A politician would just repeat same mistakes
AS a native Bristolian, who has spent most of my life living within the city boundaries, I am very interested in the forthcoming elections for Mayor of Bristol.
Since just after the Second World War I have witnessed the inability of any of the political parties to advance Bristol within the country – indeed during that time the city has lost out to all towns and cities of similar size. While we have talked (endlessly) about rapid transport systems other locations have installed them. We had a golden opportunity to erect a wonderful Performing Arts building on the Harbourside but lack of Lottery Funding meant that nobody had the foresight or gumption to find alternative money for what could have competed with Sydney Opera House.
There are many examples of lack of momentum which leave this glorious city locked in a morass of apathy and incompetence.
If Bristol elects a politician to be mayor the cycle will just continue and development will be measured by putting a gaudy front on the Colston Hall.
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As far as I can see Bristol has a lifeline by electing George Ferguson. Here is a man with proven credentials. Someone who took an old warehouse and turned it into an internationally renowned playhouse – an architect with worldwide contacts.
Mr Ferguson is an independent business man not having to kowtow to any tired old political party machine. If Bristol does not elect him they will regret it I am sure.
Weston in Gordano
ANY new mayor of Bristol will have very hard budget choices forced on them it seems, given that, "One of the first jobs facing Bristol's incoming elected mayor will be to cut an extra £25 million from the city council's budget.
The authority has revealed it faces making deeper cuts than first anticipated as funding from central government is reduced"(Post Oct 5).
However, that should not stop wherever the mayor is from giving voice to the growing numbers of people who see the complete folly of cuts and austerity economics.
Government borrowing is up and we've had savage cuts. In fact government borrowing is up in part because we've had savage cuts.
Cuts are depressing economic activity. Austerity policies, pronouncements, plans and actions have reduced confidence, reduced spending, reduced investment, increased costs to government, reduced government income...and have been a big help (!) in causing and then lengthening the recession we are still in (thanks to Dave, George, Nick, Vince and co). I support the case against austerity and cuts and for a Keynesian stimulus for our economy to get out of recession and going in a sustainable direction.
SURELY my recent claims that Bristol needs a truly independent elected mayor were validated by the 'political' performance of Marvin Rees at the Labour party conference in Manchester.
Mr Rees was obviously on firm political ground when he said that: "A key part of Labour's campaign has been the pledge to bring a 'living wage' of not less than £7.20 an hour for all council employees (a few votes there then) hoping it will be extended across all firms and organisations throughout the city." What a load of redistributive socialist claptrap.
In his search for political power it seems to have escaped Mr Rees' notice that all of Bristol City Council's employees' salaries are financed via the public purse. In effect all those resident in Bristol are the captive consumers of BCC with a legal obligation to pay council tax. Has it never occurred to the headline grabbing Mr Rees that any increases in civic pay to meet his 'living wage' would inevitably result in council tax increases. Furthermore, Mr Rees if ever elected hopes that this 'living wage' to employees would be replicated by: "all firms and organisations throughout the city." It might well have escaped his selective 'political' memory, but this country is in a financial crisis unprecedented in our most recent past.
Perhaps Mr Rees would like to tell us from his 'political' mindset how cash strapped businesses would be able to finance his envisaged 'living wage'. The answer, I suspect is that many couldn't, and would go bust, making their employees redundant. Guess what happens then Mr Rees? I'll tell you; they would not have any wages whatsoever, and would be claiming state benefits with a likely rise in either direct/indirect taxation.
Moreover, Mr Rees claimed a deprived family history as a raison d'etre for his impassioned 'living wage' conference speech. He might like to note that my dear parents brought up four children in the 1940/50/60s without any statutory 'living wage' or indeed state handouts. My parents were far from wealthy, and manfully survived in the straightened financial times immediately following the Second World War.
I have on purpose overused the word 'political' as it is my opinion that if ever elected Mr Rees would do all in his new found 'political' power to turn Bristol into a version of The People's Republic of China. An extreme example perhaps, but I have witnessed my beloved Bristol torn apart by the 'political' apparatchiks of the main 'political' parties over my entire life. Surely, Bristol deserves a truly independent mayor who can administrate the city without 'political' fear or favour; and Mr Rees as a Labour party member clearly does not have the qualifications!
R L Smith
NOW we have the mayoral contest under way it's time to show the winner how to get voted out quickly. Just support the new tram system.
We went to Edinburgh last month and we couldn't find a soul who supported it. They have had disruption of major streets being closed for 4 years with at least another 2 years to go!
In 2008 the original cost was to be £375m, by 2011 they had spent £440m and when it's finished (if it ever will be) it is expected to cost over a billion. All this when Edinburgh has an excellent – council run – bus service. Ok, it costs the Edinburgh ratepayers for the bus service but we pay in Bristol without getting the same service.
Remember, everything that happens in a city starts with ONE person having an idea and if that person has the ability to convince others then it gets started. Just look at the way Jon Rogers has forced some stupid ideas through.