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Enforcement Bristol City Council style

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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?

Anonymity and hypocrisy

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Priti Patel, inexplicably promoted beyond her competence (i.e. unfit to clean a public office, let alone fill one. Ed.) by part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to Home Secretary, announced her latest authoritarian measure last Sunday; this time mis-targeted at reducing online harassment and abuse on social media.

Reporting on her appearance on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, The Independent writes:

Ms Patel indicated she is considering going a step further by requiring sites such as Facebook or Twitter to retain details of the identities of people posting material which could be handed over to police investigating crimes.

Needless to say Patel’s announcement of the proposed slap of firm government has gone down well with the more right-leaning members of the British establishment, one of whom took to the very same social media to become a cheerleader for repression.

Tweet from Lance Forman stating Excellent. Anonymity should be removed from social media

Lance who?

At this point someone steps forward with no style at all and inserts his foot firmly between his teeth, namely Mr Lance Philip Forman, educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Trinity College, Cambridge. However, this scion of the British establish is better known as a former Brexit Party MEP, as well as the owner of London-based salmon smokers H. Forman and Son.

Forman is not backwards in coming forward to support Priti Patel’s proposal to ban social media anonymity, tweeting:

Excellent. Anonymity should be removed from social media.
However,and it’s a substantial however too, Mr Forman’s support for the alleged home secretary’s anonymity proposal comes with a large helping, not of smoked salmon but cordon bleu grade hypocrisy.

Use quick internet search on Mr Forman quickly turns up his Wikipedia page, which just happens to mention the following information which does not lend support to his stance:

Lance Philip Anisfeld (born 13 October 1962), known professionally as Lance Philip Forman, is a British politician and businessman,…

Known professionally as… Isn’t that the same as concealing one’s true identity which is not too far removed from hiding behind anonymity? 😉

Meet Tokyo’s litter samurai

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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.

A brief reminder

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From my Twitter feed, a not so subtle hint as to why the use of contraception is not only important for controlling population and family size, but also to reduce the world’s quota of idiots, pathological liars, charlatans, egotists, philanderers,…

Poster featuring Boris Johnson worded Durex could have prevented this

As this post is being written, news has arrived that the lazy so-and-so is on holiday.

Again!

Daily Brexit: promises versus reality

The Daily Express, aka the Daily Brexit in some circles, was one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.) to leave to European Union, which if not promising a land flowing with biblical milk and honey, it was at the very least holding out the prospect of one where cake could both be had and eaten.

However, the reality of being a third country and the spite, nastiness and xenophobia that have exemplified the British government and media’s attitude to our European friends and partners (© part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) and development since 21st December 2020 have made the Daily Brexit’s mission of being upbeat about the country’s splendid isolation more difficult, as shown by evidence from its own post-Brexit headlines.

How it started How it’s going
On the left pre-referendum headlines. On the right post-referendum reality headlines

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.

Reasons to be fearful

As your ‘umble scribe writes this post, part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is now on day two of an extensive reshuffle of government ministers.

His first cabinet was chosen more for loyalty to Brexit than for talent and included some who had done a complete 180-degree turn on their pre-referendum stance in order to climb the greasy pole of political ambition.

The latter include the singularly untalented Liz Truss (whose biggest achievement as Trade Secretary was copying and pasting new copies of pre-existing EU trade agreements with third countries so they could continue in effect in a post-Brexit context. Ed.), who can now carry on filling in the ministerial My First Foreign Secretary’s Colouring Atlas where Dominic Raab left off, following the latter’s demotion to Justice Secretary.

The singularly unattractive Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary. The less said about that the better.

However, given the shallowness of the Tory talent pool, the most surprising appointment of the first day of Johnson’s rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic was his appointment of Nadine Dorries as Secretary of State for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport. Nadine was put on Earth to demonstrate that potatoes are more intelligent beings than the Rt. Hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire.

Part of the fragrant Nadine’s brief includes all things digital, including the minor matter of IT security. To gain an insight into the new Secretary of State’s attitude to this subject, I refer readers to 2 Dorries tweets from 2017.

Tweets read 1. My staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday. Including interns on exchange programmes. For the officer on @BBCNews just now to claim that the computer on Greens [sic] desk was accessed and therefore it was Green is utterly preposterous  You need a pass to get that and 2 Everyone who has my login has a security pass

Cavalier doesn’t quite describe such an attitude to basic security and privacy.

Then there’s the whole question of gravitas – a necessary pre-requisite for public office, not that you’d know it with Bozo the Clown’s appointments.

A quick glance across the English Channel and North Sea to 2 European counterparts reveals some startling contrasts. Besides being French Culture Minister, present incumbent Roselyne Bachelot is an opera fan who has written a well-regarded work on Verdi. Monika Grütters, Germany’s Culture Minister was a university lecturer before entering politics and is still an honorary professor at Berlin’s Free University. On the other hand, Dorries’ biggest claim to fame (after her fiddling expenses) is eating ostrich anus on a so-called reality television show.

Thank you Viz

When Viz comic first emerged onto the British media scene in 1979 its content was based on parodying British children’s comics, notably The Beano and The Dandy (both of which your ‘umble scribe read as a child. Ed.) – of the post-war period with the extensive use of obscenity, toilet humour, black comedy, surreal humour and generally sexual or violent storylines.

It is therefore no surprise that Viz has been taking aim at – and having fun with – part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his government of high-functioning imbeciles (the only funny-bone ticklers having a hard job mocking Bozo and his clowns are the satirists. Ed.).

Viz's targeting uses as its vehicle the long-running classic British Carry On film franchise series.

Spoof cinema poster for Carry On Covid

Nevertheless, there seems to have been some mis-casting in the Viz version: Sid James has more competence in his little finger than Bozo the Clown has in his whole anatomy, whilst Priti Patel is more noted for her lack of humanity than an ability to deliver a double entendre.

Only one resident at a time

The flats at Combfactory Court in Easton have a capacious car park with at least 6 or 8 spaces.

However, owing to stringent restrictions imposed on its use – as shown below on the notice on its railings – only one resident is allowed to park at any one time.

Notice reads Resident's Only Parking

Resident’s only? Not a chance for greengrocer’s then!

Whoever is in charge of the car park has contributed to public view a textbook example of the greengrocer’s apostrophe. This is an informal term in British English for the non-standard use of an apostrophe before the final -s in the plural. It would appear the efforts of examinations body the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since 2006 have been in vain.

Ambiguity corner – latest

For the second time this week, Reach plc’s Wales Online title graces this blog with its presence due to its journalists’ failure to understand the word ambiguity, let alone recognise what it means and how avoiding it is crucial for members of the fourth estate.

Today sees a classic ambiguous headline for this story.

Headline reads; Boy, 15, approached woman in woods armed with log and said 'give me all your stuff'

Who was armed with the log? Take your pick!

Amongst other things, the Guardian and Observer style guide states that ambiguity is a common problem in headlines”.

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