Friday, 6 February 2009

Councillor thrown out of Cycling City meeting

Yesterday's Cycling City relaunch turned out to be more interesting than I had expected. Leading Lib-Dem Councillor Dr Jon Rogers was physically ejected from a meeting of the Cycling City 'Stakeholder Executive Board', having been told that he wasn’t welcome because he wasn’t a Labour Councillor.

Jon Rogers Portrait

Dr Rogers, one of the few genuine cyclists on Bristol City Council and Lib-Dem Transport spokesperson, was told that he could not even observe the Stakeholder Executive Board held at Bristol's plush Marriott Royal Hotel. He promptly posted news of his ejection on the web site of Bristol Cycling Campaign and followed up today with a Press Release, saying

“We had cross party and cross unitary support for the original funding bid in March 2008. Since then Bristol and South Glos together have won the bid and it has been totally "Bristol Labour" focused. They have excluded other parties and they have excluded South Gloucestershire..... Rather than welcoming cross party support Labour are careering headlong on their secret, closed, agenda."
Cycling England must be loving this (I know I am). Their original decision to award the Cycling City funds to Bristol, despite the city's long history of neglect of cycling (culminating in last year's crass attempt to convert the Railway Path to a Bus Rapid Transit route) seemed perverse at the time but is now looking like a major misjudgment.


Jon Rogers said...

Thanks Chris

I am frustrated that this is closed and secret when it should be open, accountable, cross party and involve all parts of the community in Bristol and South Gloucester.

Barbara Janke, Lib Dem Leader, has written to the Chief Executive and to the Legal Officer to identify under what grounds I can be excluded.

It seems so short sighted. We have so much more to gain by openness, sharing ideas and respect for each other.


Chris Hutt said...

Your experience is similar to that of many in the Bristol Cycling Campaign who have found the CC governance arrangements arcane and exclusive.

Labour seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot over this, which is fine by me. But as yet more months are wasted the chances of spending the £23 million in a sensible, value-for-money way becomes more remote.

Their tactic seem to be to stuff mouths with money, hence the lavish relaunch at the Royal Hotel. It's a crude and obvious tactic but nevertheless one that will seduce many people.

woodsy said...

Their tactic seem to be to stuff mouths with money, hence the lavish relaunch at the Royal Hotel.

I'm just waiting to see how much of the remainder gets stuffed into the hands of the usual suspects - the CONsultants.

Chris Hutt said...

There's already plenty of money going in that direction. But will we ever know how much and to whom? It might take FoI requests to find out, even though it's our money!

I believe that CC admin are still withholding 'appendix D', which is a list of all the proposed works with a cost ascribed to each. I understand that an FoI request has been made for this.

sued said...

There are dark forces at work in this city. No surprises there then.

WestfieldWanderers said...

This is appalling news.

Democracy is truly dead.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind Jon, you can get rid of the present Cabinet on Tuesday, assuming you have los cojones ...


Jon Rogers said...


It wouldn't be "cojones" it would be "loco".

I won't rehearse the reasons why joining in the Tory game-playing would be mad, but in a democracy it is the people of Bristol who should decide, not Richard Eddy.


Anonymous said...

£23million, is that really enough? all they seem to want to do is make a few paths wider which should be being done regardless.

Wuld of thought that dosh took a hit in the last few months. Would a FoI tell us?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this! Of all the guests in the drawing room at the Marriott Hotel that day, Dr Rogers was the most gentlemanly.

Chris Hutt said...

In my experience too. He's hardly a political thug itching for a fight. But I think he does have a sticking point when it comes to principles (which may be a major handicap for a politician).

Anonymous said...

"one of the few genuine cyclists"

So some of these Councillors are faking it, eh? What could this involve - telling everyone they've got a bicycle, but not really having one? Just wheeling it and locking up outside the counts louse as a fashion accessory but never actually riding it, or what?

Chris Hutt said...

What I meant by "genuine cyclist" is that he actually uses his bike to get around on a day to day basis, rather than just wheeling it out for special occasions.