Posts Tagged ‘George Ferguson’

Bristol’s Labour councillors have been undermined by a blinkered NEC

27/11/2012, 12:20:17 PM

by Ben Mitchell

A farce and an embarrassment is how I’d describe recent events in Bristol. In under a week, Labour have managed to score not one, but two own goals. All coming off the back of the election on November 15th of the city’s newly elected mayor, George Ferguson, the independent candidate.

From the moment he took office, Ferguson has called for a “rainbow coalition” to sit in his cabinet. Based on the election results, he vowed to fill it with three Labour councillors, one Tory, one Lib Dem, and one Green. A city beset by years of political squabbling and inertia was finally going to put Bristol first. Indeed, the city has felt just that little bit more upbeat, hopeful that this time things will be different; a mayor, with bite, and the power to get things done.

Well, that was the fantasy, anyway. Labour has shut the door on the chance to be a part of Ferguson’s cabinet. Last Wednesday evening, Bristol Labour party members gathered to reflect on defeat, and to look ahead to the future, where it was to decide on whether the party should accept a role with the new mayor. A vote was taken, where much to my dismay but not surprise, most members voted against entering into coalition rule. I was at this meeting and voted in favour.


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An insider’s view of the Bristol mayoral election

26/11/2012, 07:00:31 AM

by Amanda Ramsay

Defeat in the mayoral campaign is hard to take. Labour fought a clean campaign, but lost to a so called “independent” candidate”, George Ferguson, a colourful local business man (famed for wearing red trousers) who stood on a seemingly contrived non-party political platform, despite being a Lib Dem member until August of this year.

We’re all entitled to change our minds in life, of course, but Ferguson made much of rubbishing the Labour party, our manifesto pledges and party politics itself; despite being a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and councillor. He ran a distinctly anti-Labour campaign, especially in the final week, presumably because Labour had the momentum and were perceived as the odds on favourite to win.

I’ve covered the mayoral debate all year, initially looking at the ten cities where there were May referenda, in terms of analysing the terrain and outcomes. Back in the spring one Labour MP told me: “Tories recognise that mayoral elections can turn into personality-driven/anti-politics contests, it’s a desperate attempt to undermine Labour in the core cities.”

This has certainly proved the case in Bristol. Ferguson joined the fray with an already established city and media presence, with face and name recognition amongst the chattering classes, city and regional journalists.

The prime minister said he wants a “Boris in every city” – a reference to London mayor Boris Johnson. But other cities fought hard against a Tory-led government, seen as trying to destabilise Labour dominance in metropolitan cities. The likes of Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham were having nothing to do with it.

Bristol may well have its own Boris now, after all Ferguson literally launched his campaign in a circus, but what next?


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