Tuesday’s ‘State of the City’ debate was predictably used by the Labour Party not to face up to the problems the city faces but to engage in some shameless cheerleading for themselves.
Among the highlights was delusional education boss Derek Pickup talking up his party’s brilliant achievement in running the third worst education authority in the country where over 40% of parents have voted with their feet.
Labour boss Helen Holland meanwhile offered to hand power directly to the people through some fabulous neighbourhood management scheme. Although Helen appeared to forget to mention that only about four carefully selected small neighbourhoods in the city have such schemes, which means the remaining 95% of Bristol’s population will have to put up with her shit decision making for the forseeable future at least.
But the the prize for the most ridiculous speech of the this whole pointless charade must go to the man who seems to have taken the term “no” out of his name – Councillor Mark Brain.
For those that don’t know yet, the rebranded Our City has been handed an extra £100k a year and replaced Bristol News as the official mouthpiece of the city council. Delivered through your door and no doubt placed straight into your recycling, it’s a shallow piece of relentlessly upbeat corporate-style spin produced by the council’s deceitful PR department. It tends to be bizarrely illustrated with staged photos of unaccountably cheerful black and disabled people outside council buildings and is serially guilty of half truths, omission and plain misleading in pursuit of talking up the council and hiding its mistakes.
To all intents and purposes then it’s that most pernicious form of cheap propaganda – the state-run newspaper. Anyway, here’s Brain’s helpful contribution to what he believes passes as excellence in of our city. Further comment seems unnecessary.
I recently received my copy of ‘Our City’, which replaces the former Bristol News. I would like to compliment the officers who worked on the publication for a job well done. Explaining the City Council’s Draft Budget is not an easy thing to do and there are a good many councillors and I suspect officers, who struggle to get to grips with it.
The officers responsible for preparing ‘Our City’ have succeeded in explaining where the money comes from, where it goes to and in accessible bite sized chunks just what spending pressures face the City of Bristol. They then go on to explain the important changes that are proposed in the Draft Budget in similar bite sized chunks before actively encouraging participation in the process by the citizens of Bristol either by sending in a reply slip or by
attending the appropriate meetings including the Resources Scrutiny Commission, of which I am a member.
I do hope that members of the public watching this webcast will feel that they can attend those meetings as advertised on the Bristol City Council website and make previously notified statements. They will of course be made most welcome.
Visually, the accessibility of ‘Our City’ (also available on the Council’s website) is enhanced by its new style layout, which instead of putting the reader off by seeming to be overwhelming draws the reader in. Bristol City Council employed no fancy or expensive consultants in doing this. The whole thing was done by our own in-house staff, which demonstrates the talent that there is within the workforce and should give Council a justified sense of pride in what they have done for us.
I believe that I speak for all when I ask the Leader of Council to convey to the appropriate officers the thanks of a grateful Council for a difficult job well done.