Archive for December, 2009

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Vince Cable: True Cost Of Recession Felt In Bristol

December 18, 2009

Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable believes the true cost of the recession is being borne in cities like Bristol.

He said today that London has an “artificial boom mentality”, created by a rise in the stock market and high prices for luxury homes.

But he believes shopkeepers, traders and other small business in provincial cities better understand the true cost of the downturn.

Vince Cable

Vince Cable, Lib Dem candidate Paul Harrod and shopkeeper Kathy Thorne

Among those he met was businesswoman Kathy Thorne, who runs the Time For Fun party shop on Filton Rd, Horfield.

Kathy has just been forced to give up her premises as a result of what she believes are excessive demands for rent by her landlord.

Her circumstances may be unsual, but her experience of going bust is sadly typical of many shops around the city.

Vince told Jones The News: “There is an artificial boom mentality in London, created by the stock exchange and luxury property prices, but it is very artificial.

But out in the country it is very different, people are very sober. There is a problem, though some people think there isn’t.”

He also hit out at the Labour government’s policies towards the banks.

He said: “Having taken the banks over, he has just let the banks go back to business as usual. Gordon Brown is intimidated by the bankers.

“For ten years, Brown has curtsied to the city of London and isn’t able or willing to exert any kind of control, and that is a big weakness.”

But he refused to be drawn on the possibility of serving as chancellor in a hung parliament. Many commentators believe a hung parliament is becoming more likely, as the Tories lead over Labour shrinks.

One frequently-discussed scenario is that Cable would become Chancellor if the Liberals formed a coalition either with Labour or the Conservatives.

But he swept the idea away, saying: “It’s not a personal thing. I am part of a team and that team is doing very well. Bristol is a good example of the way the Liberal Democrats have come from a long way behind to become the dominant political force in the city.

“There is no question of me going off to do anything on my own. what we are concerned about is not jobs for me or anyone else. We are more concerned with getting our policies across.

“It is my ambition to be chancellor in a Lib Dem administration, that is what we are aiming for.”

Audio: Martin Jones interviews Vince Cable

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Bristol Civil Rights Activist Welcomes World Cup Inclusion

December 17, 2009

Veteran civil rights campaigner Paul Stephenson says the World Cup is a chance for Bristol to show it can welcome people of different races and faiths.

But he warned a failure to do that would be a “disaster” which would damage the city and its reputation “for generations”.

In the 1960’s, Mr Stephenson led a boycott of Bristol buses which led directly to the introduction of the Race Relations Act. He has previously called for the city to issue a direct apology for its role in the slave trade. He was given an OBE in the 2009 honours.

Paul Stephenson and former Labour MP Tony Benn

Paul Stephenson and former Labour MP Tony Benn

Speaking after the announcement of Bristol’s inclusion in England’s 2018 bid, Mr Stephenson welcomed it, saying: “The challenge is how far will Bristol come to terms with the cultural identity of the peoples who arrive here from continent of Africa, Latin america, and Eastern Europe

“How far are Bristolians going to enhance their reputation with these people who will be coming to the city expecting a warm welcome?”

“If Bristol fails [to show how multicultural it is], it will be a disaster for Bristol. But I believe that Bristol will meet the challenge and do its best to welcome all the peoples from around the world.

“They should come and identify with this beautiful city. Failure to do that will be a disaster for the people of Bristol for generations to come. This is the one of the great challenges that comes in a lifetime and Bristol now must meet it.”

But Mr Stephenson agrees the World Cup would be a chance to show the city off. He said: “Bristol has so much going for it. People of all races, colours, creeds and religions can come together through sport and see their humanity as people, and respect that. We can move the city forward for generations to come.”

Audio: Martin Jones interviews Paul Stephenson