Massive Attack throw weight behind George Ferguson
ONE of Bristol's most influential musicians has come out in support of George Ferguson after initially questioning his ties to Bristol's elite Society of Merchant Venturers.
Robert Del Naja, or 3D, along with Massive Attack band mate Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, is backing George Ferguson to be Bristol's first elected Mayor.
Mr Del Naja's decision comes after he sent an open letter to Mr Ferguson questioning the candidate's independence while a member of the society which has many business interests in the city.
In the letter, sent last month, Mr Del Naja questioned whether Mr Ferguson's personal relationships with members would create a conflict of interest, even if he left the society.
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But yesterday Mr Del Naja said: "We're backing George. Having an independent at the helm will allow Bristol to benefit from the widest range of talent. More people will have their say and the city will be open to more opportunities.
"It's about running the city beyond just a political agenda. It's not just about managing budgets and balancing the books. It's about imagination. We need a mayor that will bring projects with major appeal to Bristol.
"We need to look at what's been achieved in Manchester. They've invested heavily in the arts, and it's brought back huge economic benefits for the city.
"George is the man that will do this. A party candidate won't do it, they won't look beyond running the council operations."
Mr Ferguson said: "Receiving support from Rob and Grant is great. I want to work with them and others from Bristol's music scene to make sure we are pre-eminent on the national and international stage. This means developing talent and opportunity across the city.
"The choice for Bristol on Thursday is clear. If we don't take this one opportunity to make a bold, independent decision, there is the very real danger that the Labour party will bind Bristol with their own cabinet. There is an alternative. I will base my cabinet on talent – not on party membership."
Mr Del Naja has previously spoken out to criticise Bristol's waterfront, Cabot Circus and, since 2002, Massive Attack have refused to play in Colston Hall because of Edward Colston's associations with the slave trade.