Every month, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, gets a report sent to his desk to tell him who on Twitter has been talking about him. The conversations are summarised in positive and negative bullet points below a list of Twitterers’ handles.

The latest public report from December 2019 told him that people considered his comments to a local reporter Adam Postans, in chamber, as mostly childish and even bullying. On the plus side, his welcoming of the HMS Prince of Wales to its affiliated city was listed as positive. …


A top-hat wearing person, hanging down from an air-ship hot-air balloon, is pointing out a new direction through the clouds.

The Bristol Green Party have enough councillors in this new term of office that they can appoint a shadow cabinet to mirror Labour’s. The opposition party is not just there to scrutinise what the administration in power is doing; it is there to also provide an alternative vision for how decision making and spending could be carried out.

24 Green Party cllrs were elected in the May 2021 elections. They have equalled the biggest party, Labour, who also have 24 cllrs. However, because Bristol has a mayoral model with the mayor taking all power to them self, the number of…


Available in audio at the following link: https://anchor.fm/joanna-booth/episodes/A-Timeline-Of-The-Plague-Year-euuu0r

On March 23, 2020, the day that lockdown was announced, I was so nervous paying for my shopping at the supermarket that I forgot my PIN. There was a queue behind me, no masks, no separations from the till, just uncertainty. I had to leave everything at the counter and rush off.

It’s strange to think back now and realise that we knew so little; there was guesswork over symptoms, no tests or PPE available or even whether the disease was airborne or how it spread.

In the Guardian article ‘Which activities…


Even before the “anti-woke” GB News channel began its first broadcast, the campaign group Stop Funding Hate had started a boycott. As the first shows began to air, the outrage started to grow on Twitter and the calls for boycotting advertisers increased. Viewers could now identify and contact those corporations who were giving their money to the news channel.

Four days on later, and GB News have hit back with a boycott of their own. They are urging their viewers to boycott the companies boycotting them. These include the Open University, Specsavers, Grolsch, Ikea, and Kopparburg.


It’s been a year since Colston’s Floating Harbour splash made ripples around the world. The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, saw his popularity rise astronomically with media outside Bristol. A documentary called Statue Wars featuring him about Colston’s toppling is premiering on 10 June 2021.

A year ago, in June 2020, he gave 60 interviews to media all around the world — and five to his local favourites Ujima and BCFM. …


A man yelling ‘Read the standing orders, read them and understand them’ may have been a the most laughable meme in local politics this winter but it’s the most relevant part about how to scrutinise the next administration.

First, you need to know the rules.

A screenshot from a Full Council meeting where the mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees is lecturing a doctor who brought to public forum a petition to save children’s lives.
A screenshot from a Full Council meeting where the mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees is lecturing a doctor who brought to public forum a petition to save children’s lives.

In Bristol, there are various rules and evidence that (should) constrain and guide behaviour. Some of the main ones can be found in the following locations:

Legislation

Council regulations

Contracts and spending

It’s important to check every week or month where the council are spending our money. …


In this hazy twilight between the old administration and the new one, we have a chance to look at what’s important in the council without worrying about what colour suit the politicians will be wearing.

There are two important questions in a democracy:

  1. Who benefits?
  2. How?
A person thinking of what they’re typing on their laptop

I say that these are important questions in a democracy because the implication of ‘rule by the people’ assumes that each person has an equal chance of being heard and of being treated equally.

When these two principles fail, we ask why, how, and to whose benefit?

In order to ask these questions, we…


You may think that I’m being snide in thanking the current Labour mayor but I’m really not. Marvin Rees, seemingly the very antithesis of Jeremy Corbyn who played a great part in getting him elected, has probably helped us awaken more as residents than the man who turned the other cheek.

Many say about Corbyn that he was too nice. If he had been more ruthless and got rid of the right-wing faction of Labour and the traitors on the inside then we would have had a chance at something in 2019. We could have had a chance of change.


During a pre-election interview with the Nicky Blackmarket Show, Marvin Rees explained how protestors who had recently come out to the streets to protest the policing bill, were privileged activists.

He said, “When you had the smashing up of the town centre, I said there were some ‘privileged activists’ down there. The guy from 24/7, the editor down there, said it like I’d said a swear word.”

Martin Booth, editor of Bristol24/7, did indeed ask the question at the mayoral hustings on 29 April 2021. …


The mayor is campaigning on a platform of “no cost to the taxpayer” for the YTL arena in Filton. However, this claim does not reflect reality.

A tweet from mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees saying: “Full steam ahead for Bristol’s 17,000+ seater arena, Europe’s greenest ever, all at no cost to the taxpayer. Pleased to see that @YTL_Arena are investing £3m+ in Park and Rides, Electric Vehicle charging, shuttle buses, cycling, and A38 improvements. https://twitter.com/MarvinJRees/status/1387830998327599104?s=20
A tweet from mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees saying: “Full steam ahead for Bristol’s 17,000+ seater arena, Europe’s greenest ever, all at no cost to the taxpayer. Pleased to see that @YTL_Arena are investing £3m+ in Park and Rides, Electric Vehicle charging, shuttle buses, cycling, and A38 improvements. https://twitter.com/MarvinJRees/status/1387830998327599104?s=20

Bristol taxpayers have already paid millions for YTL’s arena. We will continue to pay millions for years to come.

Let me list all the associated costs that I know of so far. They are not exhaustive and the £216.5m I have established is not the final cost.

YTL planning permission for Filton Arena

For YTL to get planning permission in Filton, Bristol City Council officers had to solve a conundrum. The Temple Island site could not be available for use…

Joanna Booth

Freelance journalist and book editor.

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