The latest MAYORAL FAILURE finds the Reverend unable to get a simple ‘corrective’ brass plaque attached to the statue of Colston in the Centre. This might be because following the original mayoral decree for a plaque, there was NO MEANS to communicate back to the Mayor or his team what was going on with a project easily highjacked by the Merchant Venturers from council officers.

Similar problems have haunted the Reverend’s response to institutional racism at the council where the HR officers and managers responsible for the problem have filled any MANAGEMENT VACUUM by stepping in to solve their own problem to suit themselves.

The most recent fiasco followed the removal of valuable 1930s street lamps from south Bristol to leafy Stoke Bishop. “THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN,” insisted Slo Kev on Twitter. “Any street lamps removed are used for spare parts only,” he explained. Alas, within minutes of Slo Kev’s claim, a photo appeared on Twitter of a newly installed street lamp from south Bristol in Stoke Bishop!

The obvious solution of appointing one of 40-odd Labour councillors to oversee something like the plaque project through to completion has been OVERLOOKED by both the Reverend and Slo Kev. Both naively believing they can achieve anything at the council, no matter how minor, by SWAGGERING COMMAND or LENGTHY PRESS RELEASE fired out from the third floor executive suite.

In reality simple projects are FAILING and poor decisions are MULTIPLYING due to the Reverend’s West Wing fantasy. There’s a bottleneck at the top of the council. Too many issues for too few mayoral staff to cope with and council officers end up running the show with little oversight. Labour councillors, meanwhile, the natural workforce to force Labour policy through a recalcitrant council, hang about IDLE, BORED and IGNORED.

When will the Reverend figure out how to run his council?

ARCHITECTURE HACK’S BUSINESS KNACK WITH A PLAQUE

PLAQUE ATTACKED

The Reverend’s FAILED EFFORT to put a ‘corrective plaque’ on the statue of Colston to highlight the dodgy merchant’s leadership role in the slave trade was managed by Peter “Arse” Insole, the council’s architectural officer. Initially Arsehole let local historian Madge “The Doc” Dresser devise some words for the new plaque with the help of children from COTHAM GARDENS PRIMARY SCHOOL (formerly Colston’s Primary).

However, left entirely UNSUPERVISED to do what the hell he liked, Arsehole soon went over to the dark side and allowed the Merchant Venturers and their arselicking friends in Clifton to DRASTICALLY REWRITE The Doc’s plaque until it became a MEANINGLESS PIECE OF MUMBO JUMBO that the Reverend finally had to bin as not fit-for-purpose.

Now it’s come to our attention, that in order to assist the Doc with her pointless work with local children, Arsehole PERSONALLY PROCURED a specialist private education firm, MYERS-INSOLE LOCAL LEARNING COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY. And, by amazing coincidence, the SECRETARY and DIRECTOR of the firm, according to Companies House, just happens to be, er, Peter Insole while the only other director is one Ruth Myers, Arseholes partner! How convenient for his personal bank account that Arsehole’s RIGOROUS PROCUREMENT PROCESS should throw up his own firm as best placed to do the job.

Although it’s a shame that it’s not only against all known council rules for Arsehole to procure his own company for his own financial benefit but also against the law.

PLAQUE ATTACKED

PLAQUE ATTACKED

Efforts to add a so-called ‘corrective plaque’ to Edward Colston’s statue on the Centre have descended into farce thanks to INTERFERENCE from our local bat shit crazy rich mans’ club, the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS, desperate to defend the reputation of their slave trading hero.

The idea behind a corrective plaque was to stop the constant – and often entertaining – VANDALISM of the statue by members of the public. Over the years we’ve woken up to find the statue yarn bombed, with its face painted white, with graffiti scrawled across it and with various corrective plaques superglued to it, usually LISTING COLSTON CAREER HIGHLIGHTS the current plaque misses out.

To address this, last year, the council hired historian Dr Madge Dresser to work with young people to produce a second plaque for the statue. Plenty of ideas came back highlighting Colston’s role in the SLAVE TRADE as well as aspects of his political, religious, charitable and business life that are OVERLOOKED on the existing plaque from the Victorian era.

Dr Dresser delivered her ideas to Peter “Arse” Insole, an architectural officer at the council and then the trouble started. The Venturers immediately employed AMATEUR HISTORIAN Francis Greenacre to LOBBY Insole on their behalf and an unknown number of private meetings between Insole and Greenacre with neither notes nor minutes retained have taken place.

Now, we’re reliably informed, the following information will definitely not appear on any new plaque: any reference to Colston being a TORY; any mention of the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS; the number of children TRANSPORTED by Colston’s ships; the number of children who DIED on Colston’s ships; any mention of Colston’s religious and political BIGOTRY; any mention of Colston’s involvement in the SPANISH SLAVE TRADE and any mention of his INSIDER TRADING in South Seas Company.

Never mind, we’ll all just have to go back to vandalising the Venturer’s reactionary monstrosity instead.

BISHOP OR PAWN?

Faull

A big warm BRISTOLIAN welcome to Vivienne “Basterd” Faull, former Dean of York Cathedral, who has been appointed BISHOP OF BRISTOL. This will be a big deal for local diversity enthusiasts who will point out that Vivienne is the first woman appointed to the role and will then demand that us plebs wet our pants with vibrant joy at this latest exciting victory for equality.

But how diverse is Ms Faull? Educated at exclusive THE QUEEN’S SCHOOL, Chester, an all-girls independent day school, she then went on to further study at the exclusive ST HILDA’S COLLEGE, Oxford. So there’s a good chance that Ms Faull is even more of a snooty elitist than her tosspot predecessor, Edward Colston cheerleader, Mike “THE MERCENARY” Hill.

Hill, at least, managed to attend a state grammar school before poncing off to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to become an ESTABLISHMENT LACKEY and mouthpiece for the wealthiest men in Bristol. Who will ever forget his noisy public support for slave trader Edward Colston from the pulpit of Bristol Cathedral?

Attention will now, no doubt, turn to Ms Faull’s attitude to Colston and his wealthy supporters club, the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS here in Bristol. Like her predecessor, will she front PRIVATE services generously funded by the Venturers at our local cathedral to celebrate Colston for schoolchildren?

Or will she opt for a different and more inclusive approach in her effort at moral leadership in the city? Don’t hold your breath.

PORT PLANT PLANNING HELL

More bad news for Avonmouth residents as another POLLUTING PLANT appears at the Port of Bristol overnight without planning permission and, apparently, with the support of compliant government regulators and Bristol City Council.

A temporary CONCRETE BATCHING PLANT and manufacturing facility at Avonmouth, which will be used to make concrete segments to form the water intake tunnels for the new Chinese funded nuclear power station at Hinckley Point, is up for retrospective approval by a Bristol City Council planning committee in May. As usual in Avonmouth, it appears the plant has ALREADY been built by contractors HANSON and is ready to start production.

Despite potential RISKS from nearby sites with HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE consents, the council is likely to wave the application through claiming any problems can be overcome by monitoring the site during construction (which, conveniently, has already happened!)

Locals are said to be less than impressed with this latest example of the council’s CAVALIER APPROACH to their wellbeing. The Reverend Rees even made a PR friendly visit to the Merchant Venturer-run Port just last month where DEVELOPMENT ISSUES and POLLUTION weren’t even mentioned by the Reverend or his entourage as they posed for photos for the press.

Instead the mayor played CHEERLEADER for the Port’s apprenticeship scheme and generally brown-nosed the management of the Port for providing employment. Concerns of residents and locals did not feature.

This latest cosy planning arrangement between Bristol City Council, the Port of Bristol and MULTINATIONAL POLLUTERS comes just a few months after the Day Group won an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate to run a poisonous waste processing plant on Port land without any planning permission.

Welcome to the latest regulatory failure and corporate stitch up of Avonmouth residents.

REES’S ARENA BELLYFLOP LATEST

The recent announcement by the Reverend that he was launching a review by bent accountants KPMG of his review of the Arena and standing down the current developers is the final NAIL IN THE COFFIN of an arena at Temple Meads.

However, a new site for the venture seems to have suddenly found favour: the Brabazon Hangar in Filton. A development site owned by Malaysian firm YTL Developments that’s run by Merchant Venturer Colin “TORY BOY” Skellett, Wessex Water boss and former chair of TORY business quango, the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Coincidentally, working with Tory Boy on his new development project at Filton are a couple of familiar faces – former Bristol City Council Strategic Director Place, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi and former city council property boss Robert “SPUNKFACE” Orrett.

What a remarkably small world it is.

Even more coincidentally, the Reverend stopped off in Malaysia to meet YTL bosses on the way to his pointless China junket before Christmas. So how long before we’re handing over £120million quid plus any overspend and extras of public money to this gang of INSIDERS and CHANCERS at Filton to build our arena on their site and on their terms?

The Filton site is already no stranger to controversy and strange public-private shenanigans. YTL, run by Tory Boy Skellett, purchased the former airport after an extensive marketing exercise on behalf of owners BAE paid out of PUBLIC MONEY and carried out by er, Tory Boy Skellett’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

Another remarkable example of a remarkably small world up there in Filton where conflicts of interest appear to cease to exist.

COLSTON DAY CANCELLATION SHOCKER

A pleasant surprise for protestors who took themselves to St Stephen’s Church on the Centre yesterday for COLSTON DAY. This is the day when the city’s sad old white men with too much money and no functioning conscience pursue their CULT OF COLSTON by donning fancy dress and parading through Bristol before attending a church to hear sermon from a hired vicar heaping praise and warm words on mass murderer Edward Colston.

Alas, when protestors arrived to confront the cult of Colston directly yesterday, no one was there! Finally someone from the church came out and explained that St Stephen’s wants “NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH COLSTON“. A little later the church administrator appeared and confirmed that “the ceremony was CANCELLED, not postponed”!

A brief glance at St Stephen’s Church Annual Report 2016 explains a little more. Under the heading ‘Colston Day’ on page 5 it tells us last year’s Colston Day and the accompanying protest “had led to a QUESTIONING over what our involvement should be in future years given the feelings in the city as a whole about the historical slavery issue and Edward Colston’s part in it.”

It’s clear that the Diocese of Bristol is now CRACKING APART over celebrating slave trader Colston. They have SUPPRESSED any reference to Colston at the Girls School Commemoration at the Cathedral; got rid of the Colston symbols (Buns, Crysthanamum broaches) and it looks like St Mary Redcliffe’s Colston event is changing too. Now they have BOOTED the Society of Merchant Venturers and its satellite charities out of St Stephens Church on Colston Day! Victory is in sight …

However, the Society of Merchant Venturers aren’t going down without a fight. An organisation called ‘Embracing Our History’ (sic) has emerged. Basically a FRONT for the Venturers, they are personally inviting selected members of the ‘black community’ onto their ‘Embracing Our History’ forum. Will this patronising, paternalist, racist nonsense from the Venturers be enough to maintain their influence and keep their DAMAGED ICON afloat in the city?

Let’s hope not.  The Colston flagship is dead in the water. We say switch to ramming speed … Let’s send her to the bottom, not help the Venturers patch up their leaking rust bucket.

PROPERTY IS DEBT

Ding, dong the Spunkface is dead!

 Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, brought in to the council in 2012 for his “PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERTISE” has ceased to run the world’s most useless council department that specialised in draining us of public money.

Last year, Spunkface’s department – responsible for all the council’s buildings and its lucrative land and property portfolio – posted an inexplicably HUGE LOSS of £7.7million due to his failure “to achieve savings”. This ABJECT FAILURE went on to comprehensively fuck up the whole of the council’s accounts. This year, Spunkface, already facing losses of – at least – £2.6million in more unachieved savings, has finally quit.

Perhaps the Reverend Rees was no longer prepared to tolerate Spunkface, who  – when not losing enormous amounts of public money – is best known for his crude COVER-UPS of “mismanaged” cash in his Facilities Management Department’s markets and security operations?

We understand that Spunkface has now taken up a role locally at YTL PROPERTY alongside his former boss at the council, Barra Mac Ruari, the posh urbanist twit mate of Mayor No More Ferguson. YTL is Merchant Venturer, Colin Skellett’s development firm that bought the huge Filton Airfield site for development after an extensive marketing exercise by, er, Colin Skellet’s Local Enterprise Partnership!

Housing Tsar, Paul “Wolfie Smith” was handed responsibility for the council’s Property Services over the summer, mainly to act as nursemaid to the latest  multi-million pound Broadmead corporate makeover.

But did Wolfie finally pull the trigger on Spunkface and put our city out of the misery he imposed?

ONE RULE FOR THE RICH… VENTURER SCHOOL KEEPS NAME OF MASS MURDERER

Colston Girls School: keeping the toxic brand of a mass murderer because wealthy twits say so

Does anyone remember these schools… Monks Park, St George, Whitefield, Speedwell, Hengrove, Portway, Brislington, Hartcliffe and Withywood? Two things unite them all; they were not private schools and they have all had their names changed (or rebranded as some consultant tosser would say) over the last few years. All of this renaming was carried out when they became ACADEMY SCHOOLS, the decisions being made by unaccountable management bodies.

One of these bodies is the VENTURERS TRUST, a front for the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS (SMV) who have been trying to takeover Bristol’s state education for more than a decade. The SMV now manage a series of schools which were once run by the Local Authority but are now apparently their property to do with as they will.

When the SMV took over WITHYWOOD SCHOOL in 2008, they almost immediately changed its name to the MERCHANTS ACADEMY. That is, the arrogant bastards named it after themselves. So the SMV clearly thought they were more important than the traditions of the school, the place or the people of Withywood.

So it is with great irony that we read that another one of the SMV schools is NOT changing its name despite pressure from pupils, parents and the public to do so. Why pressure to change the name? Well, this school is named after MASS MURDERER EDWARD COLSTON, who was involved in the deaths of 20,000 PEOPLE including 3,000 CHILDREN during his time running the transatlantic slave trade. According to a representative of COLSTON GIRLS SCHOOL (CGS), the brand COLSTON represents “outstanding education” and traditions must be must be protected… blah, blah.

Here at The BRISTOLIAN we are not sure how keeping the TOXIC BRAND OF A MASS MURDERER is more important than keeping the name Withywood? But then having seen the Ofsted report on how the SMV’s have fucked up the schooling at the so-called Merchants Academy maybe they want to erase both the name Withywood and the education of its pupils.

One rule for the rich and clearly no respect for us or our traditions amongst the Merchant Venturers.

NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT: FEATHERWEIGHT FLACCID FLOPPER REES vs THE PEOPLE

Avonmouth: unlawful poison plant too difficult and expensive for the council to enforce the law they are supposed to enforce?

With the Antona Court laundry case done and dusted, Avonmouth residents can now move on to their next legal target – the UNLAWFUL Day Group development of a poisonous bottom ash plant on Port of Bristol land right by their homes.

Day Group, with the help of the Port of Bristol and some hurriedly redeployed council planners, have built a POISONOUS and POLLUTING hellhole right next to a residential area in Avonmouth after dubious Bristol City Council planning bosses granted Day Group a ‘Certificate of Lawful Use’ in 2015 to build the plant. Although the council now admit this certicate was, er, “WRONGLY ISSUED“.

The council finally issued a Planning Contravention Notice to day Group late last year over the unlawful development but they are now DECLINING to enforce the notice and force the demolition of the plant as residents want.

“There would be very considerable DIFFICULTIES and EXPENSE in seeking the demolition of the structures,” they bleat, which might come as a surprise to anyone who’s not a major corporate player and friend of the Port of Bristol and the Merchant Venturers who’s built anything in Bristol without planning permission.

Instead, Day Group, having effectively NEUTRALISED any serious city council action over their poison plant, are now attempting to get the Environment Agency to grant them a licence to start killing the residents of Avonmouth with their profitable toxic shit.

Day Group also tried to get this licence last year but got KNOCKED BACK by the Environment Agency, so now they’re now appealing to the Minister of State for DEFRA, Michael “Govey” Gove.

This has resulted in the following EMAIL being fired off to DEFRA last week:

From: Avonmouth Resident
To:environment.appeals@pins.gsi.gov.uk” <environment.appeals@pins.gsi.gov.uk>
Sent: Friday, 21 July 2017, 16:10
Subject: RE – EPR/TP3138DP/A001 – NOTICE OF APPEAL MADE UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2016 – REGULATION 31

Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Right Honourable Michael Gove or responsible delegated officer

Environment Appeals Administration
The Planning Inspectorate
3/H Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol
BS1 6PN

Your ref: EPR/TP3138DP/A001
PINS ref: APP/EPR/511

Via e-mail.

Sir, Madam.

I am writing to you as I have been notified that the Day Group have appealed to your office in relation to the matters detailed above. I am writing as the closest sensitive receptor to the development, private householder and member of the Avonmouth Community Action Group.

I have a number of issues with the appeal as I understand it as presented to me by your office, please notify me of any errata or clarify my misunderstandings.

The Day Group (hereafter referred to as DG) have appealed the Environment Agency (hereafter referred to as EA) decision to refuse an environmental permit for their now constructed IBA plant at Avonmouth Dock adjacent to my property; I understand that the plant was constructed without the relevant planning permission being obtained from the local authority and that the Day Group are relying on the granting of a Lawful Use Of Land Certificate issued in error by Bristol City Council (hereafter referred to as BCC) as permission granted to erect the structure – Certificate ref:14/00824/CP.

DG have submitted a document titled: Avonmouth Grounds of Appeal 2.2 02 06 17-1.pdf (10 pages), which sets out their position and specific contested points of appealing the EA decision to you, for consideration as decision maker in those matters.

Your office has allocated 21 days from notice for interested parties to respond to you and a hearing will be set for later in 2017 (around October).

I do have a concern about the appeal process as set out currently: it would seem on examination of the document provided that DG have not actually included evidence for consideration, just a generalised statement that at some point they will be presenting statements of evidence that will illustrate that the EA were remiss and incorrect in their assessment of the original permit application; from my perspective this lack of detail, coupled with the restrictive timescale of 21 days placed upon me and any other notified individuals to submit our comments or evidence to your office, could disadvantage our cases and abrogate our rights unfairly.

BCC have issued a Planning Contravention Notice to DG as they have confirmed a material breach of planning regulations has taken place after DG started construction after BCC informed DG the permitted development rights relied upon did not cover an industrial installation. Letter from Jonathan Chick to the Port attached to this mail. Until the issue around planning permission has been resolved I do not see how the EA or the Sec State can grant a license to DG to begin operations as the site is both illegal and unlawful at present. BCC have indicated that should this matter go for retrospective planning permission it would be highly unlikely to succeed. I am in the process of giving instructions in relation to these matters and I am seeking a demolition notice to be served by BCC to DG to resolve the torts caused by the actions of DG and inactions of other parties.

I have included my original response to the application for your records and would welcome the opportunity to cross examine DG evidence at the hearing when eventually submitted for examination. Please let me know the dates so I can attend and give my own evidence for consideration as an impacted party.

The broad basis for my arguments against DG  are:

    • The definition of IBA as an inert and non-hazardous product rather than hazardous waste.
    • The failure of the planning framework, local authority and EA in permitting this site for industrial operations historically and for this development.
    • The failure of DEFRA and the previous secretary of state Liz Truss to act upon the known issues with this site and others permitted in the immediate vicinity previously.
    • The original submission by DG to the EA on points not appealed by DG.

I would like to be provided with any further submissions by parties involved in good time before the hearing, please forward when received. I reserve my rights to add to my submissions as evidence becomes available within the case.

Regards,

Avonmouth Resident.

Yes, you did read that correctly – ” I am in the process of giving INSTRUCTIONS in relation to these matters and I am seeking a demolition notice to be served by BCC to DG.”

The “Instructions” are from Avonmouth residents to LAWYERS and the stated objective is for the Day Group/Port of Bristol poison plant to go – regardless of what Bristol City Council’s bent planners overseen by a bunch of fucking useless councillors, cabinet members and mayors, in the back pocket of port-owning Merchant Venturers, want.

We urge you to watch this space. This is going to get very interesting indeed …