Thursday, August 30, 2012

Candidate questions

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Some interesting questions for elected Mayor of Bristol candidates have been posted in online comments on this Post story. Here's a selection of the best, sorted out from the silly, sarcastic, and more loaded ones...with the name of the contributors first:
·        Fishandchips  - “How will mayor candidates help to guide people to become confident, improve psychological access and strive to be successful in business or in their chosen subjects?”
·         Fishandchips  - “We need a leader who can work with people at every level. My question is how can they demonstrate this quality
·         green_man - “Will you resign, resulting in an election, if a sufficient proportion or number of Bristol's voters petition you to do so?”
·         BCFCfinker - “Will you do what's best for Bristol and not what's best for you?”
·         Kromax - “What will you do to bring employment to Bristol?
How will you open up south Bristol to employment opportunities?

Will you bring trams to Bristol? Will you bring an Arena to Bristol?

Will you bring secure parking for motorcycles/cycles to Bristol i.e. at Temple Meads/ in the centre?

Will you turn off traffic lights out of peak times or alter timing where appropriate?
·         Marshwalker99 - “What experience do you have of managing a complex operation which spends around £1.3 billion pounds a year

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fairer future

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Labour's mayoral candidate Marvin Rees has promised to introduce a living wage in Bristol if he gets elected to the figurehead post in November. He has pledged to bring in a rate of not less than £7.20 an hour for all council employees and hopes it will be extended across all firms and organisations throughout the city...'fairness will be an over-riding focus of my time as mayor'...(more here).
Good to see a specific, clear policy statement.  The emphasis on fairness is right and the living wage idea is a very good one, though I would argue for fixing it higher than the £7.20 that Marvin Rees proposes. At 60% of net national average earnings, a living wage would be just over £8 per hour.

I hope by taking this policy position Marvin Rees is saying that he wants to tackle unjustifiably high salary payments at the middle and top end, cut the difference between salaries at the top and bottom, and spread salary and other aspects of fairness for council employees out into the private sector.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Liberal lacerations

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A recent Lib Dem leaflet promoting their mayoral candidate Cllr Jon Rogers says, 'Jon has taken a leading role [note - he's one of the people responsible then] in turning around the city's services...'. It goes on to say, 'The Lib Dems have protected local services from the kind of cuts we've seen in other cities.'. No mention whatsoever of the £28 million they/he cut from the budget last year or the £21 million they/he cut from the budget this year. These cuts are pretty liberal lacerations, so how does one square them with the claim to have 'turned around' and 'protected' local services? The Lib Dem interpretation of the whole truth here, is, well, very liberal - and loose!

City Conference

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The Green Party Autumn Conference will be held at the Council House in Bristol from 7-10 September this year. Included will be policy debate on: working hours; economic democracy; making corporations responsible; international law of ecocide; end of life palliative care; animal racing; Aarhus Convention and environmental information and participation; natural resources; nuclear waste; libel law reform; crime prevention and justice; economics...

On the draft timetable the Conference Opening Speech will be from Daniella Radice, the Green Party Candidate in the Bristol Mayoral election followed by a speech from the Party’s newly elected Leader who will be introduced by Caroline Lucas MP, outgoing Green Party Leader.

Details via:


Pedestrianise please!

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One of Bristol's busiest roundabouts might be scrapped – to make way for pedestrians.
Highway experts and environmental groups have been discussing the idea of pedestrianising part of St James Barton roundabout as a long-term aim to calm traffic in the city centre (full story here).

Pedestrianise? Is that a good idea? After all its not as if people evolved for walking upright is it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dishonest Democrats?

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Just had a Liberal Democrat leaflet through my door 'Local doctor stands for Mayor...'. Its once again completely empty of how the aims of job creation, fixing transport and safer streets will be delivered. Large and full colour, the leaflet concentrates largely on the general background of mayoral candidate Jon Rogers [pictured], with a bit about Pete Levy for Police Commissioner. It says 'It's time to put people first not politics' on the inside but fully engages in party politics on the back by saying 'It's between Dr Jon Rogers and the Labour Candidate...'. Clearly this is an inaccurate and not completely honest statement because: it make no mention at all of any independent candidates of which there are several; independent candidate George Ferguson is said to be second favourite to Labour to win; this election is the first of its kind and uses a different electoral system where voters can choose both first and second preferences and so cant be fairly compared to previous council elections in the way they have done; the Lib Dems are struggling to get into double figures in the polls at the moment now that they are in coalition with Tories in the Government. Do the Lib Dems think that voters wont notice their skewing of reality?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Appropriate aims?

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Mayor candidate wants a conversation - The Labour Party's mayoral candidate Marvin Rees is leading a series of discussions...(more here).

Its all very well to seek ideas from 'business, experts and interested parties' but what are Marvin's own ideas for Bristol and those of the party he represents? Nothing in the Post report on this.

For myself I think the aim of making Bristol a 'world class city' is not appropriate because there are many ways in which the city could be made world class which dont improve peoples general wellbeing and security - in short put Bristol's people first Marvin!

Marvin Rees and Chuka Umunna et al who he has shared platforms with, are highly adept at speaking for a long time whilst saying little and committing to even less - like many politicians especially in the bigger parties.

Some conclude that Bristol needs an independent Mayor. This means backing George Ferguson, as he is the only independent - perhaps the only other candidate - with any chance of winning. George will get my second preference vote but stopping a 'Labour' win is going to be tough.

Pavements for pedestrians

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Mayoral candidate Jon Rogers has called for Bristolians to name and shame anti-social cyclists...But Dr Rogers said he did not feel there was anything wrong with people cycling on pavements if they were not causing a danger to pedestrians...(story here).

Anyone who is really pro-cyclist should be saying cyclists should not ride on the pavements and amongst pedestrians.  Its what the highway code says and its what good sense says - cycling on the pavement carefully (Jon Rogers position) is in fact anti-social. In shared spaces cyclists should dismount and walk, pushing their bike. Cyclists doing the wrong thing gives cycling a bad name, when it needs a good name. Jon Rogers should be advocating a network of cycleways dedicated to cyclists alone - safe, effective, clean, healthy and away from cars, lorries and walkers.

By the way, whatever you think on this issue is it not pretty illiberal of Liberal Jon Rogers to advocate 'naming and shaming' as his policy? Is consistency too much to ask for in a mayoral candidate?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Carbon killer

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Air pollution causes the premature death of tens of thousands of people in the UK every year. Toxic carbon monoxide gas is one of the problem pollutants.

The way that even low levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal, by disrupting the heart's rhythm, has been unravelled by researchers in Leeds.
They found that levels common in heavy traffic could affect the way the heart resets itself after every beat. in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine...

Full story here:

More on UK air pollution issues here: and here

Friday, August 03, 2012

Realistic Rogers?

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Lib Dem deputy leader Jon Rogers, right, has been chosen to represent his party in November's mayoral elections...asked if the Lib Dems could mount a realistic challenge to the favourites, he replied: "Of course. Just in terms of support we have got more seats in the council than anyone else. They [Labour] think it's going to be easy, but we are going to give them a run for their money."(full story plus comments here).
Has Dr Rogers not seen that the Lib Dems are on just 12% in opinion polls this summer?

Though he offers little or no indication of what his policies might be - following the pattern of almost every candidate so far - as Lib Dem mayoral candidate Jon Rogers would just be offering Bristol voters more of what they have already been getting from the council. As Lib Dem Deputy Leader and a cabinet member he is an intimate part of the way the city has been and is currently run and is most unlikely to depart from the policies of the current administration.

Bristolians want change and rejected the current system by voting to have an Elected Mayor – and by the criticism of and large scale lack of enthusiasm they have expressed about the council for years. With former Liberal George Ferguson likely to take many votes standing as an independent and coalition govt unpopularity and failures on top of this, no Lib Dem stands much chance of becoming our first elected Mayor. In any case Jon Rogers has neither  the  vision, policies, profile, standing or stature needed in an elected Mayor.