Take a bow Bristol’s only Green Councillor, Charlie Bolton.
In an extraordinarily misjudged outburst on his blog, Charlie managed to put not only a large dent in his credibility and raise huge questions about his personal integrity, he’s also effortlessly managed to bring his strongly emerging party into disrepute.
The purpose of Charlie’s post appeared to be to lend unconditional support to his friend and former employer, Red Trouser Gate’s pantomime villain, George Ferguson.
However, it’s probably not the best idea for a politician to lend their support to a property developer at the centre of an emerging public land sale scandal is it?
But Charlie didn’t stop there. He also thought it’d be a good idea to launch an ad hominem attack on Green Bristol Blogger, Chris Hutt and, really oddly, his own South Bristol Green Party colleague Glen Vowles. Coincidentally two bloggers that have been instrumental in exposing – and placing in to the public domain – the details of the controversial Ferguson/Bishop Railway Path land deal.
A deal, which if halted – as is becoming increasingly likely thanks to these two bloggers – could have serious financial implications for Charlie’s friend, George Ferguson.
Since his post on Thursday, Bolton has tried to row back a bit on his position saying:
I have merely given my opinion on George Ferguson, based on the personal contact I have had with him over the last few years.
Before laughably claiming:
I have not followed the Chocolate Factory development in any detail
Which rather raises the question of why has he gone to the effort of publicly attacking two people who have been following and researching the matter very closely indeed?
So much for the Green Party’s new politics then. It all looks rather like sleazy old politics-as-usual doesn’t it?
And politics-as-usual, in the guise of Bristol’s Lib Dems, hasn’t been slow to spot how easily seduced Charlie apparently is by the charms of money. Perhaps potential power will act as a similar aphrodisiac?
So who should crop up in the comments of Charlie’s blog as his staunchest defender but our friend Lib Dem bruiser Gary Hopkins gushing:
suggesting Charlie may be guilty of a cover up is unfair in the extreme
Then here he is again today toadying to Bolton on this very blog:
I do think even though he might be in a different party that C[harlie] B has integrity
All of which, roughly translated from Bristol Lib Dem into English, actually means, “you’re a soft touch with a vote that could put us in power next May and keep us there”.
And what an excellent prospect a Lib-Dem/Green coalition is for the city. Judging from Hopkins’ recent comments, it seems secret public land sales to local developers arranged by private phone call to senior officers will continue as they have been for years but will be tastefully rebranded as “lobbying” to make it sound more legit.
“He also thought it’d be a good idea to launch an ad hominem attack on Green Bristol Blogger, Chris Hutt and, really oddly, his own South Bristol Green Party colleague Glen Vowles.”
Has he altered his blog retrospectively? All I read on his blog is: “I am sure he isn’t as ‘green’ as Glenn or Chris Hutt. I am equally sure his notions of greenness will differ to mine, Glenn’s or Chris. But to say he isn’t green at all is simply not correct.” This doesn’t exactly read like a “public attack”.
As one of those allegedly attacked I have to say ‘what attack?’ All he said was that we all had different ideas of ‘greenness’ which is fair comment.
Even if it was an ‘attack’, so what? I’m a blogger who chooses to spout opinions on the net so Charlie or anyone else is perfectly entitled to ‘attack’ me if they want to. I’m fair game in the same was as George Ferguson is.
Blogger: why are you trying to mislead like this? You obviously don’t live in Easton.
If you did, you’d know that Bristol East Greens have been raising the alarm about the cycle path land sell off ever since it was made public – Easton candidate Katie mentioned it her last leaflet, for example.
Even so there’s no excuse for this story – you know full well that GP people like Greengage, like Katie’s partner Nick (Rosso Verde), like Vowles the Green, have all blogged repeatedly on the subject. Bristol East GPers have also worked with Keep the Bank Green and Save the Railway Path to fight this threat to the cycle path just like we did on the previous ones.
(See http://bristolgreengage.blogspot.com/, http://vowlesthegreen.blogspot.com/, http://rosso-verde.blogspot.com/2008/10/blogroll-cyclepaths-etc.html.
See also Nick’s election statement on the Bristol East GP website: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/nr/080913stgeorgewest.htm)
So Charlie thinks George Ferguson isn’t completely ungreen? That’s his opinion and he’s welcome to it.
But it’s not one shared by the rest of his party at the moment, which is why we and Charlie are still working to get proper answers out of the Council about the sale of the land.
This is lazy, misleading crap and you know it.
Oh FFS calm down BB! This is ridiculous.
I admit that having Gary Hopkins defend you can never be a good thing, but if you had ever seen how excited Charlie gets about heritage seeds you would know this is a man who is immune to sleaze.
In any case, they don’t call him Charlie “One Brain” Bolton for nothing – he’s been too busy keeping up with Princes Street Bridge and Residents’ Parking to accept brown envelopes from Squarepeg.
And don’t confuse Charlie with the rest of Bristol Green Party. Implying that we’re all fans of George Ferguson is like saying all Bristol Lib Dem councillors live in the USA or
the Tories all tuck up with a golliwog at night.
It’s a bit bothersome that the only Green Party councillor in Bristol has had, in the past, a financial interest with George Ferguson. Gotta earn a living though, like the rest of us.
A somewhat hysterical reaction from thebristolblogger I think. Carry on though: the truth will out.
Yes come on good people if there is one thing we all wish to know from this its the TRUTH
latest news from the blogs – Blogger reports that blogger launches attack on other bloggers. Wake me up when there’s some real news.
I read that whole thread as it developed and you know perfectly well there was no ‘attack’ – you’ve just undermined your own credibility BB not Charlie’s.
If you actually read what Charlie said, he thought that other projects that Fergusson had been involved with were good.
He in no way has expressed his approval for the Chocolate Factory developement.
Lets focus on the issue at hand – stopping this developement.
The most important thing thing here is the issue, though it cant be divorced from the people involved (as you can see from all the names mentioned in posts!). Developers have undue influence over council decisions and officers are not following council policy – this must be fully uncovered and put right. Want I want to know is what elected councillors from all parties are going to do about this. They’ve done nothing up to now, even though a lot of material has been put into the public domain. This is to the discredit of the lot of them (and the local printed media who’ve not reported the issue).
Tory Cllr Ashley Fox has now tabled questions to Cabinet, Green Councillor Charlie Bolton had arranged a meeting to explore legal implications/issues this week…but that’s all I’ve heard is happening. Lib Dems are in a powerful position as the largest group and Labour have power (well, at least in name) currently – what do they plan to do ??
Can we have a poll on who is the greenest Green in Bristol? Vowlsie gets my vote. Any more for any more?
Charlie don’t surf!
I think he does
Fox questions now to be put to Cabinet on 27th Nov. See James Barlow.
Well done BB for at least stimulating a bit of debate among the commentators.
It is very depressing that the various ‘green’ blogs seem to find any dissenting voice as beyond the pale!
Not so, Des. If you look back over comments here and on Charlie’s blog you’ll see that several ‘green’ bloggers actually came to his defense.
Personally I think it is right that Charlie makes up his own mind based on his responsibilities as a local councillor. He’s supposed to represent the people of Southville, even if that sometimes means conflict with Green Party policy.
Des: “It is very depressing that the various ‘green’ blogs seem to find any dissenting voice as beyond the pale!”
Even more depressing to me, Des, is that most blogs are pretty much as you say. Just like everyday society where hardly anybody will dare to talk to anybody else who might be different to themselves, or might have different opinions. It’s like people are scared to hear something that might contradict what they have already firmly decided is their own view. And so-called “alternative” people are often some of the worst and most intolerant, I might add.
Long live dissent!
Why is it a surprise that Greens in Bristol don’t always agree 100% on everything?
Where is anybody here being intolerant of anyone else’s views -evidence please!
Who here has said that they are actually in favour of the development?
The Green Party has gone downhill since I was a candidate in Ashley!
There was a C Bolton running for the – wait for it – SDP-Liberal Alliance! Is there something Charlie wants to tell us?
Also a communist candidate in Cabot comrades …
And Gary Hopkins came second in Easton for the Liberals.
There’s another Communist candidate in Lawrence Hill (Alison Gilchrist, who I bought a tandem from) and in Clifton we have a Tony Robinson standing for Labour and a G Sawday (Alistair?) for the Greens (Ecology Party as was). Where are they now?
Unless Charlie managed to stand in two different seats for two different parties in 1991, they’re different C. Boltons
Marvellous thing, research.
There does seem to be a lot of ex-Lib Dems in the Green Party. I expect there’s quite a few Socialist Workers and Disrespecters entering in there too nowadays.
Who will purge who first?
No wonder the poor old party isn’t what it used to be.
Think hard over what Kerry McCarthy said on the subject.
The. Same. Date.
See the hyperlink in the original post.
And was their supposed to be a hyperlink in your comment? Your last sentence about Kerry McCarthy might actually make sense there was.
Not that the rest of your post makes sense either – ex-LDs are notable by their absence in the Bristol GP, I’m struggling to think of any. Whereas ex-Labour supporters are probably the most numerous group among new members.
And Des Bowring is absolutely right that we’re not the party that we used to be – nowadays we get a lot more votes and cause a lot more trouble.
Sometimes to ourselves.
I didn’t stand for the LibDems, and was never a member
I was a member of a student Labour group for a year in the 1986 (in Cardiff), and was a big fan of Red Ken , possibly because of all the free concerts. (I lived in London in the 80’s).
My mum is LibDem. Then again, my dad is Tory and my brother is Labour.
East Bristol Green Party statement on the Choc Factory
Sorry if what I wrote was confused, Siesta, but I thought that Kerry made an interesting point when she said – I do believe that there’s a lot more the main political parties could do to promote a green agenda, but I can’t see the Green Party ever becoming a significant force in national politics….I think you could achieve more of your objectives as a pressure group rather than as a political party – Perhaps she’s right, that putting all that effort into specific issues rather than yet another minor political party might benefit the environment more.
Thinking of the party over the whole country, Siesta. I don’t have any statistics or anything, it’s just the way it looks to me. It seems as if lots of leftwing politicos are joining the Green Party because they think that more people will vote for Greens than would vote for a straightforwardly leftwing party. Sadly all that will happen is that people will be turned off the Green Party if they see that it’s really just socialist policies dressed in green clothing. If people wanted socialism they would vote for socialism. But they don’t.