The City of Bristol will abolish its directly elected mayor after a referendum. Over 50,000 voters opted to discard the position and its current mayor, Marvin Rees, will conclude his post in 2024 and will subsequently leave the city without a mayor in the future.
How fitting. For anyone who has read the news over the last two years will know, Bristol has become an uncontrollable mess of a city and it has descended into anarchy on more than one occasion. The complete lack of a head honcho is a poetic symbol for what this integral city has become.
Protests, riots, anti-social behavior, and anti-government sentiment have all become commonplace in this once-great city. It’s hard to imagine that the city that produced Cary Grant, Steven Merchant, and Sir Tony Robinson could be responsible for such widespread destruction, poor conduct, and lack of respect for its illustrious history.
Known for its anarchy-promoting residents and huge population of students, Bristol has scared a lot of people (including myself) and put us off ever returning in fear that we’ll be attacked by an angry mob or be unlucky enough to be caught in the crossfire of a mass protest. Avon and Somerset Police have been reminded time after time that they’re not welcome in the city and any suspicion of police presence is met with worrying results.
Bristol Soon To Be Without A Figurehead
To make matters worse, the city will soon be without a main figurehead. This begs the question - who takes the reins? Who, if anyone, is going to lead Bristol into a new, more promising era if there’s no mayor and no recognisable face at the top? Surely a lack of a mayor will only accelerate Bristol’s decline into madness.
Whilst I completely support people’s right to protest, I draw the line at ugly or dangerous actions. This is exactly what’s happened in Bristol recently and I’m, quite frankly, disgusted and I think the city should hang its head in shame.
The ‘Kill the Bill’ protests saw shop windows smashed, police vehicles set ablaze, and terrifying chanting by those responsible. It’s also been alleged that so-called ‘tourist’ protesters entered Bristol from other cities simply to take part in these disturbing actions. Who gets the blame? No matter how you look at it, the City of Bristol is the culprit and I’m still waiting for it to apologise.
I often go on staycations around the country to marvel at our nation’s greatest attractions and achievements. When I go to London, I visit the London Eye, the Globe Theatre, and (of course) Buckingham Palace, when I go to Bristol, I visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge and reflect on the genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Bristol Needs To Look At Itself
Or at least I used to. For what I was considered a vibrant, cultural, exciting city has now become a breeding ground for unsavory ideologies and rambunctious students. I was hoping that this downward spiral would be a temporary phase, but from what I’ve heard, the dangerous new Bristol is here to stay.
I hope this attitude doesn’t spread to the rest of Britain. We’re about to enter a tough (yet exciting) time and we need to be all pulling in the same direction if we have any hope of making post-Brexit Britain the utopia we all know it could be.
Bristol needs to look at itself in the mirror and decide what kind of city it wants to be. It’s a disgrace that we’ve reached this destination, but there is still time for the city to atone for its sins and get back to what it used to do best - serve British industry well and provide one of the nation’s best cultural experiences.
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