15 candidates to stand for Bristol mayor

22 10 2012

The candidates who will be standing for Bristol’s first directly elected mayor are due to be officially announced on Wednesday, but many have already announced their intentions to run, so here is the best guess at the 14 men and one woman who will be appearing on the ballot paper on November 15:

Daniella Radice, Green
An environmental specialist, Radice has been campaigning on issues including making Bristol self-sufficient in renewable energy and the removal of billboards in the city.

Dave Dobbs, The Birthday Party
Dave believes that the water in the Great Flood came from Mars. As mayor his pledges include implementing community food production and promoting sustainable energy.

Jon Rogers, Liberal Democrats
A recently retired GP, city councillor, and former executive member for care and health, Rogers is in the middle of a cycle tour of all of Bristol’s doctors surgeries.

Geoff Gollop, Conservative
Bristol’s most recent Lord Mayor is a chartered accountant who lives in Henleaze. With his proficiency with a calculator, he claims he is “the only serious contender for mayor”.

George Ferguson, Bristol 1st
An architect who was Bristol’s first Liberal councillor, originally standing as an independent before registering Bristol 1st as a party as a “legal technicality”.

Marvin Rees, Labour
An NHS programme manager who has previously worked as a broadcast journalist for both the BBC and ITV, as a political campaigner and charity coordinator.

Neil Maggs, Respect
The school bursar is committed to anti-cuts and peace, justice and equality. “Let’s get Bristol back to work,” he says. “Bristol deserves Respect.”

Owain George, Independent
The landlord of the Albion in Clifton Village – who remains in place despite the pub being recently bought by St Austell Brewery – and also owner of cafe 194° Farhenheit.

Philip Pover, Independent
Describes himself as “just an ordinary guy… (with) a lot of ideas about what is right and how Bristol can be improved for all Bristolians”. A fan of amateur dramatics.

Rich Fisher, Independent
A graphic designer who promises to rip up red tape on new business start-ups, build around trees not through them and remove all traffic from the city centre.

Spud Murphy, Independent
A former Conservative councillor who advocated the removal of Banksy’s hanging man graffiti before getting on a cherry picker to try to clean it when it was vandalised.

Stoney Garnett, Indepedent
A former postman and football referee who lives in Whitchurch and is never seen without his red hat. Claims to know what the people of Bristol really think about.

Tim Collins, Independent
A planning consultant from Lockleaze promising to create jobs, prevent the redevelopment of Filton Airfield and give Bristol a transport system to be proud of.

Tom Baldwin, Trade Unionists and Socialists Coalition
The youngest candidate promises to reverse the closures of seven day care centres and eight care homes in the city, campaigning against “attacks” on the NHS.

Tony Britt, Independent
A Knowle Wester who was homeless in 2010. He promises to reinstate Bristol’s tram system and give up £10,000 of his wage so children can see shows at the Hippodrome.

Who is Marvin Rees?

19 06 2012

When Marvin Rees was named last night as Labour’s candidate for the Bristol mayoral election, he immediately became favourite to become the city’s first mayor. Not just because Labour are the first major party to announce their nomination, but because British politics has long been dominated by political allegiance to parties rather than people.

Rees is a 40-year-old programme manager who is currently part of an NHS team reviewing Bristol’s £50m mental health service contract.

In July, he is due to launch the Bristol Leadership Programme, what his LinkedIn profile describes as “investing in the personal development, leadership skills and life planning of high ability, high aspiration young people from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

He has previously worked as a broadcast journalist for both the BBC and ITV, as a political campaigner and charity coordinator for the Black Development Agency, and Sojourners and Tearfund, Christian social justice and development charities.

Writing for Labour pressure group Progress last month, Rees described his upbringing: “I have lived and worked across the best and worst of what Bristol has to offer.

“At its worst Bristol was the city that seemed to offer families like mine little hope of a future that was anything more than the backgrounds we came from.

“I was one of two brown-skinned children of a single white women (sic). We were poor. We lived on an out-of-town housing estate called Lawrence Weston before moving to Lawrence Hill in the inner city. Both remain among the most deprived wards in the UK sitting in a city with some of the wealthiest wards in Europe.

“At its best Bristol was the city in which I found the support and opportunity I needed to escape my hopelessness, to get to university, to make a contribution to my community and city and take a life journey that took me to Yale University’s World Fellows Program and the offer of admission to Harvard Kennedy School.”

That last line is puzzling and one which Rees has repeated elsewhere, because even though he chose not to go Harvard, he still stresses that they offered him a place.

Groomed since last year on the Labour Party Future Candidates Programme, which provides training and mentoring support to potential future Labour representatives, be they MPs, MSPs or mayors, Rees is a highly competent and qualified candidate, although he may suffer from currently having no strong standing in Bristol.

In his victory speech to Labour members last night, he declared: “I have said throughout the selection campaign, that the people of Bristol voted for change in the recent referendum, and I am determined to lead the change which Bristol has voted for.”