Tag Archives: University of Bristol

THE REAL STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

Last night the Reverend Rees delivered his final State of the City speech from the University of Bristol’s shithouse Wills Building. Here’s a response:

Marvin, your State of the City speech seems to be a list of things that haven’t been delivered or resolved in your time in office. 

Most of the key infrastructure projects that previous Labour council’s failed to invest in remain uninvested in but with a tab left to be picked up by the next administration. 

There’s no funded mass transit proposal. It’s stalemated due to a lack of agreement between two bickering Labour Mayors who have prioritised their own personal animosity and egos above the needs of the city and region. 

The city continues to have deep divisions along race and class lines despite all the talk about diversity, equity and inclusion and tackling the “issues”. Where are the measurable outcomes showing improvement? 

But then you did watch the Colston statue come down and spot a self promotional media opportunity rather than a chance to trigger a real attempt to tackle the city’s long standing divisions. 

Congratulations Marvin, you built some homes (the vast majority at market rates with many being bought by private landlords) and yet still managed to miss every housing target you set yourself. 

The housing waiting list has increased to 20,000 families. The highest it has ever been, despite officers actively discouraging residents from going on the list “because it’s a waste of time”. 

Homelessness remains noticeably present everywhere, except, maybe, in the Bearpit, despite your promise to solve it. 

The vast majority of the 14,000 homes with planning permission are not being built and you try to blame a minority opposition party for this failure to deliver.

Still no arena, public or privately funded, anywhere. And tens of millions in public funds sunk into an elitist city centre cultural venue because of a binding legal contract signed on your watch. All while deprived suburbs lose community/cultural facilities.

City Leap has potential but so far isn’t unlocking any private investment and is falling behind its real investment plan, never mind this unsubstantiated £1bn you constantly quote at the press.

Goram Homes also has some potential but your planning delays means it’s falling massively behind schedule.

Bristol Waste is a basketcase with a revolving door board of directors. A direct result of poor corporate oversight. Your political interference in its business planning, meanwhile, has undermined any efforts to reduce costs. 

Elsewhere, your council is still complicit in developing SNCIs despite declaring an ‘Ecological Emergency’ and creating plenty of photo-ops of Labour politicians standing in fields saying how important green spaces are. 

There’s still no real plan for achieving net zero despite declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’. 

Then there’s the poorly implemented CAZ, almost as if it was designed to fail and disrupt. 

You are creating only one Liveable Neighbourhood and this is being poorly implemented and poorly consulted on with middle class neighbourhoods getting disproportionate input while poorer neighbourhoods are ignored.

Local CiL projects, especially transport and parks, are not being delivered partly because staff are being taken away to work on “headline grabbing” strategic projects.

The budget gap is currently larger than the Bundred one under Ferguson and there’s still no realistic plan to address it beyond service reduction and selling off council property. 

SEND?!?!! Say no more. Your “Deputy” Mayor hasn’t a clue what she is doing just like the chain of useless Labour education leads before her. Our kids and, increasingly, their parents are paying the price of this serial incompetence. 

The Dedicated Schools Grant is effectively in special measures and your administration is just crossing it’s fingers and hoping the government doesn’t pull the plug on this ever growing debt.

Basically Marvin, you have left behind a stinking pile of crap and then have the nerve to lecture the councillors who will have to clear up your shit about how the city should be run!!! 

Get da fuck!

NEW UNI BOSS IS SNOOTY RACIST

evelyn-welch-1024x509
“Horrendous racist snob”

Can we be among the first to welcome horrifying racist snob Evelyn “Rockerfeller” Welch MBE to Bristol as the new Vice-Chancellor of the city’s wealthiest education corporate, the University of Bristol? Harvard educated US citizen, Evelyn’s down home credentials include being “a scholar of the Renaissance and Early Modern Period” and Provost and Senior Vice President at King’s College London.

The rest of the press has wet its pants with excitement because Evelyn is the mother of Florence Welch. She’s singer with posh band Florence and the Machine whose bland wailing is heavily promoted on rotation by the corporate music biz and is exactly the kind of posh shite for wankers that punk rock was created to destroy.

What the press isn’t telling you, however, is that Evelyn has run into a spot of bother at Kings College over a statue there of a slaver. Thomas Guy had links with the Spanish slave trade in the 17th century, which earned him £400 million in today’s money and his statue takes pride of place at the university. Seventy-five per cent of the student body told Evelyn as the mastermind of the university’s ‘People & Culture’ strategy and head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion to get rid, which she hasn’t done. 

Instead Evelyn demonstrated the kind of empathy only a Harvard education can provide.  She announced, while on a panel of self-regarding snobs talking about ‘Statues and the Public Space’ at a ‘History Matters’ conference in London, that if students didn’t like the statue they should just “walk around it”! What a shame Evelyn wasn’t in Bristol two years ago to tell Black Lives Matter protestors that they should just walk around the city’s statue of Edward Colston.

Why is our city’s establishment importing yet more elitist racist dross into our city to replace the racist dross we already had?

THE SOCIETY OF MERCHANT NITE SPOT BOSSES


motion_i1_s4
Bristol City Council managing Covid

Bristol City Council is using council tax money and government public health handouts for Covid to, er, promote nightclubs!

£15k from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund and £15k from the council’s Growth and Regeneration budget were used last year to pay the council’s ‘Night-time Economy Advisor’. 

This year the money will come from the government Covid cash and from the council’s private sector partner, Sound Diplomacy, “an international consultancy” who are going “to develop a framework to capitalise on the cultural, social and economic benefits that night-time industries offer the city”.

Other partners in the Sound Diplomacy project include Master of the Merchant Venturers David Freed’s Deeley Freed; Merchant Venturer Marti Burgess’s Lakota nightclub; Motion nightclub; the University of Bristol; the Bedminster and City Centre BIDs and PfP Capital Limited

So who’s likely to benefit from the public money handouts that are likely to emerge from this corporate night time industry framework then?

Watch this space

DIVIDE AND RULE

Even by the Reverend’s underpowered standards, this year’s State of the City Address – where Rees shows up Bristol University’s Great Hall and delivers a lecture like a ponce  – had very little to say. 

The big policy announcement from this re-elected Mayor basking in second term glory with the city at his feet was, er, a plan to possibly close Park Street to traffic.

However, this bizarre little observation hidden in among the weeds of Reverend’s rambling caught our eye:

“In September’s Full Council, three people made statements, in turn. The first argued against housebuilding on Western Slopes and urban sprawl. The second, concerned about private rents, told me to sort out the housing crisis – that would require me to build homes. The third made a statement against children living in tall buildings and there is of course a wider campaign against height.

I suggested that they all need to talk to each other. All three made an argument, that to be solved, required compromise from the other two.

It’s fine to point at me but what’s needed is a city conversation.”

State of the City Address, 21 October 2021

In other words, leave me alone to make money licking wealthy arse and you argue between yourselves suckers

THE HISTORY PERSON

stars

It looks like “Little Read” Olivette Otele, Bristol University’s new high-profile woke diversity hire brought in to foghorn A HARMLESS LIBERAL VERSION OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY at us, is going to be very good value indeed. One of Little Read Olivette’s first moves was to announce on Twitter that she wanted “to put together a list of UK based black scholars 1/ historians with a PhD in History or PhD students. 2/ working on the history of slavery, memory, memorialisation and legacies of the past (Atlantic, Transaharian, Indian Ocean).”

Unfortunately her request didn’t go down too well with some chippy WHITE ACADEMICS who felt left out of the ELITIST WOKE HISTORY PARTY. But they had no reason to worry because Little Read soon returned to Twitter to explain, “I’m told that as identity is fluid, ONE CAN CHOOSE TO BE BLACK. So white born can choose to be black and non white born can choose to identify as black as in political blackness.”

So that’s all right then. Anybody white can just pop on a black identity like A PAIR OF UNDERPANTS every morning when they get dressed and become a black scholar. Who knew being a black scholar was so accessible these days? Indeed WHAT THE FUCK IS BEING BLACK ANYWAY if we follow Little Read’s advice to its logical conclusion?

And yes, before you ask, we are paying Little Read handsomely to educate our young people in this deranged drivel. Happy days.

PONCEY EURO ELITIST APPOINTED TO STEAL LOCAL PEOPLE’S WORK

PONCEY EURO ELITIST APPOINTED TO STEAL LOCAL PEOPLE'S WORK

After years of members of the public working hard at grassroots organisations like COUNTER COLSTON and the BRISTOL RADICAL HISTORY GROUP, the thieving old white men who run the University of Bristol have finally woke(n) up and appointed a PROFESSOR OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. They will “examine Bristol’s connection to the transatlantic slave trade”. Work that has already, largely, BEEN DONE by our city’s grassroots historians anyway.

The university old boys have hired Sorbonne-educated hack, Olivette Otele, with a press fanfare that has somehow eluded less prestigious local historians tackling the same subject without THE ELITE EDUCATION, the ‘DIVERSE’ BACKGROUND and a PROFESSIONAL PR DEPARTMENT talking them up.

Anyway, won’t it be interesting to see whether Olivette, who lists “memorialisation of the past” as an interest, publicly demands the IMMEDIATE REMOVAL of Colston’s statue from the Centre?  Or will she piss arse about ‘NUANCING‘ in the elite-style, making CRAP EXCUSES and rambling on about ‘corrective plaques’ and the like?

Watch this space.

BUSINESS NOT BOOMING

bristol-energy

It’s trebles all round for the variety of FAILING BUSINESSES run by our council. At last month’s Cabinet meeting, politicians not only agreed a further £6MILLION HANDOUT for Bristol Energy, which has now had £37.7million of our money, but decided that Bristol Holding, the parent company for Bristol Energy, Bristol Waste and their low key data gathering firm, Bristol is Open, now needs AN EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN on a cool £150k a year.

This expensive appointment is the prelude to the council’s City LEAP energy venture where public assets and infrastructure such as wind turbines, solar panels and local heat networks will be handed over to Bristol Holding, basically A PRIVATE FIRM outside any useful public oversight. The holding company will then be able to use these assets as sweeteners to attract private sector investment. A plan that has all the characteristics of yet ANOTHER COUNCIL GIVEAWAY TO THE PRIVATE sector.

The Reverend’s finance chief, Craig “Dick” Cheney, also used City LEAP as the excuse for keeping his LOSS MAKING SHAMBLES of an energy firm afloat for reasons he didn’t make very clear. Will we end up funding this LOSS-MAKING VANITY FIRM indefinitely while the private sector gives it a wide berth and cherry picks other valuable public assets for PROFIT? It was also quietly announced at the same meeting that Bristol University was pulling out of the underperforming joint venture data gathering firm Bristol is Open. Although it’s not yet clear whether the university JUMPED or were PUSHED.

How long before our council is handing any ‘smart city data’ they’ve gathered about us over to the private sector hawks that are circling?

YATES’ WHINE BODGE: BRISTOL COUNCIL SUPREMO LADY GAGA READIES HERSELF TO SACK UP TO 1,000 STAFF BUT PROTECTS HER OWN PERKS

Already stinging us for £160,000 a year - and STILL second-choice City Director Nicola ‘Lady Gaga’ Yates thinks she ought to be costing us more!

Already stinging us for £160,000 a year – and STILL second-choice City Director Nicola ‘Lady Gaga’ Yates thinks she ought to be costing us more!

Web ExclusiveAs the dust now settles following Tuesday’s annual budget pantomime in Shitty Hall (short version: MASSIVE CUTS! HUGE JOB LOSSES! OUR CITY RUN BY MORONS!), it looks like fun times are ahead.

Meanwhile, as the party barons bicker amongst themselves over exactly who is responsible for precisely which pile of crap we are all going to be forced to bite down on over the coming year, it’s City Director NICOLA ‘LADY GAGA’ YATES – the city’s six-figure salaried second-choice chief executive – who has been selling the shit sandwich diet to staff.

The fact that it took her the best part of two days to dream up anything halfway optimistic does not bode well, but try she did, with a round-robin message to all staff that she sent out today.

Naturally, the grim news that she will be “reducing the number of people who work for the organisation by around 800 [full time positions]” is left till the end, along with what might be a contender for Least Convincing Promise Of The Year: “I want to say again that wherever possible my commitment absolutely remains to avoiding compulsory redundancies.”

As convincingly as any £160,000-a-year career sacker can try, she attempts to project optimism, claiming that “many” of the £83 million-worth of savings that have to be made “will come from doing things more efficiently including – redesigning services, refocusing resources for the areas that need them most, squeezing more from our contracts and raising income.”

In other words: HELP! WHERE THE HELL IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM?!

Certainly if Gaga’s own approach to thrift is anything to go by, we’re all screwed. Look at her published expenses, which totalled around £3,800 for just ten months.

At first glance, nothing spectacularly bad – but when you get into the detail, you realise these are the expenses of the sort of overpaid idiot who thinks .

A Zones 1-2 Underground ticket for one of her trips to London cost us £11.80 – when in fact the TfL fares chart helpfully demonstrates that the cash fare for a single journey is just £4.70 (making it a £9.40 round trip), with electronic ‘Oyster’ fares capped at £8.40 for a whole day of journeys, and One Day Travelcards costing no more than £9.

Similarly, a return train trip to London to a scheduled event was charged to us at £72.50 – when according to the National Rail Enquiries website typically such a journey, booked a fortnight in advance, would cost from around £50-£60, with even bigger savings for earlier booking.

A 1.5 mile taxi journey from City Hall to Portland Square is charged at £7.90, when the Council’s own Final Agreed Tariff Card would have it at £5.30 (plus 20p per 40 seconds of waiting time). Perhaps Gaga got stuck in a ten minute traffic jam and was just TOO POSH TO WALK!

Neither could she be bothered to walk up (or down!) Park Street, so instead she had us fork out £13.60 on a return taxi journey to Bristol Uni for a meeting with well-dodgy Vice Chancellor (and notable Merchant Venturer) Eric Thomas. That’s right – £13.60 for a round trip of BARELY A MILE!

A return trip from Council House to the M-Shed is so obviously taking the piss that it even has its own excuse note: “Not enough time between important meetings to walk”. Well, by foot it’s a mere half-a-mile away – that’s a stroll of five-to-ten minutes. Driving, due to the traffic management around the Centre and the Harbourside, it’s most likely a car journey of approximately two miles, taking about, erm, ten minutes!

And so on, and so on.

And this is the person trusted to find £83 million in savings by “doing things more efficiently”!

What was that old saying? ‘Watch the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves’?

Well, not if Gaga’s in charge of the penny-surveillance!

PINOCCHIOWEN TRIES TO SILENCE CRITICS OF HIS ‘REIGN OF ERROR’ AT HORSEWORLD – BRISTOL UNI CAVES IN TO THREATS?

Web ExclusiveWhat a curious development in the never-ending saga of management mishaps in the upper echelons of HorseWorld.

On Monday the Bristol University newspaper Epigram published an article about recent events at HorseWorld on its website. It covered many of the allegations which The BRISTOLIAN first brought to public attention.

Epigram's HorseWorld article - TAKEN DOWN

Epigram’s HorseWorld article – TAKEN DOWN

By mid-morning on Tuesday, readers began telling us that the article was no longer being displayed. We attempted to contact Epigram and its editors, the Student Union, the University’s Press Office and the UoB management, to find out what had happened. No one got back to us.

Then a source close to HorseWorld MD Mark ‘Not That One’ Owen told us what seemed by now to be obvious: the article had been pulled after a furious Pinocchiowen was “straight on the phone to the Uni [yesterday] morning” to demand that the article was removed.

Google Cache version - WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE NET

Google Cache version – WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE NET

We then posted a link to a cached version of the article still available via Google.

Today that Google cache version has also been taken down.

So in support of a free press unhindered by threats, coercion, fear or favour, we present for you here the full text of the article in question [not any more – see notes at the bottom of the page for further info!] – and call upon you, the reader, to decide whether it should have been pulled…


The BRISTOLIAN’s précis of the Max Miller Epigram article ‘Mismanagement rears its ugly head at Horseworld’

There’s a “scandal brewing” at the sixty year-old charity HorseWorld, with fears that it may have to reduce its activities and make more than 25 staff redundant after the failure of its bid for planning consent to permit the sell-off of land to developers. This is in tandem with reductions in income, a situation “mirrored by the fates of charities across the country” as donation levels drop off.

The article also notes that research by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charities Aid Foundation shows that between 2010 and 2012 charitable giving were down £1.7bn (£2.3bn when adjusted for inflation) to £9.3bn – a plummet of 20% in real terms. This research into the donations nosedive was released shortly after an investigation by the Telegraph newspaper, which showed that the number of “executives receiving six-figure salaries at Britain’s leading aid charities, and those linked to them, rose by nearly 60 per cent from 19 to 30 over the past three years.” The article noted The BRISTOLIAN’s own coverage, in which managing director Mark Owen has been reported as having “played a part in Horseworld losing over £2 million in the last three years.

The article then summarises some of The BRISTOLIAN’s claims about Owen’s management of HorseWorld, including his starting salary of £60,000 in 2008, his £28,000 company Audi, the hiring of consultants at £525 per day, and his blaming of others for the charity’s predicament. As the author notes, this “does not exactly scream out ‘competent management.’

Next comes reflection on the overall shrinking of charity donations in the UK during recent recessionary times, pointing out how fundraising website Charity Giving shut down – with a loss of more than £250,000 in donations – and highlighting a report in The Independent which investigated the challenges faced by UK charities “battling not only the effects of economic downturn, but also theft, organised crime, fraud worries and accusations of pure mismanagement.

The article then crunches some of HorseWorld’s numbers: its income fell by nearly £200k from £1.25mn to £1.06mn in 2010-2012, with voluntary donations dropping from £728,046 to £398,214 over the same period.

Next it is pointed out that Owen’s strategy for rectifying HorseWorld’s financial freefall – an all-or-nothing green belt planning gamble – was about as high-risk as you could get. The phrases “financial mismanagement” and “major mistake” are used.

Finally, the author summarises, suggesting that what has been happening in the management of HorseWorld “is a perfect [but extreme] example of what is happening across the country.” Ultimately, when a charity sees income drying up and managers not acting appropriately, it is the good work which suffers most.


Note 1: We reproduce this article unedited [this was before the events outlined in Note 2 below] and in its entirety in order to stimulate debate around the issue of censorship, and around the management issues at HorseWorld that the article refers to. We claim no copyright over the article, and will take it down at the request of its author, or when the original article is reinstated to the Epigram website. (12 February 2014)
Note 2: This morning (13/2/14) a person claiming to be Max Miller, the author of the article, contacted The BRISTOLIAN via the comments section to request that we “kindly delete this article and not publish it in part or in whole anywhere else on or off-line”, and that it ”was an oversight that led to its publication not censorship”. Having subsequently confirmed that this was indeed the University of Bristol student Max Miller, and the acknowledged author of the article, we have removed it.
In its place – and to ensure that the public record in this matter does not suffer – we have summarised its contents, paragraph-by-paragraph, below. We have quoted only a tiny proportion of the article directly (in red). We have also added links to other references (something not done in the Max Miller original), from which we have also included a few direct quotations (in green). We fully acknowledge that authorship of the original article lies with Max Miller; but further assert our own S.31 rights to fair dealing in our summary of that article. (13 February 2014)
Note 3: This afternoon (13/2/14) we spotted that Epigram had posted up the following retraction: “Epigram would like to retract an article published on 10 February 2014 entitled ‘Mismanagement rears its head at Horseworld’. The article was about the equine charity Horseworld and included allegations of mismanagement. The article was based on content from other sources and we regret not offering the managing director – Mark Owen – the right of reply before publication. We will rectify this by providing him the opportunity to respond in the following issue of Epigram. Meanwhile, Epigram apologises unreservedly to Horseworld and Mr Owen for the editorial oversight that led to the publication of this article.” (13 February 2014)