Posts Tagged ‘Bristol’

Jeremy Corbyn addressing a meeting in Bristol

July 24, 2015
packed meeting in Bristol to hear  Jeremy Corbyn

packed meeting in Bristol to hear Jeremy Corbyn

A picture is worth a thousand words. Every picture tells a story.

A packed meeting in Bristol to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak.

People’s Campaign for Corbyn:

Absolutely packed Jeremy Corbyn meeting in Bristol tonight. Politics is changing in Britain before our very eyes and the Blairites can keep moaning all they like but they won’t stop this movement.

People do not vote because they are sick and disgusted with two-faced hypocrites out to line their own pockets, who do not speak for them, who act for the banks and big business.

Jeremy Corbyn, like Caroline Lucas, is a rare example of a politician who listens to people, who shares their concerns, who acts for them.

He was on the streets demonstrating against austerity, supporting the Greeks in their fight against the EU.

It is because he is listening, that people sense real change, that people are willing to back him, turn out to meetings to hear what he has to say, lend their support.

The attack on Jeremy Corbyn by discredited and despised Tony Blair, only added to his support.

As has Labour wannabe leader Liz Kendal who said he is unfit to lead the Labour Party. No, the one who is unfit is Liz Kendal, who supports Tory attacks on the poor.

The Labour Establishment has crawled out of the woodwork to attack Jeremy Corbyn. These are the same people who lost the Election in May, who still do not get it why Labour lost.

Harriet Harman does not get it when she told Labour MPs not to vote against the Tory Welfare Bill that will take £12 billion out of the pockets of the poor. 48 Labour MPs had the decency and integrity of ignoring her, 48 Labour MPs that included Jeremy Corbyn, that included 18 newly elected Labour MPs, voted against the Welfare Bill.

They were accused by the Labour Establishment of damaging the Party, no those who damaged the Party were those who sat on their hands who could not be bothered to vote.

Tweedledee v Tweedledum, that was why Labour lost the election, no one could tell the difference. If you are going to vote Tory, you may as well vote the real thing, or not vote at all. In Scotland they had a real choice, that is why they voted SNP and why Labour is unelectable in Scotland for the foreseeable future.

People do not want austerity, they do not want to see library closures, cuts to NHS, the poorest people in society being bled dry, companies like Starbucks and Vodafone failing to pay taxes, privatised rail and power and water companies ripping us off, bankers getting away with fraud.

Mark Steel on Jeremy Corbyn:

If you look at Corbyn’s record it’s clear he just can’t win elections. In his constituency of Islington North he inherited a majority of 4,456, which is now 21,194. He’s one of the few Labour MPs whose vote increased between 2005 and 2010, when he added 5,685 to his majority. This is typical of the man, defying the official Labour policy of losing votes and getting more of them instead, just to be a rebel.

If you want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, simply register as a Labour Party Supporter at a one off fee of £3 and you can vote.

Bristol Skipchen surplus food cafe

December 7, 2014
Bristol Skipchen

Bristol Skipchen

Bristol Skipchen is a wonderful idea.

Intercept food that would otherwise go to waste, turn it into delicious meals, then pay-as-you-want.

You can give nothing, you can pay what you think it is worth or what you can afford, you can volunteer.

If no payment made, it is not classed as a loss, better to eat the food than it going to waste.

Bristol Skipchen is a far better idea than food banks.

An excellent example of the gift economy, collaborative commons.

We need more community ventures that treat people as people, not as zombie consumers.

Costa Franchisee of the Year Award beggars belief

October 18, 2012
Costa obstructing the highway in Guildford

Costa obstructing the highway in Guildford

Bruno Costa regrets selling the company he founded and which bears his family name.

It is easy to see why. Costa has squired a well deserved reputation as a rogue corporation: muscling into towns unwanted, serving lousy coffee, poor working conditions, and less we forget, opening stores without planning consent.

What were Stuart and Lynn Montgomery named UK Franchisees of the Year for, opening two stores in Bristol, Whiteladies and Gloucester Road, without planning consent?

A Bristol councillor has said he is “astounded” by the award. Is this a green light to flout planning legislation? It would seem so when Costa grants awards to those who do.

It cannot even be claimed, they did not know what they were doing when they opened their Costa coffee shops without planning consent, as they made an application and were refused.

This is the second year in a row these two have received the award.

Green councillor Gus Hoyt was none too pleased:

I am quite astounded by this news. Costa are often accused of not caring about the communities they enter and here they are rewarding the man who caused such an upset on Gloucester Road.

Costa claim they add to the local high streets but in this case Mr Montgomery moved into a street with a great abundance of local and independent coffee shops. His shop will affect these business adversely.

If profit and a store on every street is their only motivator then at least they are honest in awarding Mr Montgomery as someone they look up to and treasure.

The people of Bristol in the localities where these franchisees operate have a very simple solution, Boycott Costa! The indie coffee shops in the area should implement the Costa (dis)Loyalty Card scheme and of course accept the Bristol Pound.

If nothing else it exposes as a liar Costa chief executive Chris Rogers following a recent visit to Totnes to hold discussions with the local Member of Parliament and opponents to Costa muscling their way into Totnes.

Costa Coffee’s digital PR journey

August 21, 2012
One of five Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

One of five Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

Appears @CostaCoffee not interested in replying to democratically elected MPs. — Sarah Wollaston MP

Should be renamed how to ignore key stakeholders. — NotoCosta in Totnes

This has to rank as one of the most boring presentations I have ever seen, I was a ready to give up after a minute, but thought no, I will endure, and it was endure, until the end. I thought something interesting may occur. It never did. I was left wondering what was this guy on, as he droned on and on and on.

The one thing he did not have a clue about was how to engage with an audience, or how to make effective use of social media. I was never quite sure whether or not he was simply taking the piss.

Costa engage? Really? Try telling that to the people of Totnes or even their Member of Parliament Sarah Wollaston.

Costa did respond to Mary Portas, but that was only to refer her to their blog, and what was written there was a load of bollocks.

The blog is called coffee lovers. Having a laugh are we?


– keithpp – 69

– notocosta – 67.9

– costacoffee – 70.1

No a lot in it is there? So much for the high digital profile of Costa.

The only publicity Costa has been getting lately is extremely bad publicity.

Guildford has five Costa Coffee shops, three Starbucks, one Caffè Nero. Somewhat overkill!

Note: I originally wrote there are four Costa Coffee shops in Guildford. My mistake, there are five.

Those in the know in Guildford, that is those who appreciate a decent cup of tea or coffee and freshly made lunches, delicious cakes and afternoon tea and scones, know to avoid the High Street chains who churn out muck that may have some passing resemblance to coffee, instead they go to Guildford House, a listed building, an art gallery and tourist information centre (always helpful), located top of the High Street, more or less opposite Sainsbury’s. Walk through, down the stairs and there you will find a delightful tea shop, one of the best kept secrets in Guildford.

Costa Coffee respond to not being wanted in Totnes

August 19, 2012
One of four Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

One of four Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

@CostaCoffee Please listen to the people of Totnes. They don’t want you, they have 41 independent coffee shops already! — Mary Portas

@maryportas thanks for your comments, it would be great if you could spare a few minutes to read our blog on the matter. — Costa Coffee

Costa coffee must be feeling it, as they have written a blog post in response to criticism by Mary Portas. They have not written or responded to the local community, such is their contempt for local communities.

They cannot even get the link right, they link to the blog, not the post.

The blog is called For Coffee Lovers. Somewhat Orwellian. The one place coffee lovers would not go is Costa.

They say planning is complicated. Actually it is not. It should be a process whereby local people collectively decide what is best for their locality. In Totnes it spectacularly failed. Local councillors ignored the wishes of local people and rubber-stamped the Costa application for an unwanted Costa Coffee shop.

The same happened in Southwold, where again the local council ignored the wishes of local people and rubber-stamped an application from Costa for an unwanted Costa coffee shop, only in this case somewhat bizarrely approved an identical application which only weeks before they had rejected. What had changed?

Planning process is complicated? Is that the excuse put forward by Costa for ignoring the planning system altogether and illegally opening coffee shops in Bristol and sticking two fingers up to the local planning process?

The Costa blog is mealy-mouthed bollocks, half truths and lies.

Costa tell us they are doing Totnes a favour by filling an empty unit, that they are providing a social space, that they are merely simply coffee servers, no threat to anyone, they contribute to a local community, their offering is very different to local coffee shops.

Their offering is very different to local coffee shops. I would hope it is. I would hope local coffee shops serve decent coffee, freshly made, locally-sourced sourced cakes from the local baker (or better still bake their own) and that they do not charge extortionate prices for a cake and a coffee.

Provision of social space. Something all coffee shops provide, only when they are independent not a corporate outlet, it is a genuine social space.

Why would a Costa coffee shop bring people into an area to spend their money when the same Costa Coffee shop can be found in any Clone Town across the country? And even if it did, the money spent would be immediately sucked out of the local economy.

The shop unit would not have sat empty, there were other interested parties, but the absentee landlord refused to let.

Yes, Internet does suck money out of a local economy, but then so does Costa.

80p in the pound spent in a local shop gets re-spent in the local economy.

If Costa are happy to coexist with other independent coffee shops, then why do they flood an area with Costa Coffee shops (often with no planning consent), in a deliberate attempt to drive the other coffee shops out of business? The same aggressive tactics used by Starbucks.

At the end of the day, we’re just coffee shop operators. We’re not out to cause trouble or put people out of business. We’re there to serve coffee and provide a social space – nothing more.

One could almost be forgiven for believing Costa was a social enterprise, there for the good of the local community, a not-for-profit entity, not an aggressive wholly-owned subsidiary of Whibread, each a profit centre geared to extract the maximum revenue from a locality.

Bristol businesses queuing up to join local currency scheme

August 17, 2012

As Britain loses faith in its banks and feels shockwaves from the euro crisis, one city is trying to keep local wealth in local pockets with the launch of its own currency.



The Bristol pound – usable only with member businesses in the city in southwest England – is to launch in September, and organisers are deluged with local firms wanting to sign up.

“The perception of banking and money is that it’s a very ruthless system: people are out for what they can get,” co-founder Ciaran Mundy told AFP.

“This is about saying yes to something new. It’s tapping into a different set of values about money.”

The scheme has “captured people’s imaginations”, he added, in a recession-hit year when British banks have been beset by scandals and ministers talked openly of a possible euro collapse.

Hundreds of businesses have joined, from the acclaimed Arnolfini arts centre to the Chandos deli chain, and the launch had to be postponed from May to September 19 because of the level of interest.

Security professional Richard Wright signed up his company Wright Guard as soon as he heard about the Bristol pound, hoping it would help him fight back against encroaching security giants.

“I’m Bristol born and bred, and I always want to support local businesses,” he told AFP. “I’ll want to keep the Bristol pound flowing.”

The notes feature symbols of local pride, from 19th century religious writer Hannah More to the Concorde aircraft, partly developed in Bristol, and images of the St Paul’s Carnival Caribbean street festival.

Evoking a long history of dissent, one side of the £5 note shows a tiger writing on a wall in graffiti: “O Liberty!”

Other British towns have launched local currencies, but Bristol, home to half a million people, is the first big city, and its scheme is ambitious.

Businesses can pay local taxes in Bristol pounds and the council has offered its 17,000 staff the option of receiving part of their pay in the currency.

Mundy’s team – funded initially by grants – have designed an electronic system for payments by text message, plus what they say are forgery-proof notes.

Stores selling products from cider to skate shoes said they were considering joining the scheme, which Mundy believes will have a tangible economic effect.

“Eighty percent of the money leaves the area if it is spent with a multinational – but 80pc stays if it is spent at a local trader,” he said.

Such localism might seem strange in a city that grew to prosperity as an international port and is now a centre for aircraft manufacture.

But Bristol is also a left-wing haven with an activist tradition. The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, an urban renewal group, made headlines last year with a campaign that became a riot in protest at the opening of a Tesco supermarket.

They have greeted the Bristol pound warmly.

“We need to run things from the bottom up and from the grassroots, so that people have control over how things happen where they live,” said spokesman Chris Chalkley.

But Louisa Jones and Joh Rindom, co-owners of Stokes Croft vintage clothing store Shop Dutty, thought the scheme would just add to their administrative burden.

“We’re sceptical that having a micro economy within a macro economy is a bit backward,” Rindom said.

Ben Yearsley, investment manager at Bristol-based financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, also won’t be rushing to convert his sterling.

“It’s just a big gift voucher scheme… I’m sceptical that it’s going to make any difference,” he told AFP.

“Local businesses need to compete on quality and service.”

The Bristol pound will not be legal tender and must be exchanged through the Bristol Credit Union, with a 3pc charge for conversion back to sterling.

This and charges on electronic transactions will pay its running costs.

Despite the naysayers, Mundy hopes hundreds of thousands of Bristol pounds will be traded in its first year, increasing to “double figures of millions” by the third.

His model is the Chiemgauer, a German complementary currency of which millions of euros’ worth is traded yearly.

Online database lists more than 225 such minority currencies worldwide, of which 102 are in Europe.

They have won a high-profile advocate in Bernard Lietaer, a Belgian economist who helped design and implement the convergence mechanism for the euro.

“We will never have a stable, sustainable monetary system with a single monopoly of a single type of currency, whoever manages it,” he said in a lecture in Brussels.

“Everybody can do something at their own scale… sustainability requires diversity,” he added.

Mundy said that the ultimate test of his system would be the market.

“If people freely decide to market and trade with each other [in the currency], they should be able to do it,” he said.

“If we’re not doing a good job they won’t use the system. Consumers will decide.”

Article published in The Telegraph.

This is quite an ambitious scheme. Up until now local currencies have been restricted to small towns like Totnes, with the Totnes Pound.

About a year I was in Lincoln and suggested to local traders in the uphill area of The Strait, Steep Hill and Bailgate that they adopt the Bailgate Pound. My suggestion got a lot of support from the traders who could see it was an excellent idea, it even got picked up by the Lincolnshire Echo and was the front page story for New Year’s Day.

Unfortunately the Echo tried to talk to me but I missed their call. Instead they talked to a body supposedly representing the traders who failed to understand what a local currency is and thought it was some sort of discount vouncher or loyalty scheme, and as a result, the Bailgate Pound never got launched, much to the disadvantage of all the local traders who would have benefited.

I like the fact the local council are supporting the scheme, paying wages in Bristol Pounds and allowing payment of local taxes in Bristol Pounds.

I suggested this to a local council, along with wage cuts to overpaid bloated council workers. My ideas were never taken up, much to the loss of the local economy, which has since gone into free fall, with their town centres like ghost towns.

They did not take up my idea of a local farmers market either.

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