New Bristol Mayor Georgie-boy Ferguson has taken less than 2 months in the job to cut Bristol Council’s 2013/14 budget by £35million, and delete over 300 jobs. He promises further cuts over the next 2 financial years totalling £65million minimum, and over 600 more jobs deleted.
What a way to thank your voters eh? At this rate it wont be long before he’s deleted more council jobs than he had votes, given the tiny percentage of Bristolians who actually voted for a mayor in the first place (about 14% of the electorate).
Georgie-boy’s plans have been ripped into by the Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA) in a scathing press release, promising resistance to every cut in jobs and services. They’ve published a full breakdown of his cuts, and are building a list of council events to lobby – so make sure you turn up and support their protests, and any & all actions by workers facing the chop, and organise your own! Tellingly, councillors, unions & workers have complained they only heard about the plans after they were leaked to the media. Morale amongst council workers is at an all-time low after years of cuts and pay freezes.
Georgie-boy came to power promising a new politics and to put Bristol first – in the dole queue presumably, or perhaps forced into private sector profit-motivated care homes? What seems increasingly clear is that this alleged Merchant Venturer and rich businessman will do his best to put the private sector first, as he does his bit to decimate the public & voluntary sectors currently providing the much needed support & services that keep many people afloat in these times of crisis, austerity and poverty.
Of course, he’s not alone in doing the Coalition government’s dirty work locally. Thanks to BADACA we know the Green Party member in Georgie-boy’s cabinet is backing the budget cuts. We already know from past and ongoing experience that the LibDems, NewLabour & Tories are all singing from the same austerity hymn sheet, locally and nationally. Which means that there is absolutely nobody in our inherently flawed electoral process offering any alternative whatsoever – so we’ll all have to look elsewhere won’t we – to our fellow workers, unemployed neighbours, and to our communities.
An invitation for Georgie-boy
At this years Bookfair we intend to introduce some more playfull political activities in the green space outside Trinity Centre. One proposed game is Political Stocks, and the rules are simple: each invited political/public figure gets to spend 15 minutes in the stocks, and we count up how many hits with a wet sponge they take in that time. The winning loser gets to spend the night with a bunch of redundant council workers in a shut down former council care home. Georgie-boy is invited, as is:
– Stephen Williams, the serial-pledge-breaking yellow Tory LibDem MP for Bristol West
– Helen Holland, that joke of a former council leader, now leader of the NewLabour council group
– Colin Port, the outgoing chief cop of Avon & Somerset, who has been making a right fool of himself since announcing his resignation in November, and then changing his mind and demanding 6 months notice.
– Faruk Choudhury, the useless NewLabour councillor for Easton, who lives in Hotwells. Set to be Lord Mayor from May 2013, it’ll be hilarious watching him try to chair a full council meeting!
It’s gonna be fun!