More Bristol News news

The battle to save the Marksbury Road Library, situated in the middle of one of the most deprived areas of the city, takes a new turn.

The Bristol Green Party is proposing that the extra £100,000 earmarked by the Labour Party in next year’s council budget for spending on the council’s pointless PR leaflet, Bristol News – now thrillingly rebranded as Our News – should instead be spent on keeping the library open.

Green councillor Charlie Bolton blogs that he is happy to put forward such an amendment at the council’s budget meeting taking place on 26 February. However, as as the lone Green councillor, Charlie currently lacks anyone to second this amendment.

Shouldn’t be too much of a problem though as the Lib Dem chief whip and councillor for the library’s Windmill Hill ward, Mark Bailey, has already stated on the record that he would fight the library’s closure regardless of which party attempted it. Looks like it’s time for Bailey to put his signature where his mouth is then and back this eminently sensible proposal.

Whether the amendment succeeds will, however, depend firstly on the Lib Dems who are probably likely to vote for it as, if nothing else, it’s an opportunity to give the Labour Party a bloody nose in the Council House.

Then it will be up to the Tories. In the past they have been highly critical of the council’s expenditure on PR in general and on the Bristol News in particular. But under Bunter Eddy’s bizarre leadership they have increasingly dropped their own policy positions and chosen to back any daft Labour Party proposal going. Will they do it again?

Labour’s proposal to spend a further £100k next year on PR comes after a report published last month by the Tax Payers’ Alliance claimed Bristol City Council’s spending on PR has increased by 275% over the last ten years. The report also says the council’s PR budget of nearly £4m is the 19th largest in the country, while Bristol City Council is only the 40th largest local authority in the country.

And despite this massive increase in funding for PR, the council can provide no evidence that communications with the public have actually improved! In fact many local journalists would suggest it’s got worse.

Indeed The Blogger can remember a time, back in the 90s, when a journalist could just pick up a phone and speak to any council officer – often experts in their field – they liked in order to get the information they wanted. Not now. Since the arrival of New Labour and their obssessive culture of spin, journalists are forced to speak to a council PR officer, who will then speak to the officer and “report back” what they choose to the journalist.

Not only is this an expensive and unnecessary new layer of bureaucracy the council has devised but information for journalists – and therefore the public – is now being deliberately manipulated and mediated for us by a team of well-paid PR non-experts often working to a pre-arranged script … That’s progress!

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9 Responses to More Bristol News news

  1. Charlie Bolton and the Green Party have given a lead here:

    This library can be saved if Lib Dems and Tories do the sensible thing. Support the library and oppose wasteful council literature being sent out at the same time.

  2. Steve says:

    Saving libraries is a “good thing”, very few people would dispute that.

    But so is the council’s PR expenditure. Without the spin put on the top to obfuscate and divert, where would we be? In the cold grey light of unspun accountability many semi-competant people very comfortable in their BCC jobs might well lose them.

    Those PR people are there for a reason – to make it seem like we have a great council doing a great job very successfully with the full support of the majority, they aren’t just pretending in order to annoy journalists. If Bristol is going to be a competitive city and attract business investment as well as spurious grant funding, it MUST seem like everything is ok – there is no other way.

    Besides, who needs to use a library when we are supplied with such excellent fictions lovingly crafted to make us all happy? And recyclable too.

  3. Stella, campaigner for open local democracy says:

    Re your comments on Bristol dealing with enquiries solely through the press office, other local authorities like North Somerset, Wiltshire, BANES, etc are still using the ‘expert officer’ system you describe, it is only Bristol that has gone down the road of this culture of spin and secrecy.

  4. bluebaldee says:

    I’ll tell you why BCC’s PR spend has increased massively over the past few years. Why there’s a culture of spin, secrecy, obfuscation and lies.

    I’ll sum it up in three simple words:

    Simon Fucking Caplan.

    This self-important empire-building chubby cunt is so painfully hand-in-glove with Bristol Labour and the cabal of senior Council Officer failures that he gets pretty much what he wants at the Council House.

    Caplan couldn’t give a shit about Bristolians and us poor bastards who pay his inflated salary. That’s why he wants £100k plus all the rest of the cash that his Pravda department sucks up, whilst libraries close, old folk get shit services and our educational provision goes tits up.

    This wanker and the imbeciles who are in thrall to him are very simply pale versions of the national Labour lie-machine.

    He’s such a self-obsessed pompous prick that he actually had his own “all about me” website until a few years ago.

    The self-confessed “pop and rock nut” had to take it down because he’d rather carelessly described one of his pet hates as – “Right-wing politicians”.

    Now I’m no champion of the Right, but shouldn’t a public servant in charge of corporate PR keep his own political preferences well hidden away?

    Just one example of his chronic poor judgement.

    There are many, many others.

  5. Dolores says:

    That’s incredible stuff about Craplan’s website, bluebaldee. Can you back it up or tell any more about it?

    Any more other examples of his miisjudgement for us to chuckle over!?

  6. Dave Angel says:

    Use to see if you can find it.

  7. Pingback: Due to popular demand: that Simon Caplan website story in full! « The Bristol Blogger

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  9. Pingback: “Libraries Gave Us Power!” - Marksbury Road Library Saved by Campaigners « Bristol Respect Coalition

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