Posts Tagged ‘Bristol’

Post promotes “vandal thug”

June 12, 2009

The fucking hypocrisy! Today, Bristol’s own Banksy opens his massive new show at the City Museum. As part of the PR hype the artist has given an “exclusive” to the Evening Post.

Although it isn’t really that exclusive. Internet rumours of a Banksy summer show in Bristol have been flying around for ages; Venue magazine reported the rumours weeks ago. Last night Twitter was burning up with Tweets revealing the venue to be the City Museum and a local blogger actually managed to get a sneak a picture through a gap in a door. Even Radio 4’s Today programme had reported from the Banksy V Bristol Museum show before the Post revealed its “exclusive” online at 0930 (presumably to meet the PR’s embargo instructions).

And what a load of gush the story is; someone at the Post this morning must have very wet undercrackers:

The world’s most famous living artist is coming home. Banksy has sneaked his biggest ever UK exhibition into Bristol.

The Bristol Evening Post can exclusively reveal that the mysterious artist, best known for his subversive stencil graffiti work, has taken over much of Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery.

We even have a world exclusive in publishing a picture of the outlandish installation that will greet the hundreds of thousands of art lovers who are likely to descend on the city through the summer from around the world.

. . .

Speaking exclusively to the Bristol Evening Post, Banksy said: “The people of Bristol have always been very good to me – I decided the best way to show my appreciation was by putting a bunch of old toilets and some live chicken nuggets in their museum.

. . .

Many of his most iconic pieces of graffiti have become landmarks in Bristol – from the distinctive Mild, Mild West mural in Stokes Croft, to the naked adulterer apparently hanging from a window on the wall of a sexual health clinic in Park Street.

But this exhibition will be the greatest gift he could have presented to his home city . . .

Banksy personally requested that news of his latest show should be revealed in his home city’s local newspaper.

We have also been offered an exclusive sneak preview of the show today, ahead of its opening. There will be more pictures to follow, and don’t miss your copy of the Bristol Evening Post tomorrow.

[. . . pukes]

But can this really be the same Evening Post which in 2004 ran an “exclusive” photo which “unmasked” Banksy along with this accompanying comment:

So the graffiti artist Banksy is unmasked.

After years of hiding behind a full-face balaclava his identity is revealed.

With his loss of anonymity has gone much of his mystique.

For he thrived on the majority of us not knowing who he was.

Perhaps now we have seen his face we can focus upon whether he is an artist or a common vandal with a talent for using a spray can.

. . .

Raising an aerosol in the name of art may be a way of celebrating free speech but it has a damaging impact on the environment.

For graffiti spawns graffiti and there is no guarantee of its calibre.

. . .

And as Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo rightly remarked the other day, it scars communities.

If we tolerate graffiti then it will occur everywhere. And that means on walls, buildings, shops, pavements and bridges.

It doesn’t bring colour and interest to an area – it desecrates that area.

And as graffiti grows so people’s pride in the area dwindles.

Someone like Banksy has to understand that and take responsibility for it.

And the same Evening Post which in 2007 said:

Bristol City Council deserves great credit for its plans to tackle graffiti.
It spoils and devalues the look of the city in which we live. And the people responsible for it are nothing more than vandals.
So the city council’s plans for undercover surveillance of the most frequently targeted places is exactly the right approach.
Graffiti artists operate by stealth, so let’s catch them by using the same tactics.
Don’t be fooled by people who bleat about graffiti being a form of self-expression. Nor by those who hold up the likes of Banksy and claim him as a great artist.
Talented he may be and some are willing to pay ludicrous prices for his work but by his own definition he is a vandal.
So let us not make any exceptions. Let’s tar all of those who daub graffiti on buildings, walls, bridges and trains with the same brush.
They are breaking the law and they should be prosecuted.
The city council’s surveillance plans must be the first step. When they have identified the people responsible then it is crucial that they are prosecuted. And it is equally important that if convicted they receive a harsh sentence – whether it’s a fine or a jail term.
No one should shy away from coming down hard on these people. They deface the world around them, they make our environment a poorer place, not a better one.
They are not artists, they are just thugs with spray cans who have found a way to put two-fingers up to society and it is about time society hit back.

Of course, as Banksy has become more popular, famous, rich and establishment, the Post have gradually come around to appreciating his art.

This is obviously philistine bollocks; defining art by its cash value or its celebrity endorsements. It leads to the ludicrous debates we see regularly in the Post about whether a particular piece of graffiti is or is not “a real Banksy”: a paternity test to divine its value and decide whether it is art to be praised or vandalism to be scrubbed away by the council, trashed and forgotten like yesterday’s Evening Post.


Post plays with fascist fire

May 20, 2009

Local elections launch

You may not have realised, but there are local elections in Bristol on June 4th.

This is the Post’s coverage of the announcement of the list of candidates from May 13th.

You’ll notice that of 14 paragraphs the Post feels it necessary to dedicate seven to the fascist BNP: A party which has 0 seats in the city and is fielding eight candidates out of a possible 23 seats and who’s highest share of the vote at the last election was less 20% in St George East with 560 votes.

The article’s top headline “BNP fields more candidates than ever” is an interesting choice, too. Why not “Greens field more candidates than ever before” and report how the Greens (who already hold one seat and may pick up another this time) are standing in all seats for the first time. Or, “Respect party fields more candidates than ever”?

And why does Ian Onions feel it necessary to give us four paragraphs of detail from the fascists’ manifesto and no mention of any other party’s policies?

Are the Post actually trying to big-up the fascists’ chance of doing well in the election by giving them disproportionate coverage?

If they are going to give the BNP disproportionate publicity why not mention their links to terrorism and Nazi-criminals? Why not point out the recent revelations about their links with the KKK and a South African racist murder? Why not mention the fascist ideology of the BNP and it’s lineage through the National Front to the British Union of Fascists? Why not quote the BNP’s founder that “Mein Kampf is our Bible”?

In fact, the Post seem pathetically scared of upsetting the BNP. We’ve recently seen a copy of a letter sent to the Post’s editors by a local antifascist campaigner asking why the Post refuses to print letters or statements from ant-racists which expose the BNP’s fascist heritage and ideology. The campaigner claims that the Post regularly edits out of letters any mention of the criminal convictions of the BNP’s leaders and those Nazi quotes that Nick Griffin wants us all to forget about. What’s the matter, Post? Have you fallen for the BNP’s propaganda that they are a normal, respectable political party? Are you scared of upsetting those BNP supporting readers?

It certainly seems from recent coverage that the Post is almost hoping for success for the BNP; not because the Post’s journos and editors support the fascists, I’m sure they don’t. But rather, because it makes an interesting story; a bit of controversy and conflict, a bit of reader reaction to fill the letters pages and comments section of the website.

There is a problem with a local corporate rag which is focussed primarily on sales and profits. Their political ‘neutrality’ actually hides the contradictory forces at play: the desire not to upset the status quo, their powerful friends and contacts; and the desire for conflict and disruption to give them something to report, something to provoke a reaction from their readers and shift papers.

The result of this fake-neutrality is that the paper isn’t on the side of ordinary Bristolians, at all. Political neutrality actually translates into a partisanship on the side of sales and profits, and fuck the consequences for the rest of us.

Holocaust Balls

May 20, 2009

EP - S Savile - Holocaust ballls

She didn’t just . . . did she? Did she really just . . .

I’m really not sure what the fuck point Suzanne Savill is struggling to make in this column from last Wednesday (May 14th).

Because it seems to me like Suzanne is trying to compare: a scuffle in the street between a couple of members of the Stokes Croft great-unwashed and the effect it had on her precious sprogs with the murder of 6 million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.

But, she can’t really be saying that because that would be stupid as fuck and disgustingly offensive, wouldn’t it. So what the fuck is she on about?

How the Evening Post incites racial hatred: Part 94

May 6, 2009

This story from today’s Post (May 6th 2009):

Browser title: Travellers children stealing from Lady Chique dress shop in Horfield.

Headline: Bristol shopkeeper – travellers use their kids to steal.

A Bristol dress shop owner fears she could be put out of business by “travellers” who use their children to help them steal.

Susanne Lawson, who owns Lady Chique in Horfield, says she is being targeted by families of thieves who regularly take valuable items.

She says thousands of pounds of dresses and clothes have gone missing from her shop over the last few years and in the last month her business has been hit several more times.

Last Friday afternoon, a family of four with Irish accents went into the shop on Gloucester Road. The mother tried on a gown and a man, presumed to be her partner or husband, went to the till and tried to pay for a different dress.

But the cash card he used had no chip in it and while he distracted Mrs Lawson, the woman and a girl aged about four left the shop with a dress worth £350.

. . .

Mrs Lawson, 57, who suffers from severe arthritis added: “I’m thinking of putting up a sign on the door saying ‘no travellers’. I might be targeted again for speaking out but I don’t care, I’ve had enough. Travellers are not welcome in my shop.

Mrs Lawson has already put a notice on her shop door saying: “We have been targeted by a certain element. These people have stolen from us for the last time.

“This store will only be open to socially acceptable people not those who expect normal people to pay for their existence.”

The last theft happened just before 3pm on Friday afternoon. The woman said the dress was for her sister’s wedding.

“When I was at the till I saw her bend down, give something to the girl and she screwed it up tight.

“It’s really upsetting. I’m struggling as it is and I cannot afford to let these dresses go. They are putting me out of business.

“The people who do this are very sneaky. They have no social graces and no conscience. They send their kids in to steal.

“I just wish they would stay away. I’ve got very bad arthritis so there’s very little I can do.”

Note that nowhere in this story is any evidence offered by either the Post or the shopkeeper to back up their claims that the shoplifters are Travellers.

Even if they could prove that they are Travellers it would still not be acceptable to report the story this way; suggesting that shoplifting is an issue specifically related to Travellers and that these people are shoplifting because they are Travellers.

Of course, the editor would tell us that they are just reporting what they’ve been told; that they are not making any assumptions or judgements; that they are just objective reporters. But anyone with any intelligence can see from they way the story is reported that that is a load of bollocks.

In fact, one has to wonder why this is even a story. Would this be a story if there wasn’t the Irish Traveller allegation attached? Would they normally be reporting a couple of cases of shoplifting? How many cases of shoplifting happen in this city every day?

Jo from Horfield points out in the comments the NUJ code of conduct says, “A journalist shall only mention a person’s age, race, colour, creed, illegitimacy, disability, marital status (or lack of it), gender or sexual orientation if this information is strictly relevant.”

The Press Complaints Commission code of conduct says:

12 Discrimination

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Of course, the problem with these codes is that they are virtually useless. The NUJ code is unenforceable. The PCC is a toothless watchdog controlled and funded by the newspaper industry. The current chair of its editors’ code committee is that well know fighter for justice, equality and fairness, Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail.

The other problem with the PCC is that only individuals directly affected by a story can complain to it. The newspapers know this and cause offence appropriately. So, the Post know that their readership is generally middle-aged, middle-class, white and (small-c) conservative. They will be assuming that few, if any Irish Travellers are reading their hate propaganda and so a successful complaint to the PCC is highly unlikely. They also know that the prejudices their story plays on are shared by many of their readers. Just check out the comments online:

“Should allow shopkeepers to keep shotguns for dirty pikey pest control.”

Laura, Bristol

I used to work in a mobile phone shop and we had the same problem, they would come in the store in big groups and steal anything!! Then they would bring it back a few days later and try and get a refund! I was working in my own once in our cheltenham shop, I refused to give them a refund and this guy took his shoe off and tried to hit me…

Adam, Bristol, Voda-Moan

Where i work we have always had blatant thieving by the great unwashed . . .

Seamus O`theavery, Severn Beach

Jo get back in your box. It’s people like you that have led to an influx of illegals and foreigners in this country and not doing anything about it. Lets see how you would feel if some of these robbed your house or place of work.

Mary, Bristol

Fucking assholes.

You can of complain directly to Post about their story; but don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply. We are aware of several cases of people complaining to editor Mike Norton about breaches of the PCC code and not receiving even an acknowledgement of their complaint, let alone an explanation or correction.

Update: Now the idiot-hole shopkeeper has wadded into the ‘debate’ on the Post website in an attempt to prove she is not a racist idiot. Her barely-literate ramblings include:

What some people need to accept is that I am not the one targetting Irish travellers’ (that’s travellers NOT Gypsies), Irish Travellers are targetting ME. . .

Why would these individuals support these, thieving Irish travellers? Or any thief, of any colour?, for any reason? I challenge ‘Jo’ to invite a family of Irish Travellers into her home, (the kind that steal from my salon) see what you have left when they leave. . .

Irish Travellers … mostly devoid of social graces and behave with the life motto – ‘I didn’t work for it, but I’m going to steal from someone who did!
Susanne at Lady Chique.

Susanne, Lady Chique, Filton Rd, Horfield

Yeah, I ain’t no racialist, but . . .
Meanwhile, there’s also a debate going on over at Bristol Indymedia about this story.

Plastic hacks & plastic cops

February 13, 2009

EP - On the beat 1

Back to the topic of what the Bristol Blogger calls the Evening Post’s “comedy columnists”. Let us introduce PC Martin Hudd, AKA PC Derkhead Dud, and his weekly “On the Beat” column of police propaganda.

PC Dud is the Post’s second “On the Beat” columnist, having taken over from PC Lee Kerslake at the beginning of this year. As you can see from PC Dud’s first column (I’m raring to get writing, left), there was nearly no more “On the Beat” after illiterate-Lee quit last year. Dud tells us that none of the cops down at Trinity nick wanted to take over the column – presumably they were worried about exposing themselves as dumbass, boot-licking, ignoramuses like PC Kerslake did every week for a year.

So, here we have a whole column in a major local newspaper joking about how no one wants to write the fucking column. Is the Post that desperate for contributors? Well, no, obviously not. But they are desperate to fill their pages for free. And with the threat of redundancy hanging over yet more professional Post journos, we can only expect more of this drivel.

So, how has Dud been getting on after two months in his “second career as a journalist”. We just picked up this week’s column (PCSOs prove their worth, Thursday 12 Feb, below right) to see what he’s been up to with his new box of crayons.

We’re not sure what the fuck Dud’s getting at in his intro here, but he seems to be comparing his PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) plastic-pig colleagues to some kind of vermin. Fair point, but I’m sure people have been arrested for lesser crimes.

So, it turns out the column is a bit of puff for some new PCSOs in East Bristol. PC Dud gives us some examples of the great police work done by PCSOs such as organising “clean-up days” and “fun days”. And ain’t that exactly why we pay council tax to the cops?  For them to clean the streets and organise fun days? (And shit, don’t that just sound like a FUN day, organised by a cop.)

Dud says, “Whatever your views on PCSOs, it cannot be denied that they have enhanced the service given to the public.” EP - On the beat 2

Really? Well just one week ago on 5th Feb there was a story all over the press about PCSOs.

The Telegraph reported “Bored police community support officers are committing crimes”,

Bored and unmotivated police community support officers (PCSOs) in the country’s largest force are committing criminal offences, a report has disclosed.

New figures show that PCSOs are responsible for half of all cases of gross misconduct in the Metropolitan Police, including drinking and driving, despite representing only 20 per cent of the workforce.

The BBC told us that the Met Police’s director of human resources had said that PCSOs were committing crime because of boredom and that many “felt akin to glorified security guards”.

(See if you can get away with that “I was bored” excuse next time you’re down at Broadbury Road.)

The BBC report also quoted the Police Federation (which represents rank and file cops like PC Dud) who called PCSOs “policing on the cheap”.

The Police Federation has in fact always been opposed to the use of PCSOs and in the past have called for them to be scrapped and called the scheme a “failed experiment”.

So, PC Dud, you shouldn’t actually have to go that far to find people who do deny that PCSOs “have enhanced the service given to the public”. In fact, there are probably a quite few sat in your canteen right now.

The obvious point is that whatever PC Dud tells himself and his daughter, this bollocks ain’t journalism. And, to be fair to the Avon and Somerset PR department it hardly passes as propaganda either, does it. It’s just filling pages on the cheap with superficially uncontroversial trash.

And if the Post are still having trouble filling up their pages why don’t they demonstrate their commitment to that journalistic shibboleth “balance” and run a weekly column by a convicted criminal? Now that would set the letters page alight.

Bristol fights back (one bowl of cous cous at a time)!

February 12, 2009

Recognise this pathetic little pound sign logo? Yep, it’s the mascot of the Post’s “Bristol Fights Back” campaign (his name’s Bill, geddit?). Launched last December with the backing of Bristol City Council, this campaign is the Post’s attempt to “guide readers through the economic downturn.”

Yes, people of Bristol; you may be facing redundancy, repossession, homelessness, pay cuts and an all-round economic shafting but don’t fear, the Evening Post is here to lead the fightback.

There are a few problems with this campaign, though. Firstly, the Post seems to be in complete denial about the seriousness of this economic crisis (or “downturn as they euphemistically call it). They take every opportunity to bring us head-in-the-sand reports that everything’s gonna be fine. So even in the article introducing the fightback they are determined to tell us that Bristol’s gonna be OK. And why wouldn’t we with an economy based on financial services, retail and the service sector, oh, hang on . . .

Council leader Councillor Helen Holland said: “Some assessments think that we might be better placed than a number of other authorities to weather the storm.

People in business have also expressed optimism about Bristol. Andrew Forbes, Bristol spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “I have no doubt that we can pull through the current difficulties. “I know only too well the doom and gloom that is too prevalent on our news screens. However . . . I have no doubt that we will weather the storm and press on to build an even more exciting city in the next 25 years.”

And John Rushforth, deputy vice-chancellor at UWE, said: “The University of the West of England is looking forward with optimism. “We’ve recently announced the purchase of land formerly owned by Hewlett Packard . . .  In a smaller, but no less important way, we are holding a ‘Feel Good Week’ starting on Wednesday (3 December) as a preview tofor our Feel Good February.”

The other problem the Post has with leading a fightback is that they absolutely no fucking idea what a fightback is or who the fuck they are supposed to be fighting.

If they really wanted to start a fightback against the economic hardship many Bristolians are facing there are some obvious targets. They could campaign for the council and government to begin an emergency council house building programme; they could demand the council takes possession of some of the hundreds properties sitting empty and turn them over to those in need; they could lead a campaign against First Group’s crippling bus fares; they could call for a freeze on council tax.

But no. What do we get instead? The first couple of months of daily fightback articles were little more than free advertising for local businesses. Far from serious advice for those suffering the effects of the crisis, the articles were mostly puff pieces about how well “our” local businesses are doing.

Been made redundant? Why not set a business making kids’ suitcases-with-faces-and wheels like this dick from Clifton who’s been on Dragon’s Den. Or start selling power generators to BT like these smug bastards from Warmley. Look, look, these Bristolians are rich, why aren’t you? Why aren’t you rich like these people? Why are you poor? What recession? What are you doing wrong?

It’s just rubbing salt in our wounds really.

Then of course there have been the incessant consumer and shopping advice articles; where to find a bargain (M&S!), how to make money by switching your credit cards about, how to drive slowly to save fuel, blah blah blah.

And for the past couple of weeks the whole fightback campaign seems to have degenerated into a cookery advice column. We’ve been told that own-brand is cheaper than brand-name food and that some supermarkets are cheaper than others. We’ve had recipes for corned beef hash, “feed four for a fiver spiced cous cous”, budget pork and potato pie and pork curry brought to us by “Celebrity Masterchef winner and pop singer Liz McClarnon”.

There have been the odd debt and job-hunting tips as well, but a fightback? Nothing.

So what would a real fight back look like? Well, one of the first signs of the crisis affecting ordinary people came last year with the combination of rapid inflation combined with government imposed pay freezes, below inflation rises and job cuts for some of our most important public sector workers.

And they tried to fight back. Last April teachers and low paid public sector workers staged a one day strike against job loses and pay cuts. 2000 strikers and their supporters marched through Bristol.

How did the Post respond to these Bristolians fighting back? Here’s their editorial from April 22nd 2008,

Many teachers use words like “vocation” and “dedication” when they talk about their profession. Yet some of these same people will on Thursday refuse to work. Just a week or so before tens of thousands of children face SATs tests, and days after returning from the late Easter holidays, their school week will be disrupted. This is a wholly selfish act by members of the National Union of Teachers .
These are people perfectly able to understand the budgetary restraints on schools, perfectly able to appreciate that we live in difficult economic times, yet seemingly unable to accept the responsibility they have for educating children and apparently unwilling to apply some common sense  to their situation. It is like listening to car workers’ unions from the 1970s. They resist change, they complain about conditions and they bleat constantly about their workload. Yet they are blessed with working conditions that have continually improved.
They get more help in the classroom than ever before. They get so-called inset days tacked onto the end of holidays for extra training.
And don’t forget they get the most generous holidays of any profession, anywhere.
If there are teachers who don’t like any of that, why don’t they just resign? Their action on Thursday shows they are interested only in themselves.

That’s right, people of Bristol; the Post says these are difficult economic times and you must shut up and pay the price demanded by the government. The Post doesn’t give a fuck about a fightback.

Perhaps the editors are also scared that their journos, facing redundancy and increased workloads, might get some ideas and start their own fightback . . .

If or when there is real resistance to the crisis the Post will be on the other side.

Oh, and this is the latest in the fightback campaign. Advice to shop on a new website run by . . .  The Evening Post.

EP pays to shop


February 11, 2009

As the Bristol Blogger pointed out recently, with the Post laying of yet more journos we can expect the paper’s pages to be filled with more tedious columns from local “slebs”.

Anyone reading this could write these opinions-by-numbers columns the day before they are published.

Things are so bad it looks like they’ve begun taking inspiration from each other. But hey, at least old Phil ‘Space’ Cooper’s no longer about to recycle the bullshit all over again.

Here from Monday 10th Feb is Steve Scott’s column (apparently he reads the local ITV news)

Bring on more snow for Bristol week and maybe, just maybe, another dump of snow on Bristol. Well if it does, I for one can’t wait. There’s something about a thick layer of the white stuff that brings out the best in all of us.

The impact on how easy it is to get around can be very irritating, especially if your trip to the sunshine falls victim to the closed runway at Bristol International or you’re late for that vital meeting because of the snarled up traffic. But ask yourself, how much it really matters?

For every business deal that couldn’t be done, for every holiday slightly delayed or every school closed, there was a family building a snowman in their back garden.

If we had to put up with the disruption every few days it would be beyond ridiculous but surely we can handle the inconvenience once every 20 years or so.

In and around Bristol last week, by and large, most people seemed to be smiling. Durdham Downs was teeming and I imagine most Bristol parks were too. I’ve never seen so many amateur scupltors, lovingly creating everything from little animals to giant igloos. There were snowball fights breaking out everywhere – when else could you throw a missile at a stranger’s head without fear of being beaten up?

Click here!

For us adults it brings out that inner child, as proved by my wife as she chased me down the road in her dressing gown, snowball in hand, screaming like a banshee! An American friend told me she was amazed how many grown ups she had seen playing in the snow, In up-state New York where they get it every year, you seldom see anyone over the age of 10 with wellies on, mucking around knee deep in a snow drift.

For the real kids it’s not only a lot of boisterous fun but a bonding, character-building experience with friends and family and for one day only, I reckon they get more out of it than they would if they’d have been at school. If parents have a logistical nightmare for a day or two then so be it, although more schools should make a bigger effort to stay open – not to teach, but to provide a haven for children whose mum and dad really can’t avoid work. After all it’s an opportunity that doesn’t present itself very often as our climate warms up at a frightening rate. Or maybe we’ve got that one wrong too and from now on all winters will be like this.

Let’s hope our councils stock up on their salt supplies.

And here from Wednesday 11th Feb is George Ferguson’s (local architect and Merchant Venturer) attempt.

Snow makes it all magical

Snow makes it all magicalThe view on Thursday morning from the top of the Tobacco Factory was magic, with the Clifton Suspension Bridge, below, hanging like a frosted “cat’s cradle” over the Avon Gorge.

The supermarket car park below me had turned into a winter wonderland for the kids in the area.

I love the way the snow temporarily silences the city of cars and brings the cheerful noise of children’s laughter in its place – I wish it lasted longer. Maybe I should curse not being able to take my tiny car out, but to me the snow is an opportunity for us to play and to dream.

I lived in Norway as a young teenager, where we used to take snow in winter for granted. There it enveloped the great little city of Oslo and its surroundings and transformed the way we did things. It was never seen as a problem but as part of normal life – and we made the most of it.

Even the boring occupation of food shopping became an adventure, with my mother taking her “spark”, a sort of pushbike with runners, that we would shove uphill and ride and glide downhill.

So let’s just accept that snow is a blessing and that if it changes our lives at school or work, or my takings at the bar go down, so be it. There are, of course, some individual horror stories, but the overall psychological benefit must be enormous. My office had great fun using our professional sign boards to race down Brandon Hill.

I remember when we were working on the rebuilding of the Grade I-listed Prior Park school some 20 years ago after it was badly damaged by fire, the main contractors were in despair at the artist craftsmen knocking up a sledge out of waste wood and breaking off early to take advantage of a snowfall. They were asked how they could take time off with such a tight programme, only to answer that tomorrow the snow may have disappeared, but tomorrow the building would still be there.

Maybe that is what is so special about snow – it can cause chaos but it can make a dreary place seem magical and turn a car-dominated street into a playground. Snow seems to bring the child out in us all, at least those of us who still have a child hidden in there.

Let’s hope that with climate change we do not lose this very special pleasure, and let’s stop grumbling about the buses or the grit – or lack of them – and grasp the opportunities when they are here, as they may be gone tomorrow.

Now your turn at home. See if you can write your very own Evening Post column using our journalism-by-numbers instructions.

Remember to include references to:

  • Local landmarks
  • Bristol traffic
  • Childhood nostalgia
  • How little middle-class folk like us worry about taking days of work
  • Climate change
  • Salt / grit
  • Blah blah blah . . . snowmen . . . snowballs . . . (That’s enough snow-bollocks, Ed)

Evening Post to cut 45 jobs – Defend Evening Post journalists

January 23, 2009 Guardian reported this afternoon that Bristol News and Media (the Evening Post’s publisher) have announced a “reorganisation” of the Post and Western Daily Press which will include 45 redundancies.

The announcement confirms local speculation as reported this morning by the Bristol Blogger.

Despite our criticism of the Post we hope that NUJ members at the paper resist this attack on their jobs by the corporate money-men of the Daily Mail and General Trust. An Evening Post run with even fewer demoralised staff will surely be an more malign influence on our city than it is already.

We hope NUJ members at the Post and Press take action as they did in 2005 when journos took voted for strike action against job cuts and forced management to recognise the union.

Lets hope Post journos become part of the real fightback against the bosses attempts to make workers pay for their economic crisis.

Evening Post: Soft on (real) criminals

January 23, 2009

Oh to be a well paid middle-class Evening Post editor; sat moralising, judging and damning the poor to sate your middle class readers’ appetite for bigotry and vengeance.

“Have you noticed how few benefit cheats get sent to jail?”

This Post editorial (Cheats prosper, Jan 9th 2009) was the paper’s considered response to the case of master criminals Tracey and Anthony Eddolls. The Post’s report in the same edition screamed “£24k benefit scam couple spared jail” (Although the headline has been changed for the online version: A common practice by the Post where they don’t want their hysterical headlines and comments available to the world for eternity.).

The story is about a couple from Hartcliffe who were dragged off to court for benefit “fraud”. They were both found guilty of falsely claiming £24k in housing and council tax benefits over a period of six and a half years; about £300 per month.

Mrs Eddolls works part-time in a supermarket and is raising the couple’s three children. Her relationship with her husband is described as unstable; he “comes and goes as he pleases”. Basically, this sounds like a fairly typical state of affairs for millions of people in dysfunctional relationships trapped by economic circumstances.

Mrs Eddolls’ crime was to not inform the council every time her on-off husband stayed the night. Then, of course, she would have had to reapply for the benefit every time he left again. Have any of the Post’s editorial team been through the process of applying for benefits? Have any of them had to rely on benefits because of their shit wages and fucked up relationship?

If only we all lived in nice, moral, stable, cereal-packet families where Daddy goes out to work to provide for the family and earns a nice regular wage in his nine-to-five job. If only we all lived like the moral middle classes of newspaper editors’ imaginations.

But we don’t. And so Mike Norton and his Post cronies want to put this couple in prison, bang ’em up. 150 hours community service, a suspended sentence and the stress of a court case just ain’t enough for these blood thirsty shits. They want to ruin these people’s lives; ensure they’ll never get a proper job; fuck their kids up so they become dysfunctional. The Post demands vengeance.

What the fuck do they think prison would achieve? Set an example? Force people to stop being poor? Fuck off.

Have you noticed how few bankers get sent to jail?

And where are Norton and gang when it comes to the real fraudsters? Those bankers, traders and other corporate pigs who are bleeding us dry and destroying lives? What about those fraudsters and cheats, Evening Post? The ones who look like you and talk like you and went to the same public fucking schools as you? Those cheats really do prosper.

Have you noticed how few corporate killers get sent to jail?

Compare and contrast. Here’s the Post’s editorial from January 8th, the day before the frothing rant above was published (the Post’s frothing rant, not mine). The story is the death of a pensioner at the Concorde visitor attraction in Filton, Bristol. Mr Livall’s death was caused by multinational aerospace corporation Airbus (annual turnover £1.8bn) and its contractor BAC Trading Ltd who admitted installing an unsafe gantry walkway to the Concorde.

71-year old Mr Livall, a Concorde enthusiast, was killed in September 2004 after falling seven metres to his death through a gap in the gantry. The companies both admitted breaches of health and safety laws in court.

The Post report quotes the judge,

“Airbus should not have let the exhibition open without a safety assessment which would have made the risk glaringly obvious.

“They provided an unsafe structure in the first place and then handed it over to BAC, who were lulled into a false sense of security, expecting that what Airbus provided would be safe.”

The judge said the tragedy was “an accident waiting to happen” and Airbus could and should have done something about it after concerns were raised on three occasions about gaps in the gantry.”

The judge then handed Airbus (annual turnover £1.8bn) a fine of £200,000 with £58,000 costs. He also fined the group involved in running the attraction £10,000.

So, what does the Post say? Does it demand jail for those responsible for this pensioner’s death? Does it decry the injustice and the soft-touch court system? Does it ask why so few corporate killers get sent to jail?

No. The Post says that the investigation and prosecution were unnecessary. It says that Mr Livall should have accepted before he visited this attraction that there was a risk he could end up dead.

They say that a fine of £250,000 won’t make any difference to a multi-billion-pound company like Airbus, so they shouldn’t be fined at all.

Corporate killers prosper

That’s right, the Post thinks that if you are a rich corporation not only should you be able to get away with killing people, but you shouldn’t even be put through the hassle of an investigation.

Anyway, we couldn’t possibly bang corporate killers up in jail. We need the cell space for all those benefit scroungers, don’t we.

Evening Post headline was "desperate cry for attention"

December 5, 2008

There’s nothing the Post loves more than stirring up a bit of racial or religious “controversy” (ie hatred) but sometimes its attempts are so desperate that even they have to admit to their stupidity.

Yesterday (Thursday 4th Dec) a story appeared on the Post’s website under this headline,

Teenager’s suicide “over religious teachings”.

The story began,

“A Bristol teenager who killed himself with painkillers was upset that his school had sidelined Christianity in favour of “alternative religions”, an inquest heard today.

Harry Tucker, 15, from Southville, read the Bible at home because his religious studies teachers focused on the teaching of Islam and Sikhism, his father, Robert Tucker, said.”

Already you can hear the howls of outrage from Post readers. “The Muslims have killed another one of our Christian boys. The PC Brigadeare to blame.”

Once you get past the second paragraph, however, you learn that the boy was also in trouble at school, had issues with his sexuality, was “suffering “night terrors” due to the memories of a female ex-partner of his mother threatening to burn down the house” and was generally, according to the coroner, a “sad and very mixed-up teenager”.

So, suicide over religious teachings? Not really was it? And today the Post seems to have acknowledged their fucking gutter stupidity and changed the headline to,

“Teenager’s overdose ‘cry for help'”

But no matter. The original story, complete with shit-stirring headline, can be found on the Nazi Stormfront website with a simple Google search of the poor kid’s name and is also being highlighted by the fascist Youth BNP website.

So, at least we know the kind of audience the Post chimes with, eh.