Up To Two Years In Prison For Vehicle Dwellers? Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees’ in Bid to Ethnically Cleanse St Werburgh’s
Bristol’s Labour Mayor Marvin Rees has employed an expensive London barrister, one of the UK’s top public law and injunction lawyers, in a bid to ban travellers from the central Bristol parish of St Werburgh’s. This means scores of individuals who have managed to get an affordable vehicle or caravan roof over their heads may now be criminalised for living in this part of the city.
Though businesses and a small number of residents have been complaining on and off for a decade or so about vehicle dwellers in the area, in February 2020 articles written by the Bristol Post chief reporter Conor Gogarty appeared in the local paper and the national Daily Mirror accusing, with only circumstantial photographic evidence, van-dwellers collectively of a host of crimes including drug use, graffiti, defecating in the street, crimes which are, in fact endemic right across the poorer quarters of the city. Not mentioned by Mr Gogarty in his articles is Bristol mayor Marvin Rees’ closure of the city’s public toilets and refusal of Marvin Rees’ administration to provide even simple sanitary or rubbish facilities for van-dwellers in the form of portaloos or communal bins.
If the plaintiffs, Bristol City Council Legal Services Department represented by Mr Daniel Stilitz QC, are successful, it will mean signs going up on lampposts in the parish injuncting all van and caravan dwellers out of the area. Anyone discovered by Bristol City Council security, civil enforcement officers or police to be sleeping in a vehicle or caravan in St Werburgh’s will be liable to be summonsed for contempt of court, facing a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
This quarter of the city is presently undergoing gentrification and some travellers believe that the council’s move may be driven by property speculators who believe new flats will not sell for top prices if the area is seen to be ‘teeming with travellers’. But Bristol is one of the most important traveller cities in the UK with many working on the South West annual festival circuit and spending the winter in the city. The 2020 pandemic however has decimated cultural and creative industries and meant many travellers are spending summer in the city for the first time in decades raising the question that Marvin Rees and the city establishment see this one-off pandemic-induced traveller overload as a rare ‘opportunity’ to target itinerants.
Indeed travellers have been staying in Bristol for centuries and as such are a protected ethnic group under European, British and Bristol City Council’s own human rights legislation/ethical standards.
Many have pointed out that whereas the previous independent mayor George Ferguson took a more tolerant view, trying to balance the needs of van-dwellers with the concerns of local residents wherever possible in the city, the present unelected Labour mayor Marvin Rees, who, due to SARS-CoV-2, did not stand for re-election as he was due to do in May 2020, has been working much more closely with local businesses, firmly taking their side in the long-running dispute.
In an apparently contradictory twist mayor Rees is this week also calling for compassion toward minorities in his ‘City of Sanctuary’, updated in 2020 to a ‘City of Hope’ asking Bristol residents to take vulnerable homeless people into their own homes. On 11 August he was quoted by the BBC: “We have a great opportunity to make sure that no-one has to return to the streets following the Covid-19 crisis, and that includes people seeking asylum in our city.”
In a previous case two years ago in June 2018 Mr Rees successfully injuncted scores of van-dwellers in the Easton area of Bristol out of Greenbank Road next to Greenbank cemetery, with the mayor who also lives adjacent to the cemetery presumably being one of those calling for the travellers to be removed from just one road rather than a whole parish. Many are now wondering, if Marvin Rees obtains this injunction, from Greenbank displacing travellers to St Werburgh’s to….? Where will the scores of van-dwellers be ‘herded’ to next?
Or will Marvin Rees decide that with large council-owned sites around the city centre fenced off and empty, he may now have a duty to open them up for travellers.
The case is due to conclude at Bristol’s Civil Justice Centre in November.
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Was Easton-born Bristol Post editor Mike Norton sacked because he called out Bristol mayor Marvin Rees’ for bullying journalist Adam Postans?
Bristol Post editor slams mayor’s ‘petty and childish’ ridicule of local democracy reporter – ‘That the people who run our city would behave in this way towards another human being, in plain sight, is reprehensible. It is an abuse of the public platform which their roles bestow upon them. And that’s the point here. Adam is not just a journalist. He represents the public, who pay his wages – and the wages of the people mocking him. When Mr Rees and his cronies ridiculed Adam, they were ridiculing all of us and our right to scrutinise council business. Adam, who has been a qualified journalist for 24 years, was the only reporter at the meeting. These people would clearly prefer his seat to remain unoccupied. They want to control the narrative of how the council’s business is reported, laced with their own nuances and no mentions of overspends or attribution.
Reach PLC controls Express, Mirror and Bristol Post, editor for 15 years Mike Norton has ‘left’ The Post – Bristol Post newspaper job cuts ‘a threat to democracy’ – The National Union of Journalists has warned about the “threat to democracy” over the planned cuts. Redundancies at two local newspapers pose “a grave threat” to Bristol’s democracy, a union has warned. All nine news reporters at the Bristol Post are at risk along with all staff at the Western Daily Press. “Fewer journalists means fewer people to question those in power,” a spokesperson for the National Union of Journalists said. The owner of the two titles, Reach, said it was “proud” of its Bristol papers and the “vital role” they play. “Reach continues to consult with colleagues and trade unions over the proposed changes which are subject to a minimum-45 day statutory consultation period,” the statement added. “The pandemic has seen significant declines in local advertising, so these changes are required and are about us operating more efficiently to protect local journalism and our news brands for the long-term.” Reach, which was created in March 2018 when Trinity Mirror bought the Daily Express and other titles, saw a 13% drop in revenue last year amid a continued decline in print newspaper sales. ‘Grave threat’: The firm, which also runs the Bristol Live website, announced the cuts earlier in July. In a meeting with staff on Wednesday, bosses told employees that 22 of 58 at-risk posts would be going across titles in the South West. Nationally, Reach is cutting 550 jobs. It comes after the editor of the Post, Mike Norton, left his job after 15 years in the role.
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Rockefeller Foundation ‘Lock Step’ Paper Published in 2010 Predicted How a Pandemic Could be Used as an Excuse to Establish Global Authoritarian Power – Need to Know’ news site – Lockstep. China. Depopulation and Covid 19 – The report in question has the bland title, “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development.” It was published in May 2010 in cooperation with the Global Business Network of futurologist Peter Schwartz