Ferguson sworn in as Bristol Mayor

20 11 2012

In his first day as Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson has changed the name of the Council House to City Hall, scrapped Sunday parking charges and asked to be paid his salary in Bristol Pounds. He also revealed that council cuts now in the region of £32m were “going to hurt”.

When Ferguson took to the stage at the Passenger Shed, Brunel’s original station next to Temple Meads, he gave a sometimes meandering but mostly well-received inauguration speech.

At 40 minutes in length, it put him almost but not quite in the same bracket as Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who has been known to talk non-stop for more than nine hours.

Ferguson called becoming Bristol mayor “the ultimate project”, with the aim of making Bristol “a better place”. Refreshingly, he said he would experiment in office and admitted that he would sometimes get things wrong.

Having expelled, according to some, rather a lot of wind, in his first mistake as mayor he then misattributed a William Arthur Ward quote to George Bernard Shaw: “’The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.’ I will be adjusting the sails of maritime Bristol every week.”

Ferguson’s own soundbites came thick and fast, in front of an audience which included civic dignitaries such as the Lord Mayor, High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant, a few of Ferguson’s defeated mayoral candidates, former council leader Simon Cook whose old office he now resides in, and a number of councillors perhaps hoping to join the mayor’s “rainbow” cabinet.

At the moment, it is unlikely that this cabinet will include any Labour members, with Labour instead providing an opposition rather than Ferguson’s aim of cross-party support.

On Twitter, Marvin Rees’ campaign manager Kevin Slocombe wrote: “Seems to me people are confused thinking Bristol voted for cross-party working. It didn’t -it voted to STOP Labour. Time to stand and oppose.”

And Dave Wilshire, secretary of the Bristol branch of the Communication Workers Union, said: “No true Labour Councillor would be a part of the Ferguson cabinet.”

Ferguson ended his speech by saying the oath made by young men of Athens when they became citizens: “I shall not leave this city any less but rather greater than I found it.” Thanks to That Politics Thing for the Photoshop skills.



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