Posts tagged Bristol

No ifs, no butts

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On 21st January, Clean Up Britain launched the most comprehensive anti-cigarette litter campaign with a pilot in Bristol. Clean Up Britain eventually hopes to extend the pilot campaign to the rest of the country.

Image courtesy of Clean Up Britain Campaign

Background

Anti-cigarette butt littering publicity from Clean Up BritainCigarette butts are the most littered item on the planet. Even in Britain some 27 billion cigarette butts littered in Britain every year. These dropped dog ends allow toxic contaminants to seep into the environment causing significant environmental pollution to watercourses and soil. Moreover, there are now three million e-cigarette users (aka vapers. Ed.) in Britain and e-cigarette waste is also very serious since it produces plastic, nicotine salts, heavy metals, lead, mercury and flammable lithium batteries, again endangering the soil, wildlife and watercourses.

Clean Up Britain states it will be providing a comprehensive programme of behavioural change interventions in Bristol aimed at reducing cigarette butt littering at its source, by encouraging adult smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts properly. This will include various campaign publicity messages aimed at deterring the casual disposal of smoking waste.

How well or even whether this programme will work remains to be seen. Your ‘umble scribe will watch developments with interest.

Geographical confusion plagues local Reach title

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If there’s one thing that characterises Reach plc’s regional newspaper titles it is lack of attention to detail, whether that is their use of English, captioning of photos, geographical location and so on.

Earlier this week visitors to the Bristol Post website (aka BristolLive. Ed.) were treated to an exemplar of this poor quality media production.

It’s not unusual for newspaper sites to encourage their visitors to sign up for newsletters as a marketing tool and thus increase their traffic.

However, the Bristol Post’s latest effort, which is posted on a page that seems to be syndicated across several different regional titles, appears to have been mistargeted, landing a direct hit on the banks to the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber estuary, rather than the banks of the Bristol Avon.

Screenshot of Bristol Post web page inviting readers to sign up for the HullLive newsletter

Hull – Bristol’s newest suburb?

This is not the first time (and definitely won’t be the last. Ed.) that Reach titles have played fast and loose with geography. Four years ago, the Bristol Post magically transformed into the Manchester Evening News (posts passim).

This action raises a number of questions, i.e.:

  • Is Hull Bristol’s newest suburb?
  • Are HullLive readers being invited to sign up to the BristolLive newsletters in the interests of balance if nothing else?
  • How many seconds would the average modern Reach employee have survived in post if magically transported back to the days when all regional newspapers employed sub-editors?

If you know the answer or can provide further elucidation, please comment below. 😀

Bronze lives matter

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On 7 June 2020, the statue of slave trader and religious bigot Edward Colston, which had blighted the centre of Bristol for well over a century, was assisted off its plinth and taken for a walk for a bath in the city docks near Pero’s Bridge (a bridge named after a former slave. Ed.).

Yesterday in Bristol Crown Court a jury of their peers found the defendants Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Sage Willoughby, and Jake Skuse – the so-called Colston 4 – not guilty of criminal damage as a result of Eddie the Slaver ending up in the drink that afternoon a year and half ago, as The Bristol Cable reports.

The verdict has not gone down well with some right-leaning culture warriors and those whose view of history is coloured more by the propaganda extolling the virtues of the British Empire instead of the brutality of its crimes against humanity, theft, violence and exploitation. This tweet from the Save Our Statues account is a typical example.

Tweet reads: A disgraceful verdict that gives the green light to political vandalism and sets a precedent for anyone to be able to destroy whatever they disagree with. This is not justice.

The sense of outrage is not confined to social media. In the vanguard was the outrage of the Daily Express (which some still call the Express. Ed.) with the headline below today’s front page.

Headline reads: statue 'vandals' cleared... but where will it all end?

Just above the headline a small matter of media hypocrisy comes into view. Note the promotional flash for the glorious National Trust 2022 calendar. Not so very long ago the Express was one of those right-wing newspapers that were condemning the National Trust and accusing it of being woke (whatever that’s supposed to mean. Ed.) for the organisation’s efforts to learn more about the history of its properties, resulting in the Trust publishing a report last year that found 93 of its properties had connections with colonialism and slavery.

Furthermore, it was just right-leaning social media accounts and media that were outraged. Members of Parliament also joined in the outrage.

Step forward Robert ‘Honest Bob‘ Jenrick, MP for Newark and formerly Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Jenrick took to Twitter yesterday to pontificate as follows:

We undermine the rule of law, which underpins our democracy, if we accept vandalism and criminal damage are acceptable forms of political protest.
They aren’t. Regardless of the intentions.

Tweet reads: We undermine the rule of law, which underpins our democracy, if we accept vandalism and criminal damage are acceptable forms of political protest. They aren't. Regardless of the intentions.

It is encouraging to see such strong support for the rule of law from Honest Bob, a man who when occupying his lofty Whitehall perch was found by the High Court to have acted unlawfully in approving a £1bn east London development by former publisher and Tory Party donor Richard Desmond.

The Colston 4 verdict and the verdict of unlawful action Jenrick’s planning decision clearly do not sit well with the likes of Honest Bob.

However, he and others need to remember that justice – especially as perceived by juries in their verdicts – does not always match everyone’s expectations, especially where concepts of lawful and/or reasonable excuse are involved.

Justice is not like Woolworth’s Pick’n’Mix sweet counter and the likes of Honest Bob are in no position to lecture the masses about the sanctity of the rule of law.

In conclusion, here’s a wee photo for Bob, the right-wing press and social media accounts to think about. 😀

Photo reads: If pulling down a statue of a slave traders 'ruins your way of life' you are either... a) racist b) a pigeon

Christmas cancelled?

It’s that time of year again, when the rumour circulates that Christmas has been cancelled to avoid upsetting members of other faiths.

This is of course pure nonsense whipped up by fearful and over-sensitive right-wing commentators in the media and has been debunked every time it’s been mentioned.

Who’s to say that adherents of other religions don’t enjoy the Christmas celebrations as much as followers of Christ? Jesus was after all born Jewish and under the name of Isa, is regarded as one of the twenty-five prophets of Islam

As proof that this year’s Christmas has not been cancelled by the anonymous PC Brigade, here’s a shot taken of the window of my nearest butcher in Roman Road, Easton. Please supply your own stuffing and cranberry sauce. 😀

Poster reads place your fresh halal turkey order now

Cancelling Christmas has a long history in this country, stretching back to the mid-17th century when, following the English Civil War, the the Commonwealth of England was governed by a parliament dominated by Puritans, who objected to certain practices they viewed as unbiblical, including the long-established feast of Christmas. In 1647, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering it “a popish festival with no biblical justification“, as well as a time of wasteful and immoral behaviour. Protests followed: pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and indulged in other practices bound to annoy the killjoys who have been with us ever since.

All of which brings us to the infamous Winterval. Frequently cited as the ultimate Cancel Christmas event, Winterval was nothing of the sort, but a mere two events held in successive winters in November and December 1997 and 1998 to encourage people to return to the newly rejuvenated city centre. These featured secular and religious events marking religious and other occasions, including Christmas, during those two months. Winterval has since become popular shorthand for misrepresented events to “rebrand” Christmas so as not to exclude non-Christians.

Vowel movement on the buses

Bristol Post/Live, the city’s warped newspaper of record, seems to regard accuracy as minor matter coming well down the list of priorities topped by enticing readers to embrace clickbait and serving up advertising.

There are times when the quality of copy that is turned out contain such basic errors that one would only expect them from a child moving from primary to secondary school, of which today’s online edition displays a fine example as per the following screenshot.

Headline reads First Bus cuts ticket prices in Bristol to as law as £1 ahead of Christmas

The comments below the piece really highlight how the title’s more perceptive readers regard its ability to reach any standard exceeding low.

That decision made by Post owners Reach plc some years ago to dispense with sub-editors – those whose specific job it was to check copy for accurate grammar, spelling, tone and content before publication – is continuing to pay reduced quality dividends, isn’t it?

‘Concrete’ Mike pwned

Your ‘umble scribe is not a listener to Rupert Murdoch’s TalkRadio channel, being as it is top-heavy with right-wing presenters and commentators.

Furthermore, its audience compared to other national broadcasters is tiny, with Rajar figures revealing an average national number of listeners of 433,000, i.e. less than the current estimated population of Bristol.

One of those right-wing presenters had a bad day at the studio yesterday.

Step forward one Archibald Michael Graham, otherwise know as ‘Iron’ Mike, former editor of the Scottish edition of the Daily Mirror and former assistant editor of the Daily Brexit (which some still call the Express. Ed.).

Yesterday he’d invited Insulate Britain spokesperson Cameron Ford, onto the TalkRadio breakfast show, where he is currently deputising for the dreadful Julia Hartley-Brewer, ostensibly to discuss Insulate Britain’s latest protest action, but more likely so that Ford could give him a good verbal kicking for the entertainment of the station’s none too large audience.

However, matters did not progress entirely to plan, leaving Iron Mike’s carapace pitted with rust as he ended up displaying his own stupidity, which has now gone viral around the English-speaking world.

Graham’s stupidity was so egregious that the hashtag #ConcreteMike is trending on Twitter today.

The interview, which lasted less than one minute in total, starts with no style at all. Graham launches straight into an ad hominem attack on his guest – a carpenter by trade – claiming that wood is not a sustainable product, before trying to assert that concrete is a sustainable product, before being politely corrected. There then follow a period of silence before Graham ends the interview thinking he’s embarrassed his guest, whilst not having the nous to realise he has opened his mouth and inserted his foot up to the ankle, as per the video clip below.

Enforcement Bristol City Council style

Bristol has one of the highest council tax charges in the country.

Furthermore, it also provides tenth-rate services for that money.

Just how ineffective can be examined by looking at one particular so-called ‘service‘: enforcement against fly-tippers and the like.

In the penultimate of a regular series of meetings about cleanliness in Easton and Lawrence Hill wards, BCC’s head of enforcement just happened to mention he’d noticed an ‘issue‘ with fly-tipping in the Chaplin Road area.

Other local residents and your ‘umble scribe have only been reporting a problem in this area for some 10 and a half years, so there’s a clue as to how long it takes our apology for a local authority to notice something is wrong that doesn’t involve chasing non-payment of council tax or the issuing of bus passes (the only 2 council activities that seem to occur on an anything resembling an acceptable timescale. Ed.)

<I seem to recall the head of enforcement suggesting some remedial action needed taking.

That remedial action has now been implemented and is illustrated in the following photograph.

BCC A5 no fly-tipping sign

That’s right! The remedial measures seem to have consisted of sending a bloke out with an A5 corrugated plastic sign and cable ties and attaching it to a local resident’s railings at the junction of Chaplin Road and Normanby Road. Out of politeness, your correspondent shall refrain from asking whether the council gained the consent of the occupier/owner before affixing its notice.

This is the enforcement equivalent of a chocolate teapot, as can be seen by today’s photo of the same site.

Cardboard and other items in front of no fly-tipping sign

Clean streets campaigners are becoming increasingly fed up with inaction from the city council, particularly as it recently recruited several additional enforcement officers (posts passim).

With those additional enforcement officers and the lashings of cash provided by the public, I and other campaigners want more from the council.

So, come on BCC! Surely you can afford to have those nice, new enforcement officers deployed to stake out ‘grot spots‘ around the city outside office hours to catch offenders red-handed?

Meet Tokyo’s litter samurai

In Tokyo there’s a special team of you men and women who help keep the streets clean with some elegant and graceful moves they perform whilst dressed in traditional Japanese robes and Western trilby hats.

Known as Gomihiroi Samurai (“litter-picking Samurai”), these environmentally conscious individuals have a unique approach to clean streets, as can be seen below.

The group have gained popularity on social media site TikTok, where they have gained over 300,000 followers, as well as on InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

They’re all street performers and one of them, Naka Keisuke, told France 24 that the group thought they’d like to welcome visitors from around the world to a clean city when it was announced that Tokyo had been chosen for the last Olympic Games.

Given Bristol’s love for street performers, they’d go down a storm in the litter capital of the West Country… if they weren’t worn out by the sheer amount of filth.

Easton road unofficially renamed

On 11th October 1721 Bristol-born slave trader, insider share dealer, financier, religious bigot and former Tory MP for the city Edward Colston died at his home in Mortlake, then in Surrey, now in south west London.

In his will Eddie the Slaver left £50,000 for good causes in the city of Bristol, provided not one penny was spent on Catholics or non-conformists. This bequest formed the basis of the charitable works carried out to this day by the city’s secretive and elitist Society of Merchant Venturers.

In the late 19th century the Victorian fathers around the country – and they were all male and rich – were looking round for examples of former local worthies to commemorate. Bristol’s business and civic elite were no different in this respect from their counterparts elsewhere and chose this immoral man with blood on his hands for this philanthropy, even though we would now regard Colston’s wealth as blood money, i.e obtained at the expense of the life of others.

As memorials to his beneficence, a statue was erected to Colston in the city centre in 1895, whilst one of the city’s main entertainment venues was named after him, along with two city centre streets – Colston Street and Colston Avenue.

After the Colston statue was toppled last summer and then taken for an unscheduled bath in the city docks, the city council announced that both Colston Street and Colston Avenue would revert to the names they had for centuries – Steep Street and St. Augustine’s Back (or Bank) respectively – before they removed from the city’s street plan by the Cult of Colston.

Colston's empty plinth after the Black Lives Matter protest

In the east Bristol district of Easton, which underwent major development and expansion in the late 19th century, one of the new streets was named Colston Road in pursuit of this devotion to his cult. Despite years of clamour by Easton residents for the area’s slaver trader memorial street to be renamed, nothing happened (despite the road in question being home to one serving and one former city councillor. Ed.),so locals have now taken matters into their own hands.

Colston Road sign over-sprayed with Toppled Rd.

Your ‘umble scribe has been in touch with serving Easton ward councillor Barry Parsons about the inordinate amount of time Bristol City Council is taking to rename Slaver’s Road BS5.

Barry has been in touch with the council’s Street Naming and Numbering Officer, who is responsible for the naming and renaming of streets within Bristol’s boundaries. The Council’s street renaming policy requires full written consent from the owners of every property affected for a change of name. If such consent is forthcoming, the council the initiates a formal notice period for the name change where notices are erected on the street and wider objections can be made to the courts.

Why are efforts to rename Easton’s Slaver’s Road taking so long? The answer could lie in the fact that the road has 130 residential properties, many of them in the hands of absentee landlords, so obtaining written consent from so many disparate persons is an onerous task. However, your correspondent understands that efforts are underway, probably with that lack of alacrity so typical of BBC, to lower the threshold to 80 per cent.

The Severn Sea

Yesterday your correspondent took a break from the inner city and headed by rail to the North Somerset Coast at Weston-super-Mare.

Plenty of good, fresh air and healthy exercise was had, with my walking from the railway station to the far end of Weston bay at Uphill where the River Axe empties into the Bristol Channel between Brean Down and the semi-tidal Black Rock, as shown below.

View down the Axe estuary to the Bristol Channel

The River Axe flows into the Severn Sea between Brean Down (left) and Black Rock (right).

The eastern limit of the Bristol Channel is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization as that area between two lines between Sand Point in Somerset and Lavernock Point and the western limit a line between Hartland Point in Devon and St. Govan’s Head. Upstream of the eastern limits, the body water is the Severn Estuary, whilst westwards of the western limit is defined as the Celtic Sea.

Landsat 7 photo of Bristol Channel

The Severn estuary, Bristol Channel and eastern part of the Celtic Sea as seen from Landsat 7.

However, the phrase Bristol Channel has not always been used to characterise this area of water.

Until Tudor times the Bristol Channel was commonly known as the Severn Sea. Indeed, it is still known as this in both Welsh: Môr Hafren and Cornish: Mor Havren, whilst on Jacob Millerd’s 1673 map of Bristol shows the Severn Estuary in the Latin, Sabrina Fluvius, as depicted below.

Detail of Millerd's map showing the point where the Bristol Avon discharges into the Severn

Millerd’s River Severn from his 1673 map of Bristol.

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