Bradshaw and the amazing imaginary quango

Hands up who knows what the bloody hell the Bristol Transport Board is?

Because, according to under-pressure Labour Transport boss Mark Bradshaw’s open letter published yesterday, they’re the people deciding the future of our cycle path and whether it gets turned in to a rapid transit bus route or not.

Bradshaw helpfully explains in his letter : “A formal proposal on a preferred option will need to come before the Bristol Transport Board, which I chair and this will be required before any decisions are made.”

The only real problem here is that there’s no such thing as the Bristol Transport Board. A search of the council’s website clearly reveals no such committee has ever met; no minutes exist; no governing documents exist; no terms of reference exist and no formal membership is named anywhere.

Even by the standards of the City of Bristol, run for years now by a demented collection of unaccountable quangos, Bradshaw is breaking intriguing new ground with this one. Is Bradshaw totally off his trolley? Do we face the prospect of a major decision for the city being taken by an entirely fictitious committee?

Or is this the latest imaginative wheeze for getting our local politicians off the hook, evading their responsibilities and avoiding making unpopular decisions by organising some new and baroque committee of other people to do it for them? Or maybe Bradshaw simply doesn’t have a clue what’s going on and how the city council functions?

Whether Bradshaw is losing his mind and slipping into an imaginary fantasy land of weird and wonderful sub-committees under his all-powerful control as his short-lived political dream collapses into ruins or whether he’s cynically inventing a solution to pass the buck on an intractable problem for short term political gain – frankly, who cares?

Surely such a loose grip on truth and reality means he should just go?

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15 Responses to Bradshaw and the amazing imaginary quango



  2. Bradshaw’s behaviour is illogical. No mind meld needed to show that!

  3. BristleKRS says:

    Most queer – Google only throws up three results on a search for ‘”Mark Bradshaw” “Bristol Transport Board”‘ – the first two on TBB, with the council website, where Mr Bradshaw’s letter was originally published, limping along in a distinctly non-digital city third place…

    There’s no mention of ‘Bristol Transport Board’ or anything remotely like it on Mr Bradshaw’s list of council body memberships or external organisation memberships (, or in his registered interests (

    Perhaps he instead means the South West Regional Authority Transport Board, which he does not chair but is a member of ( (though this appears not to be recorded in the register).

    Or maybe he means the West Of England Partnership Planning, Transport & Environment Group (, again of which he is a member but not the chair.

    Or even the (First-sponsored) Public Transport Consortium (

    With so many quango hats to wear, one could easily get muddled.

    So I’m sure there’s a perfectly innocent reason for this confusion and/or oversight 🙂


    After checking myself BristleKRS,It appears you may be correct with the Regional Transport Board.

  5. jmbarlow says:

    Well that’s knackered my diagram.

    I’ve got no room left for the LGA Public Transport Consortium.

  6. bristoltravelplan says:

    I hadn’t come across this board either so asked my council mate who said the (bristol) transport project board now part of bradshaw’s briefing/decision arrangements – meeting with director, senior transport officers, planners etc and invite others eg sustrans, CBT etc to discuss key transport stuff and projects. they meet monthly starting from Jan this year. and he chairs this. Sounds a good idea to me…

  7. thebristolblogger says:

    What you’ve described is an ad hoc talking shop for officers not the decision making body described by Bradshaw.
    Constitutionally such a body could not make the decision on the cycle path.

  8. bristoltravelplan says:

    told part of the arrangements for him to be briefed/get advice and say whether any proposals are acceptable or not. I suspect any final decisons will go to cabinet or to the 4 UAs each, but if bradshaw/this board didn’t agree then cant see how it would happen within bristol.

  9. bristol dirt bag says:

    Yeah right. I can hear it now:

    “Of course the Bristol Transport Board exists. It sits the day after the “Bristol Blog Monitoring Board”, the “Bristol City Council Make Up The Rules As They Want Board”, and, the “You Bastards, You Let The Lib Dems Have A Spell In Charge So We’re Out For Revenge And You’re Really For It Now Board”.

    When will you lot learn that we are in charge now? Wait till next week – I’m going to follow the example of ancient Rome and declare myself ‘Mark Bradshaw Divis’.”


  10. thebristolblogger says:

    I love the way “meeting with director, senior transport officers, planners etc” is classed as a “good idea”.
    Shouldn’t Bradshaw be doing that anyway? This is also the man that doesn’t have time to read reports. What exactly has he been doing?

  11. bristoltravelplan says:

    very odd this comment, blogger, as would have thought getting sustrans and others involved in the decision informing side was what we all would have wanted (execpt maybe some council staff). Strangely maybe you just thrive on dispute and rubbishing somebody or another whether councillors, offciers, press and anyone else who says something as you’d have nothing to write. As a transport ‘professional ‘I just want things done before its too late so can’t we all please put the bickering to one side and give some support to the people who’ve been elected (of whichever party) to get it sorted!!! By the way, does anyone read this stuff execpt you politicos and a few others like me (altho not for much longer)

  12. bristol dirt bag says:


    Are you a troll in the employ of the city council? If so, I didn’t know that BCC had set up a press office like uncle Ken Livingstone’s in London. I can’t seriously imagine anyone who took any notice of what Bristolians think coming out with this crap. I am not a “politico”, I’m just an ordinary bloke, like many others (look at the thousands who’ve signed the petition), who is completely pissed off with the way the ZaNuLabour government at both national and local levels, along with their minions, treat people like me, and my neighbours here in Easton with utter contempt.

    Why on earth would Sustrans’s involvement in the council’s mad schemes be a good idea? Any sensible input from Sustrans would just be ignored by BCC – this is how the Council operates. Their record on public consultation is appalling, and this latest mess is typical of their high handed manner.

    Go on Bristol Blogger, keep on exposing the way the way we are being screwed over by these maggots.

  13. Pedestria says:

    Bradshaw’s just another example of the whole political class losing it. Just look at the Grand Tufti for another.

    They’re panicking.

    Bloggers are doing a great job, exposing the corruption. The leaders are weak and impotent to solve the problems – problems which they themselves have largely manufactured.

  14. Al Shaw says:

    Enjoyed the original post very much.

    There is a lot of talk about these quangos/unelected bodies/regional assemblies going round the blogasphere these days from people with very diverse political perspectives.

    Is this not an issue whose time has come and one which, with the right leadership and strategy, could draw together a lot of people to do some good for decent democratic standards?

    It’s hardly Montgomery Alabama, I know, but what would happen if en masse, people opposed to quangoes (we’d need a better acronym than POQ) simply refused to recognize, deal with or abide by their decisions? Non-cooperation is perhaps an underused tool that democrats still have available to them.

    Just a thought.

  15. Chris Hutt says:

    It would be a big mistake to view Sustrans as some sort of knight in shining armour come to rescue us from the big, bad “transport” planners.

    Admittedly they have a different perspective to more mainstream transport interests, more focused on cycling and walking (their USP), but their successes have been more of the PR and spin variety than in providing real benefits to cyclists.

    The Railway Path is the exception rather than the rule of the National Cycle Network. The majority of it is nothing more than sign-posted routes on minor roads, with poor continuity (try following the routes on the local OS map).

    At the end of the day they are essentially another self-serving quango, set on empire building and securing their careers and pensions. Do we really need more of that?

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