Tag Archives: Society of Merchant Venturers

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 …

BOARD NEWS

A home. How many will we get for £160million?

Bristol City Council has very, very quietly released limited membership details of its BRISTOL HOMES BOARD, tasked with spending a headline figure of £160m of our money to resolve the city’s housing crisis.

Naturally the equaliser, the Reverend Rees, has opted for a 75 per cent male, all-white board (except himself) stuffed with incompetent TIME-SERVERS and serial QUANGOCRATS to spend this large wedge of public money.

Alongside the Reverend and his sidekick, Labour housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith, you’ll find Alison “THREE JOBS” Comley, a senior city council boss and direct subordinate of Rees and Smith, hardly best placed to speak truth to power. Especially as she’s up to her neck in the council’s £30m unlawful budget scandal and is yet to be cleared.

Alison is joined by luminaries such as Stephen “What Crisis?”Teagle from Galliford Try Partnerships, a front for the corporate that runs house builders, LINDEN HOMES. Last year, Linden saw profits rise 21 per cent to £74.3m while its average house cost a mere £338,000. The company also boasts to shareholders that it has a LANDBANK of 14,250 plots. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis for them does it?

Also on the board is Knightstone Housing Association boss Nick Horne “Blower”. He was last seen sat on his useless lazy arse as a board member for West of England LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) while, directly under his nose, BAE sold their Filton Airfield land to YTL Homes UK. YTL is run by Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett who also happened to be the Chair of er, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership! This blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST clearly passed Nick by, even though the LEP was given a key role in marketing and developing the airfield for sale with the public money he was overseeing!

Nick also waved through TWO PAYMENTS from the LEP to board member George Ferguson’s Beer Factory and Bristol Brewing Company totalling £62k. A further £92k was paid to a company owned by one of Ferguson’s political donors, Alasdair “Sorearse” Sawday. What were these handouts for? Who knows? Because NO MINUTES exist of these board decisions and no documents indicating Ferguson’s interests were ever published by Horne’s LEP!

Also getting rewarded for serial incompetence and moving across from the useless board of the LEP to oversee millions of pounds of our money for housing in Bristol is Business West bigwig James “Licker” Durie.  Not only is he unlikely to raise any difficult questions about any handouts to wealthy locals, he’s also a notorious salaried lackey for the MERCHANT VENTURERS.

Making up the numbers on the Rev’s quietly appointed board are a couple of posh public schoolboys turned voluntary sector luvvies – David “HAPPY CAMPER” Ingerslev from multi-million homeless charity St Mungos and the CEO of Elim Housing Association, Alistair “HEAD BOY” Allender. No doubt Head Boy can bring his street-level experience from Birkenhead School, “a top performing independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 months to 18” and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences to bear?

Further INEFFECTUAL luvvie input on our Homes Board will be supplied by Bevis Watts “The Fuck”, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. He’s a serial quangocrat who boasts the pie, booze and cash giveaway to the wealthy that was the board of the Green Capital, Bristol 2015 Ltd, on his CV!

Adding a healthy dose of surrealism to the whole affair, the board also has a ‘Head of Multi-Channel Fulfilment’ at the table – Debbie “Fulfil Me” Franklin from the Andrews Property Group, a local LETTINGS AGENCY, no less. Career bureaucrat David “The Loaf” Warburton from the Homes and Community Agency quango is also along for the £160m public money ride

The small amount of hope we can invest in this board lies with the final two members. Geraldine Winkler, a housing solicitor with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre and Tom Renhard, a member of tenants union ACORN. He also sits on the board of the Avon Pension Fund for some random reason and we note with concern that Renhard was funded by local authority bosses’ union UNISON to help him get on to this pension board. It’s unclear, too, whether Renhard was a personal appointment by the Vicar or whether he was chosen directly by Acorn members.

As always, it’s just as interesting to note who ISN’T on the committee – seasoned troublemakers or gobshites known to be prepared to stand up to a committee of pie-munching land dealing wankers who forget to keep minutes. And It’s further worth noting that there was no sign of a competitive application process to join this board disbursing £160m of our cash. Instead membership is entirely courtesy of the political PATRONAGE of the Reverend Mayor Rees well away from any scrutiny by councillors and public.

The last “PUBLIC MEETING” of this board took place on 29 June. Despite being “public”, no reports were issued and the board was, instead, treated to a series of Max Wide “Boy” style verbal briefings and crappy Powerpoint presentations that will never be seen again. Already, we have to ask, are these board members doing their jobs properly?

There may be trouble ahead …

Colston Hall Name Change – Hally McHallface?

From our history correspondent…

It’s official, last week the board of the Bristol Music Trust (BMT) announced the Colston Hall will be changing its name. The Hall which has been in public hands since 1919 will be renamed in 2020 as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment.

Some history…

Before we start, we should get the history straight, as the fake-history from the Bishop of Bristol to the Merchant Venturers’ spin, plenty of porkies have been told about Edward ‘The Enslaver’ Colston.

From 1680-92 Edward Colston was an investor, official and eventually deputy governor of the Royal African Company (RAC), the premier Atlantic slave trading organisation in the British Empire. Under Edward Colston’s management and leadership of the RAC, approximately 84,500 enslaved Africans were branded and forced onto the company’s ships. Only 65,200 Africans survived the trip, a death toll in the region of 19,300 over the twelve year period. Of the 9,000 or so enslaved children under the age of 10 on Colston’s company slave-ships, more than 2,000 died, their bodies along with the adults were thrown overboard. The survivors, who were sold to plantation owners in the Caribbean, faced a short and brutal life of hard labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it wasn’t just Africans that businessmen like Colston and the Merchant Venturers forced into labour. They were quite willing to coerce thousands of vulnerable Bristolians and others into working in their plantations through poverty (indentured servants) and legal (POW’s, ‘criminals’, orphans) and illegal (spiriting) bondage.

The profits of this ‘vile trade’ and the labour of hundreds of thousands in the plantations flowed back to wealthy investors like Colston and other Merchant Venturers. Colston wanted to be remembered as a ‘moral saint’ (sic) so he bequeathed some of his fabulous wealth made off the backs of Africans and others, to selected groups in the city that conformed to his religious and political bias. And the rest was history…until now. Finally, we can start to get Edward ‘The Enslaver’ off our backs.

Havin’ a laugh…

We have been chuckling in The Bristolian office over the last few days reading some of the reactions from right-wing nobs who are in love with ‘Eddy the Enslaver’

Bunter Eddy showing his class

Apparently Tory Councillor Richard ‘Bunter’ Eddy will now be boycotting the Hall because it is not named after Colston! Is this because he will only go to venues that are named after slave-traders? Message from The Bristolian to Richard Eddy…Bristol is not named after a slave trader, so please try and boycott the whole city….in fact why don’t you fuck off altogether.

City Council Conservative group leader Mark Weston claimed it was a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction…tell that to the Reverend H. J. Wilkins of Westbury-on-Trym who began the campaign against the ‘cult of Colston’ nearly a century ago with his scathing biography of Edward Colston in 1920!

Obsessive Nazi Post letter writer R. L. Smith (the ‘know all’ from Knowle) ranted on about Counter-Colston campaigners ‘erasing history’ and ‘burning books’ until it was pointed out he had been campaigning to shut Bristol’s libraries for years! Twat.

Some have said that Bristol Music Trust are ‘pandering to a tiny minority’; it was actually a tiny minority of powerful merchants and politicians that put Colston on the pedestal that he sits on today. The majority of Bristolians never had a say in the naming of buildings, statues or streets. The tiny minority that the city should stop pandering to are the Society of Merchant Venturers who, since their Royal Charter of 1552, have been dictating who should or should not be memorialised – it’s for the people of Bristol to decide who is remembered and why – and there are plenty of great candidates.

Changing names and places… what about our history?

So what’s next for a Colston name change?…Colston Boys and Girls Schools? How awful darling… and how ironic considering the Merchant Venturers and their education buddies have been changing the names of our schools like confetti over the last few years. What ever happened to Whitefield, Withywood, Speedwell and St George schools let alone Hartcliffe and Monks Park? Seems like when it comes to our schools the names can be changed without debate by posh wankers from Clifton. And none of these schools were named after mass-murdering slave traders!

The same goes for buildings of historic interest. It has been pointed out to many of the opponents of the name change that, for fucks sake, it is only the name of the Colston Hall that is changing; the building is not being demolished. Unlike half of Temple Way and the historic Methodist Ebenezer Chapel and Avonvale School in East Bristol which were flattened without any debate by rich property speculators. It seems Bristolian working class history is worth shit compared to the history of murdering profiteers like Colston and the Merchant Venturers.

Of course, the next battle will be over the new name for the Ex-Colston Hall. A sensible solution would be to open it up to the people of Bristol to choose a name (what like Hally McHallface? ed). More likely is that some wealthy scumbag or a Corporation will buy the brand off the cash-strapped Council and it will end up as ‘Sir Rich Bastard Hall‘ or ‘Carphone Warehouse Hall’. Just like in the olden days when wealthy scum like Edward Colston and the Merchant Venturers had the run of the city and named everything after themselves…

FAKE HISTORY BISHOP QUITS

Bishop Mike the Mercenary

Bristol’s slave trade apologist Church of England chief vicar is finally throwing in the towel. Cambridge educated Bishop Mike “THE MERCENARY” Hill will finally retire in September.

Mike the Mercenary became engulfed in controversy in 2014 when he was recorded LYING to a congregation of schoolchildren. During a private ‘Charter Day’ celebration of EDWARD COLSTON at Bristol Cathedral, Hill told the children that Colston had “lived a life of significance” and there “may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots”.

This is, of course, a load of bollocks and FAKE HISTORY. There is no speculation about Colston’s role as a major 18TH CENTURY SLAVE TRADER nor in his role running the Royal Africa Company, which had a monopoly on the Atlantic slave trade during much of his tenure.

Between 1672 and 1689, Colston’s company transported around 100,000 enslaved Africans to the West Indies and America. This included children as young as six. Each slave BRANDED with the company’s initials, RAC, on their chest.

To maximise profit, Colston’s ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy KILLED MORE THAN 20,000 enslaved Africans during the crossings. Their bodies were thrown overboard. None of this is speculation.

Hill attempted to brush Colston’s slave trading under the carpet during a private ceremony at Bristol Cathedral. The venue – along with a useful idiot senior Church of England Vicar – is hired by the city’s super-rich Society of Merchant Venturers every year to promote their FAKE NEWS version of their hero Edward Colston to school children attending Venturer funded schools.

Anyone wishing to throw a bucket of piss or rotten tomatoes over this old establishment racist, liar and fraud should note his last service will take place at Bristol Cathedral on 23 September at 3.30pm.

SECRET HUSTINGS

Leigh-Court-Header2A new phenomenon is emerging at this year’s mayoral election – THE SECRET HUSTINGS. Apparently, petrified mainstream candidates, scared of the Bristolian public – and some of the other independent candidates – and the questions they might ask, are meeting carefully selected audiences at UNDISCLOSED VENUES to answer questions.

The main victims of this process – so far – have been INDEPENDENT MAYORAL CANDIDATES Christine “Pete” Townsend and Paul “Mister Tea” Savile who are deliberately NOT invited to these hustings. Coincidentally, both have been raising difficult questions for the other candidates.

Townsend has been highlighting the dubious practice of SELECTION BY WEALTH AND CLASS in Bristol’s secondary schools while Savile has been addressing issues around street homelessness, particularly the council’s REFUSAL to open any of their buildings for temporary shelter to the growing number of people living on the streets.

This situation has already created one wholesale FARCE with Savile visiting FIVE different venues in search of a SECRET HUSTINGS on housing issues. The hustings were attended by the establishment-approved candidates (George, Labour, Lib Dem, Green and Tory) and a selected audience of polite and non-troublemaking housing “professionals” and “experts”.

Savile did eventually locate the meeting and even managed to blag his way in. But how many more wankers are there in this city prepared to run fiascos like this over the next two months under the guise of democracy?

The Bristolian also learns that Mayor Venturer, Labour’s Marvin “Luther” Rees and Tory, Charles “Thicko” Lucas attended another SECRET HUSTINGS at the Business West HQ at LEIGH COURT MANSION in February.

We understand the Merchant Venturer front organisation held a 45-minute audience with each candidate who were, no doubt, GRILLED on their acceptability to the city’s SHADY BUSINESS ELITE. Luther Rees, in particular, is very tight-lipped about this secret meeting and what he’s promised them.

Let’s hope he hasn’t got one public message for us and another secret one for the wealthy elite!

SLAVERY PROTEST SPUN BY COLSTON’S SCHOOL AND MEDIA

Headteacher Alistair “Snooty” Perry from COLSTON GIRLS SCHOOL recently created a media storm after sending a letter to parents suggesting that pupils had been “approached by strangers in a forthright manner.

He went on to say that his school would be “reviewing our policies for student movement around the local area, including Year 11 leaving the school at lunchtime” after a protest at the annual ‘celebrations’ for slave-trader EDWARD COLSTON on 7 November at BRISTOL CATHEDRAL.

Since then the national and local media – led by the idle Guardian scribbler STEVEN MORRIS who appeared to phone in some South West News Service copy to head office – have spun the story with claims that:

  • ‘Protesters target girls’ and ‘accost’ them in the street (The Times)
  • ‘Schoolgirls are being warned about wearing their uniforms in public’ (The Daily Mail, The Sun)
  • ‘Campaigners have also mounted demonstrations outside the school’ (Nazi Post)

All are far from the truth and there’s been no response from Colston School who began the whole affair with a ridiculous scaremongering letter to parents suggesting that their children were in danger.

The protestors have pointed out in a statement that the leafleting outside the Cathedral was in response to last year’s ‘celebrations’ of slave-trader Colston. When the  BISHOP OF BRISTOL claimed that Colston had ‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some SPECULATION on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’.

Speculation? The educational leaflets given out by protestors simply told the history of Colston after BISHOP BONKERS had failed to tell the whole truth to school children forced to attend the ‘celebration’ the previous year.

Here is the statement from the protestors:

PROTEST OUTSIDE BRISTOL CATHEDRAL AT COLSTON COMMEMORATIONS INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL

Several newspapers published articles on 17 November about children from a Colston school in Bristol, being accosted. This may relate to events 10 days earlier, where there was a public protest outside Bristol Cathedral on 7 November, aimed at the Colston commemorations going on inside the cathedral.

We refute strongly that children were accosted on 7 November. We believe the school have overreacted to events of 7 November 2015 by unduly alarming parents and children and being economical with the truth. Inside the Cathedral, whilst preparations were being undertaken to mark Colston’s Founder’s Day attended by Colston girls school, we were protesting outside.

At the time of my arrival there were 6 of us. Our protest entailed distributing leaflets headed:  ‘WHY WE ARE PROTESTING OUTSIDE TODAY’ that explained our presence, one of us holding a lighted candle. Our presence and activities were always in a visible public space with staff present.

Shortly, another 6 joined us. Among us: a retired teacher, a security guard, a historian, a grandparent who had dropped off a child to the ceremony, a teacher, three artists, a mother with a toddler in a buggy and a former student of Colston Girls. We are representative of the Bristol population whom the children live among.

We believe the teachers only panicked because they did not have a risk assessment in place that anticipated protest. Had the staff that were present with the children read the leaflets (here), that they were so quick to take off the children, they would have realised, it was the Merchant Venturer’s commemoration of Charter day and the Bishop’s comments in the Cathedral in 2014 that brought us as individuals to protest outside the Cathedral.

We found students bright, attentive and curious. Many were entering the Cathedral with little understanding of who Colston was or indeed why they were there. Others were keen to learn more and asked for leaflets.

Education takes place everywhere. We were not outside any school or in the street harassing children. Our aim was to protest at a ceremony in a significant religious and spiritual place of worship, ‘celebrating’ a controversial historical figure without acknowledging his direct involvement in the propagation of slavery and his amassed wealth from slave trading activities.

Neither did the ceremony seek to honour the memory and suffering of Africans and others exploited by the slave trade, creating memorialisation dissent in the Bristol community. This is what we are seeking to publicly highlight and change.

Why is this controversial?

The spreading of panic and fear in children and parents through the media glosses over public dissent and smothers the truth.

We are open to meeting with the Colston’s School, the Bishop and the Cathedral for discussion on a way forward.

COLSTON AND SLAVERY STILL OBSCURED?

On Friday 7 November a group of Bristolian activists leafleted people and children entering the Colston Schools Commemoration Day at Bristol Cathedral.

This protest came about because of a discussion at a Black History month event in St Pauls a few days before. The two leaflets below were handed out. The first for pupils and the second one for adults.

They have proved more controversial and provoked more of a reaction than the protestors could possibly have imagined:

WHY WE ARE PROTESTING OUTSIDE TODAY

We are Bristol residents concerned about the Colston founder day/charter day ceremonies about to take place in the city’s cathedral today and next week, following the public of words spoken by the Bishop in last year’s ceremony. In 2014 he stated that Edward Colston had: ‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’

It is not speculation but fact that the bulk of the money Colston gave away ‘for charitable purposes’, which built two of your schools, was generated off the backs of African slaves working in sugar plantations. Is this charity?

The memory of Africans (mere commodities under slavery) forcibly removed from their West African homelands, branded, their names taken from them, working under the sun, the slave driver lash at their backs, should be remembered, whenever the name Colston is mentioned.

Colston used his money to court influence and power in the city andParliament. He lends money to the Bristol City Corporation (city council) one year and becomes a member of the society of the Merchant Venturers the next…..

Ceremonies held in a cathedral, private or otherwise, presided over by the Bishop of Bristol, with hundreds of Bristol children in attendance, where the Bishop chooses to speculate over this fact and not give dignity to the memory of African ancestors who were dehumanised, are perverse.

We are using our presence to provide balance in education. Use the central library next door and the internet to find out the truth about:

 Edward Colston and other Bristol slave traders

 The Merchant Venturers

 The slave and sugar trade in Bristol

 Slave rebellions in America and the Caribbean

 The movement for the abolition of slavery

 Talk to your parents and teachers at school

 

COLSTON AND SLAVERY STILL OBSCURED?

At last year’s Merchant Venturers Charter Day service at the cathedral the Bishop of Bristol, stated that Edward Colston had:

‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’

The Bishop of Bristol’s clumsy attempt to rewrite history, effectively claiming that Colston’s involvement in the business of the slave trade was ‘speculation’ is unsurprising. A similar kind of air brushing occurred during a BBC televised debate in 2007 (the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade) when a spokesperson for the Merchant Venturers, claimed that his organisation had not traded in slave-produced commodities! This produced a mixture of laughter and howls of derision from the assembled historians in the studio audience.

This is nothing new. Colston’s extensive political and financial involvement in promoting slavery and the trade in human cargo has been obscured by the Merchant Venturers and their devotees for centuries. It took until the 1920s before his dealings in the ‘vile trade’ first began to be exposed. The problem for the Merchant Venturers and their ilk is simply this: if you set up one of your beneficent members as the ‘father of Bristol’, bang up statues1 and name streets and buildings after him; then the truth becomes politically inconvenient.

So what are the myths and what is the truth about Edward Colston?

 Colston was held up in the Victorian period as an example of ‘a self-made man’. This was far from true. Privately educated Colston was born into a wealthy merchant family in Bristol who were already embedded in the Merchant Venturers by the time he was born in 1636.

 In 1680 the profit-chasing Colston followed a number of his family into the Royal African Company (RAC), the premier slaving organisation in the British Empire. During the heyday of the RAC from 1672 to 1698 the organisation had a complete monopoly over the trade in human cargo from West Africa. Colston rose rapidly to the board of the company in this period becoming its deputy governor in 1689.

 Between 1672 and 1689, Colston’s company transported around 100,000 enslaved Africans to plantations in the West Indies and America. This included women and children as young as six – each slave was branded with company’s initials, RAC, on their chest. To maximise profit, Colston’s ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom, so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy killed more than 20,000 slaves during the crossings. Their bodies were thrown overboard.

 During this period Colston secretly accrued immense wealth which he then multiplied again by acting as a money lender. The bulk of this fortune, originally obtained from the exploitation of forced labour, became his passport to civic and political power in Bristol.

 Colston is often portrayed as a Christ-like figure giving without prejudice to the ‘poor’ of Bristol. In fact he was a Christian fundamentalist who hated Catholics and non-conformists; in fact anyone who wasn’t part of the High Anglican church. For Colston, only the ‘right-kind’ of poor and orphans were due his charity and even then they had to be physically and ideologically disciplined into strict religious observance before they would be allowed to ‘kiss the benefactors hand’.

 Colston was an old-school Tory loyalist who believed in the divine right of kings, despised Whigs and fought tooth and nail against ‘dangerous’ ideas such as ‘democracy’ and ‘enfranchisement’.
History is full of profiteers, gangsters and exploiters who toss ill-gotten wealth from the high table downwards in order to appease their own egos or to gain civic pride and status. Colston fits neatly into a long line of British slavers, colonial warlords and drug dealers that profited from the misery of colonisation and forced labour, whilst building respectable identities through philanthropy in the ‘mother country’.

The question is: For how much longer are school children expected to commemorate Colston in the city’s cathedral whilst conveniently disregarding the memory of enslaved Africans whose lives were brutalised and cheapened by the trade in human cargo? The Bishop of Bristol needs to inform school children of the truth, to restore humanity dignity to the memory of those whose lives were commodified. After all it is he that presides over these commemorations. The ball is in his court…….

(BRHG, 05-11-2015)

PDFs:

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colston leaflet_pupils