Railway path spinwatch

Absolut Bullshit

Labour transport boss Bradshaw and his press spokeswoman Kate Hartas – who seems to flit from working for the city council to the West of England Partnership and back again on a regular basis without ever troubling the truth a great deal in either role – were quoted in the Cancer on Thursday.

And this week’s line to take on the railway path, it appears, is that nothing has been decided and there are plenty of other options still available. Here’s what the pair actually said:

“Mark Bradshaw, Bristol City Council’s executive member for transport, said: “These plans are only one of several options and are in a relatively early stage.”

Kate Hartas, spokeswoman for the WEP, said: “The West of England Partnership is considering a range of options for a rapid transit route in east Bristol”

Well that’s a relief then. Officially it looks like there’s a long way to go yet and a range of other route options for BRT are still on the table. Alas not. As the next day the West of England Partnership published a glossy leaflet – dated February 2008 – which clearly tells us:

GBSTS identified four corridors for BRT and these have been assessed in comprehensive studies … From these studies, a route from Ashton Vale to Emerson’s Green has been selected as the most appropriate option for the next line of the network.

In other words these “options” Bradshaw and Hartas are talking up have already been considered and the clearly stated and published position of the West of England Partnership is:

From Temple Meads the route would run alongside the Bristol to Bath cycle path with stations serving densely populated residential centres including Lawrence Hill, Fishponds, Staple Hill and Emerson’s Green

What’s going on here? Why have we had two entirely contradictory statements, apparently from the same organisation, within less than 24 hours?

While we expect no better of Bradshaw, another in a long line of Bristol Labour deadbeats who’ll come out with any old bollocks for short term political gain, the issue of Ms Hartas is, however, of more concern.

As a local government officer she works for us, not the Labour Party, and is required to tell us the truth, not the convenient Labour Party political line of the day. How is it that as the West of England Partnership’s spokeswoman she can openly contradict, on the record in the local press, the organisation’s own clear written position?

Either she doesn’t know the position – which makes her incompetent – or she’s deliberately lying on behalf of politicians – which makes her mendacious.

We have our eye on you Ms Hartas …

This entry was posted in Bristol, Bristol Evening Post, Developments, Environment, Labour Party, Local government, Media, Transport, WESP and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Railway path spinwatch

  1. Bluebaldee says:

    What a crock of crap from Bradshaw and Hartas yet again.

    Very simply, they are lying through their teeth, and not very convincingly either.

    The wonderful, accountable WEP puts out something called “Transport News” – the last edition was December 2007.

    This edition clearly states that the BRT route decision had been taken and a bid for funding was due to be made in September this year:


    As far as the WEP are concerned this scheme is going ahead whether we like it or not. They can say that because they are an unnaccountable quango who clearly hold the power and make the decisions in our part of the world.

    Bradshaw is a politician and is clearly shitting himself that he’ll be out on his ear come the next election. That’s why he forced into telling blatant lies.

    We need to put pressure on the WEP and the DfT to get this scheme thrown out.

    Bradshaw is the monkey, the WEP is the organ grinder.

  2. Chris Hutt says:

    Yeh, the evidence is damning. Bradshaw and Hartas are lying. Hartas I can sort of forgive. She’s a PR professional so it’s her job to lie, what she gets paid for. Only a fool would expect anything else.

    But Bradshaw is more difficult to forgive. Yes, he’s a politician which ultimately means lying to the public, but most decent politicians have some sense of proportion about such things. When they have to lie, they do, but when they don’t have to, they try not to.

    In this case I can’t see why Bradshaw should have to lie. The truth is plain enough for anyone who cares to look, as evidenced above. Why can’t he just say that they made a decision to go for the Railway Path route? We all know they did.

    When Bradshaw came into the transport job last year he made some welcome noises, opposing the south Bristol ring road, calling for the closure of Prince Street Bridge to motor traffic, but all that seems to have come to nothing and now, just months later, he’s blatantly lying to the electorate on behalf of the business interests who pull the strings.

  3. Chris Hutt says:

    For obscure, technical fact fans, the latest WEP glossy linked to above no longer shows the FirstGroups ftr bus featured in earlier publicity but instead shows examples of the Irisbus Civis, the first with the MAX system is Las Vegas and the second from Clermont-Ferrand. All part of their plan to obscure the certainty that FirstGroup will be operating the BRT system, if it ever gets built. In short more bullshit from WEP.

  4. thebristolblogger says:

    Strictly speaking Hartas is not “a PR” but a government communications officer.
    It is not her job to spin anything or to provide the party political line (her job contract would specifically exclude this).

    What she is contracted to do is to provide clear, objective and truthful information to the public. It might therefore be worth someone from the Railway Path campaign putting in a speculative complaint about her comments and her role.

    It’s unlikely to succeed but if nothing else its another way the council have to deal with their railway path problem.

    There’s further information on the role of council officers in relation to councillors and political work here: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/cms-service/download/asset/?asset_id=23266058 (pdf)

  5. redzone says:

    there has been incompetence at the council offices for far to long, inept councillors are repeatedly replaced with clones.
    get rid of bradshaw & he will be replaced with another labour party muppet whos only ideas are that of his party line.
    the same goes for the tories & lib dems.
    what we need is more options when we choose our representatives at the council.
    some fresh faces with new ideas instead of the same tired old faces that have spent the past 20 years going round in circles, wasting our time & money!!

  6. Sue Dinham says:

    I’ve been told that the press officer in question was ‘moved sideways’ by the Head of the BCC Press Officer from her previous role as the education spokesperson within the press office because the brief was too hard to handle…..

  7. Jon Rogers says:

    Redzone, may I suggest that there are fresh faces and new ideas, but perhaps not in the Tory supported Labour Cabinet.

    On the Lib Dem council group 11 out of 31 of us have been elected since 2005.

    We are not afraid to engage in dialogue, and indeed some of us sadly enjoy it! It would be good to see some from the other parties answering the criticisms of Labour, Green and Conservative budget amendments and indeed debating ours!

  8. Chris Hutt says:

    Interesting point about needing more options when electing representatives, redzone. Doesn’t that point towards proportional representation (as opposed to the grossly disproportional representation of the first-past-the-post system)?

    For example, if those who bothered to vote last May were represented fairly (and if all seats had been up for reelection) , there would be about 21 Labour councillors, 19 Lib-Dem’s, 17 Conservatives, 10 Greens, 1 BNP and possibly 1 Respect. And that’s not allowing for the inevitable changes in voting patterns when people realise that no vote is wasted and there is little need for tactical voting.

    Coalitions of 2 or 3 parties would be essential to form a ruling majority. This would transform the influence of the Greens, who would in all probability be on a par with the traditional parties. The voters in general, and interest groups like the Railway path campaign in particular, would feel that they had some real electoral clout.

    Of course the likely representation of groups like the BNP (even if a 5% threshold were applied) might be viewed with alarm, but at least it would make people realise that local politics matters.

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  10. Des Dunnett says:

    Chris Hutt makes a good point about PR, but then applies this year’s reults accross the 70 seats which leads to false conclusions.
    As Bristol has election by thirds in two seat wards, only two-thirds of the city have elections in any year.

    So last year then north-west of the city had no elections and in 2009 the south will have no elections. You can’t say ‘how the Council would have looed under PR’ when you don’t count a third of the population!
    (Plus of course PR changes the way people vote as we see in the Euro and Scottish, Welsh and London elections).

  11. Chris Hutt says:

    I take your point Des. It was only meant to give a rough “just for fun” indication of how the council might look. As we have both said, with proper representation people will vote differently anyway. I would expect a lot more people to bother to vote too, since votes for “non front runner” parties would not be wasted as they currently are.

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