Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Question Time

Both Jay Jethwa and I put questions for answer at this afternoon's Cabinet meeting at the council house. Fat lot of good it did either of us!

Jay felt entitled to a bit of action after being at the receiving end of those racist comments in the council's budget meeting. But by now, the 'coconut' jibe from the Ashley's LibDem councillor Shirley Brown has been referred to the council's standards board, so that provides the ideal cover for her Leader Barbara Janke to justify a 'no comment' position. For the time being the LibDems are desperately peddling the myth that the Florida councillor can represent her ward in Bristol - and throw in the odd racist insult - for two more years, making flying transatlantic visits as necessary. How long can they keep that up?

My own questions, about the impact of the recession on the Parks strategy, drew a rather condescending response from the Chief Park-keeper. What it amounts to is that they have no plans, but they're keeping their fingers crossed. For the time being, while they reckon up the saleable assets, there's no money for park improvements.

Of course, rising land values will mean rising house prices. Funny old world, where increased prices are seen as a 'good'.

All this makes you wonder what the value of 'public questions' is.

Sometimes they do get significant answers. It's two years since the (then) transport supremo Dennis Brown told me that one purpose of the South Bristol Ring Road is to '.... help reduce congestion within Bristol'. He was only echoing what the Greater Bristol Transport Strategy claimed - we need it to help relieve the congestion around Parson Street, Winterstoke Road, and the A370 (Ashton Way). The usual excuse for bypasses, in fact.

So... will it do what it sets out to do? Watch this space.....

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