Tag Archives: Society of Merchant Venturers

CITY’S SLAVE CULT SETTLED LIBEL ACTION AFTER SMEARING ANTI RACISTS

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Brown: RESIGNED

Press releases tumbling out of the Society of Merchant Venturers since the fall of Colston on Sunday 7 June 2020 have left campaigners against the cult and their slave trade icon gobsmacked.

“The statue of Edward Colston was removed from Bristol’s city centre last weekend and the fact that it has gone is right for Bristol,” the Venturers innocently chirped to the press late on a Friday evening about a statue they fought a bitter and underhand battle for years to maintain at the heart of city.

Public warm words and contrition now are in stark contrast to the cult’s attitude as recently as 2018. Then the Merchant’s misfiring education wing, the Venturers Trust, which runs Colston Girls School and  Withywood’s Merchants Academy as well as string of primary schools across the city, accused Colston campaigners and anti-racists of terror offences.

The damaging smear, a deliberate attempt to destroy the careers and reputations of campaigners prepared to directly challenge our city’s wealthy and influential Colston cult, came after Countering Colston’s Christine Townsend submitted a formal objection to the Office of the  School Adjudicator in April 2018 about admission arrangements at Colston’s Girls School.

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Smallwood: RESIGNED

During this adjudication process, in letters to the Adjudicator and to Bristol’s Local Education Authority, signed by senior Merchant Venturer Anthony Brown of the Venturers Trust, they claimed that Christine had harassed children and associated her with a bomb threat to Colston Girls School. They even demanded that the Home Office’s PREVENT Programme to tackle homegrown terrorism investigate Christine and other members of Countering Colston.

The Adjudicator ignored Brown’s absurd fabrications as the Adjudication process deals exclusively with school admissions and a ruling on this appeared in August 2018. The local authority told the Merchants they needed to speak with the police, not a local council, in line with long established children’s safeguarding processes an academy chain should be familiar with.

Throughout the summer of 2018 the Venturers Trust ignored all correspondence and refused to retract and apologise for the kind of damaging smears that can cost people hard-earned careers. Eventually, in August 2018, a Civil Procedure Rules Pre-Action Protocol was served on Anthony Brown as Chair of Colston Girls Schools and trustee of the Venturers Trust. Christine was suing for libel.

By February 2019, with neither Brown, Colston Girls School or the Venturers Trust able to produce a shred of evidence for their claims, a written apology and a full and detailed retraction of their allegations was received by Christine from Anthony Brown. The proven liar also quietly resigned as Chair of Colston Girls School and a Trustee of the Venturers Trust. Oddly, Trevor Smallwood, a former Master of the Merchant Venturers, followed Brown out of the door as Chair of the Venturers Trust. The typical fanfare the local press reserves for vain old Venturers for their much-vaunted charitable and voluntary work was noticeably absent.

No explanation for Brown and Smallwood’s sudden departure from running one of the city’s leading academy chains has ever been publicly provided by The Venturers Trust or the Merchant Venturers. While the editor of the Bristol Post, Mike Norton, has declined to publish this news, almost certainly in the public interest, that his newspaper has held for over a year.

Are we to believe it is so entirely unremarkable for senior Merchant Venturers running academy chains to be proven liars that it is not worthy of news or comment? Or is the city’s wealthy slave trade cult so malignly powerful and influential it can easily silence our city’s senior media figures in order to maintain their false reputation?

Why are these wealthy men allowed to continue getting away with it and what else haven’t you heard about the Colston cultists dominating our city?

HOW BRISTOL WORKS

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Meet Merchant Venturer Trevor Smallwood, a very wealthy man indeed. Like a number of Venturers, Smallwood obtained the majority of his wealth courtesy of Thatcherite privatisation policies and ended his career as chairman of First Group, who count Bristol’s buses among a portfolio of public transport service mediocrities run for shareholder benefit. Smallwood, from a fairly ordinary background, has used his wealth to climb the social ladder and has been the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Somerset and the Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, the top job at the racist cult.

2009: Smallwood finally loses in the Court of Appeal and is forced to pay £2.7m in Corporation Tax to the Inland Revenue after attempting to dodge the tax via a Trust Fund – of which he was a beneficiary – that had been temporarily based in Mauritius. The tax was due on a £6m sale of shares in First Group held by the trust that were sold in 2001. His tax advisors at the Bristol office of big four accountants Price Waterhouse Cooper had encouraged Smallwood’s trust to sell these shares only after its governance had been transferred to Mauritius in a transparent attempt for the share sale to come under the jurisdiction of Mauritian tax law rather than British. A tax dodge that publicly and spectacularly failed.

2014: UWE Bristol awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration to Trevor Smallwood OBE DL in recognition of his, er, “entrepreneurial and charity work”. Tax dodging, apparently, being no bar to gaining the highest honour from one of our city’s universities.

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So does it come as any surprise that, also, in 2014 UWE Bristol’s Vice Chancellor, over-promoted podiatrist Prof Steve West, became a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers? But what on earth for? Why would a leader of an allegedly progressive institution wish to join a racist organisation best known among the majority of progressives in the city for openly lying to generations of children for sanctifying and sanitising their hero, the slave trader Edward Colston?

What’s in this bizarre arrangement for West exactly? What’s in it for the public he’s supposed to serve? And how much longer are UWE staff and students going to tolerate their boss hanging out with racists and tax dodgers? His position as both a Venturer and head of a higher education institution that aspires to be anti-racist is surely untenable? Or, like tax dodging, is being a member of a racist cult a cause for public celebration and honours when you’re part of Bristol’s self-styled elite?

“Do as we say. Not as we do.”

WEST WING WATCH

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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?

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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?