A4/A3/Large poster version pdf: Steve-Norman-poster.pdf
By The Bristol Blogger
I first came across Steve Norman in late 2004. Ian Bone, then editor of The Bristolian, called one evening: “You’ve got to meet Steve Norman and Andy Richardson. Top geezers! They’re running a campaign directly with the elderly and learning disabled to save their daycare centres, which are being shut down by the council.
“The protests are crazy. You’ve never seen anything like it. Steve was quoting Martin McGuiness’s ‘Armalite and ballot box strategy’ to me. They’re doing a protest next month outside the Council House. Make sure you get there.”
So that’s how I found myself outside Bristol’s Council House on a crisp January morning in 2005 at some protest to save something I didn’t know much about. Although that was about to change because Bone was right, I’d never seen anything quite like this before.
A protest over council cuts in those days would usually consist of eight – maybe ten – well-meaning socialists brandishing a few crappy placards and a fake petition for the public to sign. Maybe they’d be accompanied by someone flogging a badly written newspaper listing the crimes of the Labour government alongside an urgent plea to join their marginal socialist sect.
This protest consisted of about 20 elderly and learning disabled people accompanied by Andy and – as the public ringmaster-in-chief with a megaphone in hand – Steve. However, the genius of this protest didn’t lie with Steve’s quickfire Bristolian epithets aimed at various social service bosses and out-of-touch Labour councillors but with the 20-odd extremely vulnerable elderly and disabled people who were very, very slowly trooping across the pelican crossing on Park Street directly outside the Council House.
When a protestor finally made it to the other side, they would press the button to cross again and wait for the ‘green man’ pedestrian light. Meanwhile, the other nineteen would continue their ramshackle progress across Park Street. By the time they all finally reached one side, the green man appeared, allowing them to troop across the road all over again!
Few cars were going anywhere that morning. Traffic chaos engulfed the heart of the city directly outside its notional seat of power and there was fuck all anybody could do about it! Motorists might be fuming but they were hardly going to get out of their cars and start threatening a load of vulnerable adults, some with zimmer frames, others in wheelchairs.
The police arrived, mildly (and not very realistically) threatening arrests. Only to be told by Steve they would require full risk assessments and specialist lifting equipment before they attempted to remove anyone in a wheelchair into a police vehicle. The police seemed to accept this logic and drifted away to do something more useful or, maybe, they were trying to find their equalities policy and a disabled access police van with a wheelchair lift? (Steve knew perfectly well that the Avon & Somerset Police had no such vehicle in service. Police were therefore unable to arrest or legally remove wheelchair using protestors).
Meanwhile, the target of the protests, Bristol’s councillors and senior council officers remained hiding behind closed doors. Not one of them daring to venture the few metres outside to meet with their own vulnerable service users on a chilly January morning. Stephen McNamara, the council’s legal boss and town clerk, then at the height of his high camp wig-wearing “Look-at-me-I’m-a-very-important-man-I-am” phase, was even stationed in the lobby of the Council House to personally prevent any of his vulnerable adult service users accessing the toilets!
The protest broke up after a couple of hours when council transport arrived to return the service users to Lockleaze Day Centre for their lunch. Steve and Andy invited me to come to a ‘Campaign to Save Daycare in Bristol’ meeting.
These meetings happened most Thursday evenings in a back room at the – now – sadly demolished Wedlocks pub at Ashton Gate. From this disorganised ragbag of vulnerable service users, carers, political activists and anyone else who showed up – sort of led by Steve and Andy often with their heads in their hands – a ‘spring offensive’ of actions was devised and launched.
This offensive kicked off on the 1 March at the annual budget meeting of Bristol City Council. A meeting flooded with the elderly, disabled and their carers. So many attended that wheelchairs lined the length of chamber and a victory came early when it was announced that Labour’s piss weak and wimpy council leader, Peter Hammond, had thrown a sickie and his long-suffering deputy, Helen Holland, would be standing in for him. Lib Dem Councillor Simon Cook, that year’s Lord Mayor, provided further amusement prior to the meeting when he agreed to depart from tradition and let the public speak at a budget meeting “as long as you don’t mention Hitler”.
Helen managed to mumble through almost five minutes of her boss Hammond’s odious justification for cuts to the city’s most vulnerable at the height of an economic boom for the rich when the council chamber descended into chaos and the budget meeting – as planned by the council – ground to a halt. Kicked off by a single carer interrupting her speech and loudly accusing Helen “of trying to fucking kill me” in 2003, the Hitler speech was soon rolled out by another protestor as councillors, the Lord Mayor and town clerk, McNamara, resplendent on his throne in his absurd judges wig, were aggressively heckled into silence.
A full blown retreat by councillors from the chamber soon followed when Steve and Andy handcuffed themselves to a rail in the public gallery and McNamara was confronted with the reality that he had lost all control of his own council meeting and had no means of restoring order. He had no clue how to remove the handcuffs from Steve and Andy and couldn’t use his security to throw out any other protestors. Even he understood manhandling any vulnerable adults he was legally responsible for protecting out of his building might end badly.
The people had seized the council chamber and the Lord Mayor, councillors and highly-paid administrators from the UK’s eighth largest city were cowering from vulnerable adults in a back room unable to set a legal budget for the city. Mission accomplished.
Many of the “spring offensive” actions have now taken on a near mythical status. Not least, the Friday afternoon of March 18 2005 when twelve service users occupied their own day centre in Lockleaze after some of them handcuffed themselves to rails and refused to leave at the end of the day. Steve, Andy and friends remained outside all night, supporting the occupiers – and thwarting the plans of council staff, who had to remain on site to “protect” service users, to starve out the occupiers – by pushing fish and chip takeaways through an open second floor window on long sticks.
The occupation created a huge amount of high profile coverage from the press, TV and radio. While the council’s daft PR man, Simon Caplan, invited open ridicule and more publicity when he helpfully explained, from the front page of the local newspaper, that the protest “served no useful purpose”. Except introducing the daycare campaign to new audiences across the city through headline coverage on every available local news platform!With the wind in their sails, the campaign moved on to even more logistically complex protests. Within hours of the announcement by Tony Blair of the 2005 General Election on April 5, Steve and a number of protestors with major mobility problems had occupied the Labour Party’s first floor South West HQ on Portland Square with an ITV News camera crew in tow!
On May 3 2005, just days before the election, Steve and protestors targeted hundreds of bank holiday customers at @Bristol. Many of these punters were less-than-impressed that the learning disabled and the frail elderly were having to take the streets to campaign to keep their own services. Bristol’s Labour boss for social services, Robin Moss, however, insisted to reporters that the daycare protests were “political stunts”. Although the real political stunt arrived just a few days later when Moss was unceremoniously dumped out of his Easton council ward by the Lib Dems while his party was similarly dumped out of power in Bristol, again, by the Lib Dems.
Steve, Andy and the protestors weren’t done yet and continued putting pressure on the new Lib Dem administration that had promised a review of daycare services during the election. On June 6 2015, the group appeared on College Green directly outside the Council House for the day with a series of 10ft-high placards directly naming seven council officers under a large headline: “Bristol social services’ list of uncaring professionals”.
This produced an aggressive response from town clerk and part time Council House toilet attendant, Stephen McNamara. “If necessary,” the wannabe tough guy thundered from the pages of the Evening Post, “the council will take legal action through the courts to prevent any such activity. The council will not tolerate its employees being harassed in this way.”
Steve loved these kind of threats from puffed up bureaucrats. “This campaign will not be bullied by city council legal mumbo jumbo and empty threats,” he replied in the same article. While he told the BBC, “I would love a legal action for the publicity”. That same day, Steve publicly forwarded his name and address to McNamara, inviting him to take immediate legal action. Steve was only too happy to see this – or any other – pompous old fool, who habitually made the law up to suit the interests of the powerful, in a proper court where the real law would apply.
When Steve, predictably, received no response from McNamara, he borrowed a flat-bed truck and on June 11 2005 spent the day humiliating the council by driving around the city centre, followed by a convoy of the press, parading his ten foot placards publicly shaming the same seven council employees all over again.
And the council’s response? Immediate legal action? Police? Arrests? Injunction? ASBO? Er, no, unconditional surrender and an invitation to Steve and the protestors to immediately attend talks with the Lib Dems to try and settle the dispute. Within weeks of these talks, the Lockleaze Day Centre was officially saved and the campaign drew to a close.
Steve went on to fight many more battles after this one. But the basic template of the ‘Armalite and ballot box strategy’ altered little: use persistent and high profile PR-friendly direct action ignoring all police and legal threats from weak and desperate politicians until the useless fuckers surrender. And they always will.
More here too.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light …
Ecstatic scenes today as Reverend “The Cutter” Rees and his council of useless halfwits who can’t organise opening hours for a laundry badly LOST the first, second and third rounds of the trial of century! The case, which was moved to Bristol Magistrates Court due to flooding at the jerry built Labour-PFI funded Civil Justice Centre, got off to a bad start for Rees and then – Ho! Ho! – got even WORSE!
Rees’s scumbag housing lawyer Robin “Arsehole” Denford – who makes his living getting the poor of the city thrown on to the street by the courts – set a losing tone for the day when he slimed up to Stormin’ Norman prior to the case begging for an ADJOURNMENT because he needed “MORE TIME“.
Of course he did. Six months to sort out a SIMPLE CONSENSUS on what hours a residential laundry facility is going to be open for is clearly not enough time for Bristol City Council’s management and legal imbeciles is it? Steve was having none of this adjournment crap, however, and told Denford in no uncertain terms to get his SORRY LITTLE ARSE in the court and in front of the judge. ROUND ONE to Norman.
Once in court, Denford marshalled his amazing legal argument that the Housing Act that governs Steve’s tenancy wasn’t at all relevant to a case about, er, Steve’s tenancy and the case should be struck out immediately. Alas, the judge wasn’t having any of this strike out crap and REJECTED the council’s nonsensical argument, leaving Rees’s council’s only defence in tatters at a stroke! ROUND TWO to Norman.
To finish off a bad day for the Rees and his BENT COUNCIL that thinks it can do what it likes to who it likes, the judge, having seen Steve’s evidence and listened to his straightforward legal argument, instructed Denford to fuck off out of her court and sort out a NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT with the residents in the next two weeks. If not, she would set a TRIAL DATE.
A full trial would be especially interesting as witnesses could include the two ridiculous Avonmouth Labour councillors – Don “Lenin” Alexander and Jo “Stupid Hippy” Sergeant – housing officer Andrew Jester who was happy to restore the laundry’s old opening hours and Jester’s MYSTERY BOSS who overrode that sensible decision and forced the case to court.
Getting this mystery boss into open court would be something of a coup for Steve. As it would be one of the rare occasions a resident of the city could get up, close and very, very personal with a senior city council boss and EXPOSE them to close CROSS EXAMINATION at length. ROUND THREE to Norman.
Questions for this arsehole money-wasting boss could include: why don’t you think THE LAW applies to you? Why are you deliberately WASTING PUBLIC MONEY on inane court cases? Why do you treat your tenants with ABSOLUTE CONTEMPT? Why does someone quite as obviously THICK and USELESS as you think they know best? Do you regularly MISDIRECT the public money and resources you’re responsible for into pursuing SAD LITTLE VENDETTAS against local residents who assert their legal rights? What’s the success rate like with your sad little vendettas? How did you ever think you would get away with this shit?
Bring on ROUND FOUR! Although, sadly, we suspect that – what with one of Rees’s pampered little senior bosses who must be protected at all costs potentially getting exposed to public cross examination and ridicule on their performance and conduct – a settlement will be miraculously reached in the next two weeks.
That or the Reverend’s legal department is getting St John’s Chambers, Queen Square on speed dial – while housing bosses jump up down screaming in the background – to provide an overpriced public schoolboy barrister at a huge cost to us to take on Stormin’ Norman and impose their will on Antona Court’s laundry.
In the real world, heads would roll for this. However, in the Reverend Rees’s amazing city council world of the stupid we can just look forward to paying for the next self-inflicted fiasco can’t we?
The TRIAL OF THE CENTURY begins tomorrow when Steve “Stormin'” Norman gets the time and money wasters of Bristol City Council’s housing and legal departments in to court to demand reinstatement of his home, Antona Court’s laundry hours.
The contracted hours of this laundry for paying customers were altered without discussion or consultation by the council six months ago. This is mainly because – as we know from Grenfell Tower – council’s think they can do what the fuck they like to council tenants who they hold in CONTEMPT and treat like SUBHUMANS with no legal rights and no say over the housing conditions imposed on them by callous council scum.
Curiously, the council’s legal team are going to court to argue that the new laundry hours should REMAIN. This is despite Andrew Jester, a housing officer in the Estates Department, writing to Steve on 8 June and saying he “was happy for the laundry hours to be returned to what they used to be and instructed that this be done but have been overruled on this.”
Overruled by who? And why would this NAMELESS senior boss at Bristol City Council rather spend money on a POINTLESS and EXPENSIVE court case than negotiate with their tenants? No doubt next week this same unaccountable management tosspot will be bleating about austerity and having no money?
The council, apparently, will be claiming in court that they are NOT SUBJECT to Sections 103 and 105 of the Housing Act, laws that directly govern their management of their housing and tenants. It’ll certainly be interesting to find out why Bristol City Council thinks the law of the land doesn’t apply to them won’t it?
Although, also in their defence – submitted late and therefore liable to be struck out – the council go on to say, “in light of the disclosure of objections from other residents … They will seek the view of the whole block and then review the current (ie. new) laundry times.”
What’s the fucking point of all this then? It all kicks off at 12.15pm tomorrow. Not to be missed!
Efforts by a maverick cell of bureaucratic loonies in Bristol City Council’s estates department to restrict the communal laundry’s 24 hour opening times at Shire’s Antona Court for no reason look set to end in an expensive disaster for the council.
Antona Court resident, Steve “The Avon Mouth” Norman, The Bristolian‘s gobshite-in-chief and scourge of the council’s housing department took umbrage at access to the laundry he pays to use being arbitrarily restricted without notice or consultation.
So he filed papers with the County Court in Bristol demanding that the council remove their thousands of pounds-worth of unnecessary laundry alterations and compensate him for failing to comply with the Housing Acts governing the council’s management of Antona Court.
Alas, the court’s deadline has now passed and the council has failed to provide a defence to the judge, which means Steve can now apply for a judgement and compensation unchallenged.
Costs to us – thanks to the council’s negligence in how they altered a service they provide and in failing to respond to a judge in time – will run into the thousands we’re told.
So much for austerity.
The council’s management of Antona Court, a block of council flats in Shire and home of local gobshite and activist Steve Norman, increasingly resembles a bad scene from Apocalypse Now.
A recent decision by the council to reduce the opening times of the block’s 24-hour basement laundry to 8am – 8pm without BOTHERING to inform anyone has caused consternation among the residents. Not least when a team of council workmen materialised without explanation and carried out a load of EXPENSIVE work replacing locks and rewiring electrics to execute this vital laundry facility time reduction plan.
When residents started asking the council simple questions like, “why have you shut our laundry?” and “who authorised these changes?” and “how much are you spending on this pointless bollocks?”, the council bizarrely replied, “WE DON”T KNOW”
Is there a ROGUE TEAM of council workmen loose in Bristol making unauthorised alterations to laundry facilities across the city? Or has Antona Court been especially singled out by a mysterious SECRET CABAL within the council intent on clamping down on access to Antona Court’s laundry facilities as part of a new command and control mechanism over its council tenants? Or are the people running our city’s housing department just plain fucking mental?
Who knows? Although we may find out soon as Steve has filed a complaint with the COUNTY COURT, pointing out that council tenants do have RIGHTS over the properties they occupy. He’s demanding that the council immediately REOPEN the laundry and consult the residents of Antona Court – as they’re required to do under the Housing Act – before altering a service that tenants pay for.
Will the council spend even more of our money defending their exciting new laundry regime in court? Or will the council’s legal team tell the jackasses in their housing department to stop pissing about WASTING PUBLIC MONEY and start behaving themselves?
Watch this space.
Skint they say? Well it looks like Bristol City Council have got plenty of money to fight POINTLESS cases in the COUNTY COURT.
So look out for the TRIAL OF THE CENTURY coming soon to Bristol Civil Justice Centre when our idiot council will bravely fight to keep the shared laundry facility at Antona Court, Shirehampton CLOSED between 8.00pm and 8.00am for no apparent reason!
It appears that the council decided, without any consultation whatsoever, to close the 24-hour laundry, which residents pay a fee to use, last Thursday and have courageously IGNORED any complaints from tenants since.
Resident Steve Norman has therefore FILED A CASE at the County Court demanding the reinstatement of UNLIMITED use of the laundry pending proper consultation and asking for compensation for loss of amemity and breach of tenancy. The council have responded that they will “await to hear from the Bristol Civil Justice Centre.”
Whether the council’s actions at Antona Court form part of the Rev Rees’s legendarily stupid TORY CUTS programme or whether this is just his Estate Management team playing at being twats over Antona Court again is unclear. Mainly because the Reverend and his minions are TOTALLY SILENT on any of the specifics regarding their latest BIZARRE ACTION at the legendary block of flats.
So how much is all this pointless legal bullshit likely to cost us? And isn’t it funny how there’s plenty of cash and resources around to take on the PEASANTS in court over shared laundry facilities and their opening times but no cash around to fight DEVELOPERS in court who don’t meet social housing obligations?
We’re being had.
Steve Norman has written to all of Bristol City Councillors today demanding that they take LEGAL ACTION against him immediately for “revealing the truth about their relationship with Camelot and Meridian,” our bent council’s close business partners.
Camelot and Meridian are the CROOKS housing vulnerable people and migrants in inadequate conditions in rat infested council properties that don’t meet the council’s own basic standards of safety. Unusually, these buildings have been handed to the businesses FREE OF CHARGE by council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett.
Steve has once again openly published and distributed the statement, banned yesterday from the Full Council for for being – according to council officers – “DEFAMATORY“.
We continue to await word from the idiot Rev Rees and his legal eagles or the wankers at Camelot that they are taking action against our open publication and distribution of this DEFAMATORY MATERIAL, however.
Is there a problem of some sort? Like, perhaps, everything the statement says is true? This might also explain why council officers REFUSED yesterday to let the resident change their statement and remove any allegedly defamatory clauses the officers cared to identify? (Thus far these legal pro’s have identified ZERO defamatory clauses to anyone)
It’s a cover-up!
Steve’s email is below:
From: steven norman
Sent: 14 December 2016 09:38
To: Mayor and all councillors
Subject: RE: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
BCC have threatened legal action against anyone revealing the truth about their relationship with Camelot+Meridian, i’m sharing this! So has any ONE OF YOU GOT THE COURAGE TO ASK WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE OR WILL YOU ALL DO YOUR NORMAL TRAIT AND BURY YOUR HEADS LIKE OSTRICHES OUTSIDE THE BIG HOUSE ON THE GREEN?
MESSAGE FOR THE GREAT LEGAL EAGLES OF BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL SUE ME COME AND GIVE IT A GO LETS SHOW THE PEOPLE OF BRISTOL THE TRUTH
Address For Service Of Papers Mr Stephen Kenneth James Norman, Antona Court, Antona Drive Bristol BS11 9RL
“I am a resident/property guardian at Broomhill EPH, owned by Bristol city council (BCC) and formerly an elderly persons home. Currently and for the past 3 years, while I have been living here, it was leased to Camelot property management LTD, a private company, providing a short-term security solution, by renting rooms within what would otherwise be vacant properties.
However, Is it appropriate for Bristol City council to have dealings with Camelot property management? Camelot property management entered into a contract with Bristol city council in September 2013. There have been between 5 and 20 guardians living at Broomhill EPH since then. Against the law, with the knowledge of some within Bristol City Council, Camelot operated Broomhill, without a HMO license for 3 years (needed when more than 5 unrelated people live there. Broomhill is a large HMO having many rooms and over 3 story’s). After the eventual visit by the councils EHO and subsequent improvement notice, no works were done, up to the expiry of the improvement notice and yet Camelot were allowed to operate without a HMO license from November 2013 until November 2016. The property has never met the requirements of such a license and even now after the license was granted, there is an improvement notice issued for substantial works to make the property up to the required standards. This notice has now run out and no works were carried out, until a week ago, when strip lighting was installed, so we are still living in dangerous and substandard housing conditions, with no heating, fire safety measures, or hot water.
The members of the public living there as property guardians have suffered numerous incidents of harassment, including physical, verbal and racial abuse at the Hands of Camelot staff members. Illegal fines have been issued for sums of money with no legal binding and pressure has been applied for guardians to pay these or be issued with notice to leave properties. In addition to this Camelot have committed multiple breaches of their contract agreement with Bristol city council. Failing to supply hot water, removing showers, not maintaining the fire alarm system, removing fire doors and lighting to name just a few.
In my license agreement with Camelot I have paid council tax for over 3 years. I, personally have been informed by the council tax office, that there is no liability nor account, for any council tax to be collected for Broomhill EPH, as it is still a council tax exempt property. Should all guardians who lived at the property over the past 3 years receive this money back, as the property is still exempt for council tax? So why does Bristol city council have any dealings with such an unscrupulous, negligent, potentially fraudulent and therefore criminal company, with a flagrant disregard for their tenants welfare? After all, Hackney Council in London terminated its contract with Camelot in 2015 in similar circumstances.
Clearly regarding not issuing the mandatory license for an HMO, a department within Bristol city council have been in collusion with Camelot for not enforcing their own regulations and therefore the law. In the last 6 months we have discovered that Camelot in another Camelot run BCC property has used forced illegal evictions, with 4 Camelot employees removing a woman from a property late at night in her night clothes, being permitted to take her medication from the fridge, but none of her other property. Another Camelot run BCC property has been sublet to a third party (Meridian), housing as many as 40 of their workers with no agreement/contract in place whatsoever, collecting their rent in cash per person weekly. Other properties have unresolved issues with rat infestations. Also there are several allegations of criminal acts carried out by Camelot staff contrary to the protection from eviction act 1977, due to be heard in court early 2017. In light of this information we would like to know what Bristol city’s response to this is?
We would like to request BCC recognize Camelot ‘guardians’ as council tenants and not licensees. We also would like BCC to acknowledge that some of their workers wrongfully colluded with Camelot property management, particularly over the HMO license. It is up to BCC whether they re-house all residents currently, in their Camelot-run BCC properties, with decent accommodation and legal contracts.
Please can I have a full written response to this statement?”
After 18 months of deranged accusations and smears emanating from the council’s housing service management pillock Nick “DROOPER” Hooper, Steve (and everyone else in the block including children) is now being subjected to camera surveillance from a PEEPING TOM weirdo resident while the council does nothing!
Last week, a female friend of Steve’s noticed – while walking through the communal hallway of Antona Court – a small CAMERA trained on her from the open LETTERBOX of one of the flats. Deciding she didn’t wish to be filmed by some sad old man, she pushed the camera back through the letterbox and went to visit Steve.
Alas, this did not go down well with the Nick “Drooper” Hooper’s new Peeping Tom SPY OPERATIVE who then proceeded to tell Steve that he would attack him with a baseball bat if his dodgy camera was touched again!
Steve, concluding that it might be better to engage with the authorities rather than beat the Peeping Tom to a finely juiced pulp, contacted Drooper’s NORTH BRISTOL ESTATES FALSE ALLEGATION UNIT to complain and they visited Antona Court last week.
Only to explain that the tenant in their view was doing NOTHING WRONG and they were happy for him to continue filming in the communal area of their flats if he wished.
Do you reckon if Steve were doing the filming that Drooper and his False Allegation Unit would be so lenient?
The council’s view also contradicts the police who have told Steve, if the council were to cooperate, they would assist in serving an ASBO on the Peeping Tom for fairly obvious reasons.
Meanwhile residents at Antona Court are voting with their feet. One grandmother is REFUSING to take her grand daughter through the hallway and past the camera. Presumably on the basis she doesn’t want some aging pervert filming her young grand daughter and retaining the footage for his personal use?
Other residents are requesting moves from the block to get away from Drooper’s freakish and anti-social SPY NETWORK.
Now the issue has now been handed to Drooper’s colleague Mary “Contrary” Ryan to resolve. Will she continue to allow the private filming of children and young women in communal areas of Antona Court or will she see sense?
Watch this space …