I’m thinking of standing for mayor
Is this thing switched on? <Tap! Tap!> OK. Here goes …
Mah fellow Bristolians! As you know, the city is to hold a referendum on May 3 on whether or not it wants an elected mayor with executive powers or, if you’re a Post reader, a “Bristol Boris”.
The people have been calling upon me to stand for mayor.
The privatised care home people, the private education people, the privatised police people… All sorts of people.
Reluctant though I am to take up the heavy burden of office, I feel called upon by this great city of ours to make the necessary sacrifices to provide Bristol with the leadership it so desperately needs in these difficult and challenging times.
The present tired system is broken, not fit for purpose. We are all tired of the petty point-scoring among the political parties on the council. Bristol needs real leadership, free of party political bickering, and for that leadership, we need to look to the business community.
I mean, for God’s sake, why? What makes business people more capable of running councils than councillors and council officers, or academics, trade unionists, teachers, vicars, lawyers or scientists, say? WTF endows used car salesmen, financial hucksters or grocers with the wisdom of Solomon, the incorruptibility of a Gandhi and the political nous of a Machiavelli? It’s rubbish!! Everyone’s led by the nose by big business lobbying and media manipulation to think the private sector is wiser, more efficient and capable than anyone else. It’s a lie! The poisonous, idiotic orthodoxy of the times. But hey, let’s go with the flow …
As a highly respected member of the business community, I will kick ass down the council house! The business of Bristol is business. Business must be allowed to take care of business, except when business needs to mind its own business. I cannot be any clearer than that!
Pause for cheering here. <Sound of crickets>
I mean, this is a Tory government as wants England’s “core cities” to have elected mayors. Their calculation is that we all end up electing business people as independents. Obviously people from the business community usually sign up to Tory views on most things. And where that doesn’t work you’ll get actual paid-up Tories standing as “independents”. Chapter One of the Conservative manual of local government; in places where people won’t vote Tory, pretend you’re an “independent”. Look at Bristol; for several decades of the 20th century there were few or no Conservatives on Bristol City Council; they called themselves the Bristol Citizen group instead. They only came out as Tories when the county of Avon came into being in 1974; Avon was of course the creation of a Conservative government which calculated (correctly) that while the old city of Bristol would never be Conservative, Avon, with its commuter suburbs and small towns and villages, would be Tory most of the time. That doesn’t necessarily make elected mayors a bad idea, by the way. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a businessman. And it almost certainly will be a man.
A vote for me will also be a vote for valves. You have valves. I have valves. This great city of ours has been built on traditional valves.
Oh. Heh! Right! Can’t read the back of this fag packet! My bad.
Values. Bristol also has values. Vote for me for values. Not valves. Not that I have anything against the valve community.
I am also the candidate of common sense. For instance, I always take an umbrella if it looks like it’s going to rain and I make sure I get plenty of roughage in my diet. My administration will run Bristol in a similar fashion.
Vote for me for sustainability, too. As mayor, I will reject the gas guzzling limo, but travel in a gilded horse-drawn carriage. My opponents will of course say this is a reckless extravagance, but I shall silence them by having my officials put the horse manure on their rhubarb.
In the council house canteen, instead of custard. Oh my aching sides!
A vote for Byrne is also a vote for the family.
A vote for my family, anyway. Mrs Byrne becomes city treasurer to build up her collection of shoes. The eldest son takes charge of the police, which he’s already told me he plans to re-name “The Elite 19th Brigade”. The other son can be Archbishop of Bristol. My brother will expect to be on the payroll as he’s out of Horfield Nick. Given his longstanding expertise in roof lead, copper wire and manhole covers, he’s a natural for the recycling contract.
A vote for Byrne is also a vote for the fine old traditions of our proud and ancient city.
I’m especially keen on that 18th century tradition of the 12-course banquet, washed down with a couple of hogsheads of Madeira, for the mayor and his cronies every day. Hey, this is cool! I’ve just looked up “hogshead” on Wikipedia and it says it’s 54 gallons [and not 121 as I said originally. Damn these new privatised spectacles]. If you want to know why for most of its history Bristol was built of wood and plaster with no sanitation, running water or electricity it’s because the city’s management was permanently, stinkingly drunk for 900 years.
Finally, my fellow citizens, I will give you your stadium! Ladies and gentlemen, behold your Boris!!!
Done and done! If we get mayoral elections the turnout will be so low that anyone promising to build the stadium wins at a stroke, with 30,000 City fans marching zombie-like into the polling booths. And when it turns out that I can’t build the stadium as the elected mayor has no influence over planning decisions, I will blame feather-bedded fat cat council officials, Trots and anarchists, the EU, the Tory Con-Dem government and if all else fails, South Gloucestershire council and the Iranians.
What? What do you mean this bloody microphone is still switched on!!? Damn!
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