This city’s politicians’ habit of speaking in bland, meaningless platitudes on any and every subject while the bureaucrats they handsomely pay are left with a free hand to royally shaft us may be under threat judging by events today.
First up, we have Lib Dem Cabinet member Gary Hopkins on this very blog edging – albeit tentatively – toward expressing an actual policy from his party on the ‘Tesco at the Gate’ shenanigans.
We kid you not! Here’s what he said earlier today:
I will though address the […] question that he asked about Tesco.
1 The administration cannot and will not seek to influence a planning committee decision which is semi judicial.
2 As a matter of practicality we did though recommend that the 2 applications be heard on different committees not the same one.
3 We will use any landholdings we have to get best value for Bristol residents.
4 It is extremely unlikely that we would regard “giving away land to Tesco” as consistent with that.
5 Any decisions on this sort of issue will be taken in open cabinet and this has already been confirmed in writing.
6 Expect suprises.
7 Final positions cannot be announced because the situation is still developing.
OK. It’s not much. But there’s a written commitment that the city council’s sale of their land at the Gate will be decided at a public meeting of the Cabinet. And there’s – sort of – a promise not to give the land away or sell it on the cheap.
As for ‘Expect suprises” (sic), perhaps Sweaty Cook’s gonna put on his tights in the Council Chamber and revive his legendary 1987 Barbican RSC performance as ‘sperm’ in Genet’s The Balcony?
Whatever, claims 3 and 4, especially, should be treated with some scepticism. Because, although it’s unlikely Hopkins knows yet – as, along with the rest of his cabinet colleagues, he’ll be the last to know – there’s a number of senior officers quietly working to, indeed, more-or-less give our land away to Tesco.
Watch this space …
Elsewhere anti-Tesco campaigners Berate have decided to ask all the candidates for Parliament in South Bristol next year for their views on Tesco at the Gate.
Their sights are obviously firmly set on the non-committal Dim Prawn – who’s, as usual, trying to have it both ways, but the Lib Dem candidate is Cabinet Member, Mark Wright whose answer may be interesting too.
We await the responses (or lack of them) with interest.