The revolving door at WECA, our regional government basketcase, must be about to come off its hinges.
Head of Infrastructure, David Carter; Section 151 Officer Malcolm Coe; dodgy Monitoring Officer Shahzia “Dim” Daya; Head of Transport Jason Humm and Democratic Services boss, Ian Hird all cleared off over last autumn and winter.
Since then another whole new bunch have headed for the door.
Among them are Mina Davies, Head of Comms; Katherine Vowles who was brought in as an interim Head of Infrastructure; Jack Catkoviv: he scarpered before the end of his probation period as the new Head of Democratic Services; Laura Ambler Head of Planning and Housing and, now, new Interim Comms boss Ruth Wilmshurst has decided WECA ain’t really for her.
This news arrives as WECA’s auditors slam the management and governance of the authority after an investigation that found five “significant weaknesses” at the authority. They were especially displeased that the Head of Infrastructure, David Carter’s £59k handout for quitting had put the organisation “at the potential risk of committing to an unlawful payment”.
Auditors say the person responsible for the generous gift, notorious Chief Exec Patricia Greer “was acting in good faith” while potentially breaking the law.
There was a bit of a fuss recently after the Reverend instructed one of his idiot sidemen, Craig “Crapita” Cheney to veto a multimillion WECA grant to the Creative Youth Network, the former protectorate of failed Green mayoral candidate, Sandy “Bufton-Tufton” Hore-Ruthven.
Unfortunately the Reverend was unable to personally deal the deathblow to the grant himself as he was otherwise indisposed. Destroying the planet by jetting to Vancouver to deliver a live and pointless TED Talk for the benefit of billionaire clown Elon Musk.
A lot of people are claiming the veto was revenge by the Reverend on Bufton-Tufton for daring to run against him in last year’s election. And there may be some truth in this. However, trade unionists can take a small crumb of comfort from the Reverend’s latest display of thin skinned pettiness.
Because, we learn that, during his time as CEO at the Creative Youth Network, the city’s great Green progressive alternative, Bufton-Tufton, consistently refused to enter into a voluntary recognition agreement with a union. Instead, in typical Tory bully boss-with-head-up-his-arse style, Bufton-Tufton told the union that their services weren’t required as he had set up a staff forum where staff could raise any issues they had.
No doubt, Bufton-Tufton’s “door was always open” too? So far, Creative Youth’s new chief exec, Oxbridge twit, Mark “Mussolini” Coates, hasn’t done anything to change Creative Youth’s robustly anti-union approach either.
Hands up who gives a toss if this kind of right wing shit is turned down for grants from the public purse?
All is not well in world of WECA, the fucked up reinvention of Avon that’s under the notional control of Labour’s loopey Metro Mayor, Dan “The WECA Man” Norris.
Our newswire has been throbbing with gossip that there’s been a number of senior exits from the organisation. All accompanied by non-disclosure agreements and large non-contractual pay-offs, possibly in excess of the £74k forked out last year on a couple of generous exit packages.
Among those ‘disappeared’ is our old Bundred friend, now WECA Monitoring Officer, Shahzia “Dim” Daya. Her latest political crisis occurred a few months back when she incorrectly advised The Weca Man that he had a right of veto over the decisions of the obscure ‘West of England Joint Committee’.
Other senior bosses following Dim Daya out of the door include senior directors Malcolm Coe and David Carter, Jason Humm, Head of Transport, Ruth Wilmshurst, Head of Comms and Scrutiny Manager Ian Hird.
This leaves weirdo WECA Chief Exec, Patricia “Psycho” Greer, to further consolidate the uninterrupted power and influence she enjoys over the Metro Mayor position. Greer – whose corporate culture is “like something out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting” – is well known for denying officers any access to the mayor. Insisting that everything goes through her instead. A situation former mayor, Tory Tim Bowels, and now the WECA Man seem comfortable with.
Word is, as long as the WECA Man has some PR red meat to throw at the public, he doesn’t much care what’s going on with the staff.
The Reverend’s grandest of grand plans to build an underground for Bristol continues to chug along in its own deranged manner as his proclaimed start date for the build, 2024, looms nearer.
The latest word from Metro Mayor Dan “The Weca Man” Norris, who holds many of the purse strings for this imaginary project, is that “tunnels may well be needed”. In the context of this project’s magical thinking and total non-delivery, this statement of the obvious should be considered considerable progress.
After all, who needs anything like an expert feasibility study for this biggest of big projects when we’ve got Dan The Weca Man bringing his searing insight and expertise to the table?
With the Labour A-Team of the Reverend and the Weca Man so well informed and on top of detail what can possibly go right with this project?
Watch this space and, in the meantime, keep taking the bus
News that the government is handing WECA over £500m to give to First Bus (surely to “transform regional transport infrastrucure”? Ed) has got our brand new Metro Mayor Dan “The Weca Man” Norris hyperventilating with joy.
However a closer look at the plans reveals most of this money will be going into so-called “transport corridors” to develop more bloody Metrobus routes. The Metrobus having been conveniently redesignated from public laughing stock to “a step change in public transport” by the WECA Man’s optimistic transport bods.
An even closer look reveals the majority of the money may well be splurged on just one route – ‘The Bristol – Bath A4 Corridor’ in the jargon. Does this mean that on-off plans to build the Callington Road Link that would take cars off the A4 Bath Road and along the route of the disused North Somerset Railway line between Sandy Park and Callington Road are back on?
This a road scheme that the Reverend and his Labour councillors, taking time off from pretending that Brislington Meadows won’t have housing built on it by Homes England, deny is happening and have described it to locals as “a Lib Dem conspiracy theory”!
Not a theory at all, however, according to WECA’s Public Transport Manager Phil Wright who confirmed on Twitter in the autumn that the road plan is very much under consideration again.
Is there a WECA conspiracy against Marvin’s Bristol Labour?
Labour’s long-term candidate for Hengrove and Whitchurch Park has been ruthlessly dumped by the regional party bureaucrats for requesting support as a deaf person!
Here’s the comments posted to Facebook by the former candidate, Lee Starr-Elliot on this latest Labour row
*Statement to explain my no longer standing as your local candidate! *
I am taking the time to write this to explain why after 3 years I am no longer your candidate for Labour! After applying to be a candidate back in 2018, going through the candidate approval process including checks, a panel interview organised by the Bristol Labour Local Campaign Forum (LCF) and endorsement by Bristol Labour members, I was selected by my local ward as their candidate in 2019.
I was very proud of this as I had the best interests of the ward at heart and wanted to bring back a sense of strong local community and ownership to the area, something I’ve felt has been lacking as our current councillors seem to prefer to play party politics rather than focus on the needs of local people.
However, after the pandemic hit and the 2020 elections were delayed, I lost running mates one by one due to personal or work-related issues. In the meantime I continued to move forward, founding the BS14 Community Support Group on Facebook, which has brought together local people, allowing us to help and support each other directly or by sharing helpful information. It made me proud to see BS14 come together in this way and I thank everyone who made it a success and hope it continues.
Most people are aware that I am Deaf. In previous elections, central government has provided the Enable fund to support the access needs of disabled people so that they can run for public office. The government withdrew this for these elections. I sought support from my Regional office, in line with their duties under the Equality Act, for example to provide a BSL interpreter for local, regional and national events and online training. I’m sad to say my request was not even acknowledged.
This led me to filing an official complaint, which has yet to be resolved, despite having the made the complaint nearly 5 months ago! When I asked for assistance with phone banking I was fobbed off and told to get people to volunteer! This put me at a serious disadvantage as many other people across all parties were able to phonebank, leaving me as the only one unable to do so, as by this stage the other candidates had withdrawn.
As people may understand, I became increasingly frustrated and angry that I was being discriminated this way and I took to social media to call out bad practices and condemn the leadership for failures in supporting members. Instead, they were busy suspending members for supporting the local members’ right to debate and offer solidarity to the suspended previous leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn!
While all this was happening, the regional office of the Labour Party was preventing constituency party groups from carrying out democratically agreed actions such as supporting food banks with financial donations from the members’ fund. Regional staff even went as far as suspending the AGM of a nearby constituency party and announcing they would run it months later – allowing them time to install their preferred members into positions. When they eventually ran the AGM it was shambolic and clearly designed to exclude members’ voices!
Similarly, the selection of the West of England Mayoral candidate was decided undemocratically, with the previous candidate Lesley Mansell and other left-leaning candidates excluded from the membership ballot by a regional panel. This has clearly backfired on the local party, as members are not happy to campaign for someone who while he was an MP voted for the Iraq War and is clearly against helping people such as students!!
It seems that by standing up for myself against discrimination and calling out where the party is failing nationally and regionally and when it is bullying the membership, this has resulted in the Labour Party refusing to endorse me at the local elections on May 6th. I would like to acknowledge the support of a small group of candidates and supporters who are leading the fight both locally and nationally against actions of politicians from all parties in order to make Bristol and the country better.
I wouldn’t have got this far without them, as the discrimination I’ve faced as a candidate and a person within politics is emotionally breaking. However, I will continue to be as loud as possible and call out actions of councillors and MPs who are not transparent and are not working for the people who voted for them but are instead following the party line. I thank everyone who has supported me and were going to vote for me!
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?