It's the Holland and Hammond show!

Bert and Ernie

Bristol Labour Party this evening took minority control of Bristol City Council with the support of the Conservative Party.

The Tories and Labour both rejected a last minute climbdown from Steve Comer’s Liberal Democrats – who promised to reconsider the privatisation of home care – in favour of a minority Labour cabinet.

The new leader of Bristol City Council is Helen Holland, her deputy and Executive for Adult Care Services is Peter Hammond and the Executive running the finances is John Bees.

Those with longer memories may recognise this team in an ever-so slightly different form from 2004 – 2005. Then Peter Hammond was leader, Holland the deputy and Bees controlled the finances.

And if memory serves correctly, this is the team that ran up an £18m debt in the social services department and had to call in two expensive consultants to explain to them how to run the department. They also had to pay off former Social Services boss, Bill McKitterick, to go away and never discuss their years of hopelessly incompetent management of the service.

The whole sorry mess culminated in the whole of the council – Labour, Tory and Lib Dem – unaminously accepting the principles of ‘The Parrott Report’. A straightforward Blairite blueprint for the privatisation of adult care services in the city – including the home care service.

That long memory might also recall that this “new” deputy leader and executive for adult services, Peter Hammond – then leader – actually proposed the report and praised the Parrott Report to the full council in that characteristically limp-wristed manner of his.

But it seems Hammond the Blairite privatiser is a thing of the past. Tonight we were treated to Hammond, man of the people and saviour of the home care service. Or were we?

In yet another ill-tempered, bad mannered and skin-crawlingly embarrassing attempt at debate, the Labour Party singularly failed to outline a clear position on home care and instead used the occasion to – again – grandstand for their carefully assembled audience of home care workers and trade unionists.

Instead of a simple commitment to keep the home care service in-house as they have appeared to promise, we were treated to vague, nice-sounding empty promises about home care:

“We will get it on a firm footing”; “there will be a level of stability”; “there will be a proper solution”; “it will be viable, workable, cost effective and fit for purpose”; “we will work with users, families, carers and the workforce”; “we will take a position on home care”.

All well and good. And this seemed to go down well with the home care workers and unions, who clearly have a level of trust in local politicians that is unwise. But are Labour keeping home care in-house as they promised?

We don’t know because Labour steadfastly refused to answer this question constantly put to them by the Lib Dems and they even encouraged the home care workers to shout down the questioners.


This may turn out to be a big mistake by the home care workers and their union backers.

(Cartoon by Evelyn Post. Evelyn Post is The Bristol Blogger’s resident cartoonist. He has a woman’s name)

This entry was posted in Bristol, Conservatives, Evelyn Post, Labour Party, Lib Dems, Local elections 2007, Local government. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It's the Holland and Hammond show!

  1. S F says:

    Well I turned up to watch in the end and what a show it was!

    I got to admit I didnt see that coming. And at 20 – 1 offered odds clearly you didnt either Bristol Blogger! I hope you didnt lose any money on it…

    So now on the Council it’s a case of “Back to the Future”, as the same characters who wrecked the budget last time for Labour get to do it again.

    Clearly, Labour get the prize, and apparently didnt have to sacrifice anything to do it. The big qustion is what were the Tories doing, handing an outright victory to the Labour Party for no obvious payback? Can only assume that some deal has been proposed that made the price attractive for Dick Eddy, despite the obvious blow-back that he will receive in places where propping up the Labour Party will hurt him, like West Bristol wards.

  2. you don't really have a clue says:

    Interesting that you were wrong in predicting the decision. AIUI Steve Comer made a deal with the unions over the weekend and everything was in line for a lib dem council. Poor man was shafted by his ‘cabinet’ who turfed out the deal he made. What future now for a leader that can’t deliver his own group on staying in power. The lamest duck ever in Bristol politics.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    Nice of you to pop up after the event to tell us what’s going to happen. Clever that.

  4. S F says:

    Yes, looks like someone’s been going round the Bristol blogs posting that Steve Comer “did a deal” with the Unions, but it seems that neither the T&G nor Steve Comer thinks that happened.

    Perhaps the poster is an unhappy Labour frontbencher who didnt want to get forced into taking the administration by the unions?? 😉

    It was interesting at the meeting that a Tory cllr stood up and said that the Lib Dems were stupid for not giving in and “listening” to the “people” (i.e. the unions), then right afterwards another Tory cllr got up and said that the Lib Dems had no principles and wanted power at any cost! I guess they should have made their speeches consistent before the night but were too busy working out deals?

  5. Finbarr Saunders says:


    This isn’t a post, its a question – what is the best way to pass you information ? Perhaps you could do a piece on it and call it “bocca di leone”.

  6. Bharati sethi says:

    Hello Chris

    I am a graduate student and just wanted to use a diversity image on google – i am a bit confused if it is yours or copyrighted? It is not for commercial purpose but for my research flyer.

    What do I need to do?

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