Posts Tagged ‘Bristol labour mayoral selection’

Profiles of Labour’s candidates for the Bristol mayoralty: Marvin Rees

18/05/2012, 03:14:51 PM

In the first of a series of profiles of the mayoral candidates, Amanda Ramsay talks to Marvin Rees

With an election on 15 November for Bristol to have an elected mayor, Labour South West announced a short-list of candidates yesterday for the Bristol mayoral selection: former city councillor Kelvin Blake, current Labour group leader Cllr Peter Hammond, former council leader Cllr Helen Holland, former Bristol City Councillor and MP for Wansdyke in Somerset Dan Norris and party activist Marvin Rees.

First off the blocks for Labour, the weekend after Bristol voted yes, was Marvin Rees, who had actively campaigned for a yes vote in the 3 May referendum. He appeared on the BBC Sunday Politics show and cuts an impressive figure.

Rees is a manager for race equality in mental health with NHS Bristol and a former journalist and BBC Radio presenter. Hailing from the Yale Global Leaders Programme, he has an intriguing CV and was apparently once the executive assistant to President Clinton’s Spiritual Advisor. Rees stood unsuccessfully for the Bristol West selection in 2010.

Rees speaks with authority about life in Bristol’s inner city, coming from a poor background and says: “I was one of two brown-skinned children of a single white woman.”

Despite the poverty in some parts, during the referendum campaign the prime minister pointed to Bristol being the second richest UK city outside London, but local people feel the city could do much more.

“Bristol is a premiership city performing at championship level,” explains Rees, who blames poor leadership at a council level.

“Core to that underperformance has been a vacuum of leadership, the lack of an aspirational long term vision for where Bristol wants to be and how it will get there and the absence of a coherent city narrative, that genuinely results from and reflects the lives of all Bristol residents.

“There is an on-going challenge in making best use of the council officer-elected member relationship particularly around the charge that it is officers not politicians who lead or manage the city.”


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