A sneaky item put to the vote at the end of this year’s council budget meeting may have caught a lot of councillors napping. Our politicians were asked to approve the seemingly innocuous proposal “For the West of England Combined Authority Mayor to submit an application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to facilitate housing growth.”
However, this £250million application has fuck all to do
with building any actual houses but does include funds that will go directly
towards the detailed planning of two new controversial road schemes – the
Callington Road Link in Brislington and South Bristol Ring Road around
Stockwood and through Whitchurch.
Councillors voted 58 – 7 to approve the submission of the
bid to the government and kick-start a new road building programme in the city
for the first time in a generation. Obviously, most Tory and Labour councillors
who love retrograde crap voted for the idea. The Lib Dems voted against and
most Greens, as usual, confused about what they’re here for, abstained.
However two Greens voted for renewed road building, Ashley Ward’s Jude Brew and Clifton Down’s Clive Stevens. What were they thinking? Here at the Bristolian, we don’t parade much in the way of green credentials but even we know building roads is the height of Thatcherite bollocks.
The vote may prove embarrassing – and hopefully career threatening – for some other councillors south of the city too. Barry Clark “Son”, Labour councillor for Hengrove and Whitchurch had told his constituents prior to the vote, “I live near to Asda Whitchurch and like you understand the issues that this road development would cause. I am also against it and actively doing what I can to get it stopped.”
Except actively voting against it when given the opportunity
to get it stopped?
The Reverend’s latest international junket in December to the Fortune 500 Global Forum in our human rights abusing twin city of Guangzhou in southern China raised a few eyebrows when the Reverend went armed with a top secret SALES BROCHURE.
Among the dazzling “opportunities” being offered to the high priests of global capital was a £2.5 BILLION chance to build the Rev an underground rail system (since recosted a month later for no apparent reason at £4.5 BILLION) and another MULTI-BILLION opportunity to create a corporate glass, steel and concrete tower block hell all over the Cumberland Basin.
The Rev’s brochure also offered some CHEAPER and more appetising deals such as building PROFITABLE homes for 5,000 economically negligible students and promoted the city’s high cost private rental sector as an excellent INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY for any circling vultures of global capital.
Just to be clear, the Fortune 500 Global Forum was a meeting of international corporate business leaders seeking Chinese investment into their unreconstructed corporate globalisation project on the model that spectacularly FAILED in 2007, crashed the banks and created austerity.
Some characteristics of this project include use of CHEAP flexible labour; SYSTEMATIC tax avoidance; ‘light touch’ and/or self-regulation; RIGGED ‘free’ markets, asset stripping, privatisation, rent seeking, environmental destruction, MASS TRANSFER of labour and capital across international borders and financial and economic DOMINANCE by hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds. All overseen by transnational and democratically unaccountable bodies.
Surely Labour should be protecting Bristol from the threats of international high finance not inviting them to set up shop here?