Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Playing Politics with Plot 6

It turns out that Bristol's 'strategic transport supremo' (as the LibDems like to call Gary Hopkins) was leading us all up the garden path when he confidently told us that Plot 6, alongside Temple Meads railway station, is set to become Bristol's major transport interchange.

Gary based his optimism on 'pressure' he put on Transport Minister Norman Baker in February. But when I wrote a follow-up (on behalf of the Greens) to the Minister in support of the same thing, the reply revealed just how hollow Gary's statement had been.

Not only is the Transport Minister unable to intervene (the disposal of Plot 6 is driven by Vince Cable's dBIS), but Gary's officers in Bristol City Council couldn't give Network Rail any idea of what a transport hub would entail. So you can see how seriously they've been taking the idea

(more - with loads of references - in this news release)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Canine Defence

It's leafletting time again. So out comes Thrust, scourge of the letterboxes, hand crafted to get election addresses straight onto 90% of doormats without loss of fingers.

Thrust used to be just called 'the pusher', but my marketing consultants advised the change of name. Anyway, in the spirit of co-operation and to help save the NHS lots of time and money, I'm glad to make the idea freely available to all parties.

Yesterday I met the Labour candidate for the first time, on Sturminster Road. Seems nice enough, though her companion feared that Greens' 'extreme' policies might deprive him of electric light. You'd think anyone with enough commitment to distribute election leaflets would be a bit more aware; I had to point out that it's the Labour/Tory/LibDem lookalikes who want to dress us all in hair shirts these days. (Well, everyone but the bankers, anyway. Armani don't do hair shirts).

Leafletting can be a bit dispiriting; plenty of houses had the recycling boxes out, many with a range of election material already prominent. Houses and gardens showing neglect and suggesting a poverty of spirit; paved over gardens so tightly packed with car that it was near impossible to squeeze past; and steps; and more steps.....

At this point, any 'proper' politician would remark on the very positive signals he was getting on the doorsteps from the electorate who are clearly fed up with the candidates of the other parties and see the Greens as the best hope for the future with positive and realistic policies. Truth is, I met scarcely anyone on the doorsteps; most seemed to be enjoying their gardens in the sunshine, which is much the better thing to do.

My black-on-white leaflet, I have to confess, doesn't compare with the multicoloured stuff the other parties are putting out. But it does tell anyone who cares to read it something about me, what I've been doing locally, how I approach particular issues. Which may, of course, be a mistake - the more you put on a leaflet, the more chance there'll be something the reader doesn't like.

The other candidates have a more guarded approach, sticking to highly selective lines and traditional topics.

Labour are suggesting that council money invested in a hydrogen powered harbour ferry would be better spent improving the 54 bus (whether they'd do this, and how, isn't explained).

The LibDems seem, surprisingly, to be pouring money into their hopeless Stockwood campaign with multiple glossy handouts. The usual deceptive graphs, of course, but you expect that, it comes with the brand. Some very imaginative claims, too. But I'll come back to that in another post!

As for the Tories, their handouts are rich in candidate pictures, poor on text; mostly trying to make an association with something good that would have happened anyway. But I won't be too hard on them, my picture and email are on there too - unattributed, of course.

The election count, at one time carried out at a local school, has been 'centralised' so we'll all have to hang around while other wards (plus the referendum) are verified and counted; Stockwood will be one of the last to be declared, sometime in the small hours.

I'm told that the council doesn't have a room big enough to do all this, so it's using the conference room in the Dolman Stand at Ashton Gate.

Now that should deserve a blog post in its own right! And maybe a taxi, too. SL could pay.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Analysing the NO to AV campaign

I first tried this link in a Dorset public library - but Websense, the net-nanny, decided it wasn't suitable!

I think it's pretty fair, though...

Friday, 15 April 2011

It came out of the woods...

as the chainsaws moved in.

We call it OAKELA.

Many a Cowslip...

The cowslips in the new header bar are part of my usual habit of reflecting the seasonal changes. The uncut grasslands of the Open Space is now full of them, from the Burnbush Valley right round to the dipping pond meadow and up to the Coots.

A 3-year study of them also reflects the way climate change is likely to impact on all species. There's close monitoring of the temperature and other environmental variants affecting particular samples across the Open Space, along with a study of the genetic variations that occur in close populations, how they're pollinated and by what insects, etc. The bottom line is about how the species can adapt to a changing environment, or migrate to more hospitable sites as the climate changes, and ecosystems change with it. Can't help thinking that's what our species will have to do, too, unless we act quickly.

It's a Ph.D research project, and there's a request for local people to take part by keeping their eyes open and sending in relevant observations. Photos of pollinators will be especially welcome. Send details to charlotte.bickler (at)