I am standing to become the new Bristol mayor in 2016 because I think we are in dire need of change. No, not just another new mayor, but a complete system overhaul. A new way of doing things in Bristol. A new era of transparency, inclusiveness, honesty and democracy is just waiting to be born.
If we have learnt anything over the last three and a half years it’s that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. So, I am standing to offer Bristolians something different, new ways of representation.
Direct democracy which means people all over the city will be involved in the ways Bristol is run. There is a great call now for a new type of politics – one built on trust, where people elected say what they mean and mean what they say.
We must also defend our essential front line services. As an anti-cuts mayor, I would not only defend our public services, I’d also be looking to oppose central government cutbacks and make our services stronger and more accessible.
On the subject of mayors – does Bristol still want a mayor at all? We should push for this referendum – let Bristol decide.
I believe that Bristol City Council and employees should be reminded that they work for us. That we pay their wages and they are answerable to us. We are told that we must accept austerity, whilst some bosses at the council have seen pay increases.
I want to encourage and bring in new forms of direct democracy that will enhance the lives of Bristolians everywhere. We are being fed this lie of austerity – that we all have to tighten our belts – but in reality the super rich have as always ran away with all the money whilst the poor are left to pick up the pieces and this is having a direct impact on so many of our lives.
We need to invent new ways in which our society can operate in a more cooperative way rather than the dog-eat-dog capitalism that is causing massive social harm.
I believe that we can and should make sure everyone has a home to live in. We should make sure that people aren’t simply put into houses and left – but to be part of communities which seek to help individuals grow and build the lives that they want to lead.
With over a thousand homes empty at any one time in Bristol, there is the resources to make this happen – but it needs the political will of a mayor who cares to make this a reality.
I believe that we need a joined up system of trains, trams and buses in the city centre. Lets bring the buses back into public ownership. If we are to encourage people to rely on public transport, we should provide Bristolians with a bus service that works for people, owned by the people and for the people of Bristol.
The RPZ’s that were forced on our communities whatever your opinion on them did great damage to our communities and to democracy as a whole in Bristol. If elected as mayor, I’m seeking to make sure that once the ten million pound loan that the council took out on our behalf to fund the scheme is paid off – that Bristol residents no longer have to pay for their permits, and can park their cars for free in their communities. The residents parking zones scheme should never have been used as a cash cow.
These are just a few of my ideas – but what I’m keen to promote is not what I think is best for Bristol, because that is a dictatorship. Instead, encourage and empower Bristolians to be the ones who decide what happens. A true leader creates more leaders.
The role of mayor is to empower and engage Bristolians in the debate and to encourage participation, not to dictate. Bristol has always been a place for me that represents rebellion and a place which bucks the system when required.
We need a mayor that has the political will to make sure that our freedoms are protected and that our great heritage and culture is protected in Bristol.
We are all here and we all have to live together. We are all unique but fundamentally we are the same. We all need love, warmth, shelter, a sense of purpose and connection.
Lets start looking for new ways of building our communities – ways that enrich all of our lives not just that of the few. I want to be mayor who can take Bristol into the next few years and continue the strong Bristol culture of solidarity and looking out for each other.
Thanks for your time. I hope to have your support.
Paul Saville is an independent candidate for Bristol mayor.
Bristol24/7 is hosting a mayoral hustings featuring all candidates at The Lantern at 7pm on Thursday, April 28. Entrance is first come first served. For more information, visit www.colstonhall.org/shows/mayoral-hustings/