Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja's open letter to George Ferguson
One of Bristol's leading musicians has claimed mayoral candidate George Ferguson's membership of Bristol's elite Society of Merchant Venturers is a conflict of interests. You can read the full story here , but here is Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja's letter in full:
I am a great admirer of your regenerative projects in the city.
I read your campaign leaflet and am considering voting for you, so I hoped you might answer a few questions. As you are running for a public office, I thought an open letter appropriate.
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Can you truly describe yourself as an independent candidate, while being a member of the Merchant Venturers, an exclusive club that has many business interests in the city?
Even if you were to leave such an organisation, wouldn't your personal relationships with individuals and companies in the group present a potential conflict of interest? Considering that, if elected you would have enormous political influence over the future planning and development of Bristol.
As a 'national and international roving ambassador for the city', do you believe that being a member of the Merchant Venturers, who played a major role in the Anglo-African slave trade, making a vast fortune from the abduction, exploitation and in many cases murder of more than three million Africans, is the best way to represent Bristol in the modern global village?
As a champion of the arts, will plans for art funding extend to the working class and multi-ethnic areas of Bristol?
It was disappointing, in a year when the Cultural Olympiad made cash available to inspire projects that reflected Britain's cultural diversity, the St Paul's carnival – the city's only historic and authentic multicultural event – was cancelled due to poor organisation and resources.
I am hoping that with your history of opposition to the seemingly relentless supermarket proposals within Bristol, that you may be able to affect change in the area of planning proposals regarding this issue. Particularly in the way that the big franchises manage to open predatory "Metro" style stores in independent shopping areas, at times without explicit notice, offering the local community no opportunity to contest.
Robert Del Naja (3D), Massive Attack