Posts Tagged ‘City Conversation’

Crime and communities in the spotlight in Bristol’s “City Conversation”

04/08/2012, 08:00:12 AM

by Amanda Ramsay

Thursday night was the crime and communities’ roundtable, the fifth in a series of Marvin Rees’ “City Conversations” which will inform his mayoral manifesto.

Past events have been chaired by shadow ministers such as Stephen Twigg and Hilary Benn with Thursday night’s event featuring Bob Ashford, Labour’s candidate to be the first police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset, as co-host.

The focus on Thursday was on how Bristol can build stronger communities to prevent and tackle crime and reoffending.

Attended by youth workers, councillors, crime enforcement representatives and people from victim support groups, community and pressure groups, Rees was clear about his intentions to the audience:

“It’s critical that we get people from across the city working better together.

We must always remember, it’s the most vulnerable who will pay the heaviest price if we don’t get this right. It costs us all of course, but it’s the most vulnerable who pay the most.”

Like or loathe the idea of elected police and crime commissioners they are coming soon, with the poll due on 15th November. Labour need to secure these pivotal roles to protect policing and the public from the type of populist button-pressing right wingers that have emerged in similar US elections. Who knows where that may take British policing?


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Labour gears up for the Bristol mayoral election

20/07/2012, 02:24:19 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

Bristol’s city governance will look very different from November onwards. This week Labour launched the “City Conversation” around what should be the priorities for the first directly elected mayor for the city. Despite big Labour gains in both 2010 and 2011 local elections, at the moment the city council has a Lib Dem leader running a minority administration.

Marvin Rees is Labour’s hopeful to be Bristol mayor. He launched a series of roundtable discussions this week, kicking-off the process with an all member meeting on Wednesday of Bristol Labour Party. Transport was the topic of last night’s roundtable meeting chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis, with experts from across the city. Next week is the health and well-being forum.

Members of Labour’s shadow cabinet including Stephen Twigg, Chuka Umunna and Hilary Benn will be chairing roundtables over the coming weeks on key policy areas such as children and young people, families and communities, the Bristol economy and housing.

Developing a stronger city identity is the name of the game for Labour and Marvin is very much in listening mode with high aspirations for taking Bristol forward: “From higher education to green technology to the creative industries to finance, Bristol is home to world class activity. It is a creative hotbed and an economic powerhouse, but we punch below our weight in too many ways for too many people living here.”

One of the challenges facing campaigners though is the background to all of this. Many Bristolians had reservations, at best, about moving to a system of governance by an elected mayor in the first place. Turn-out in the mayoral referendum was very low, as indeed it was in the other nine English cities with referenda last May.


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