Opinion: George left Bristol a better place but now we need to back Marvin

Whether you like ‘Marmite’ George Ferguson or not it is impossible not to admire a man who approaching his 70th birthday was working 16 hour days to promote and manage his beloved Bristol.

George isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. As a car driver, some of his more hardline anti-car sentiment wasn’t to my taste but his intentions were honourable.

Whatever people say, George Ferguson left Bristol a better place than he found it. His brand of independent politics brought a non party biased unison which is hard to achieve.

The King is dead (metaphorically speaking of course), long live the King!

We now have Marvin Rees as mayor of a city whose profile under George Ferguson surpassed that of cities like Manchester and Leeds. Some in London have said to me that had George continued in office Bristol might have become more famous for positive vibes than London too!

Marvin was left a powerful legacy to enable him to promote Bristol further. Investment creates expansion and growth which in turn creates jobs and hope for the future.

In my opinion it is the duty of us all to get behind the new mayor and make Bristol an even better place still.

I hope our new mayor doesn’t become too party political or focus only on what the city doesn’t have, rather than what the city does have.

Bristol is wonderfully diverse but it doesn’t have enough black or female entrepreneurs, for example. I don’t know why but would love to find out.

We have huge areas of deprivation which actually are hotbeds of innovation and entrepreneurship just waiting to be given an opportunity.

Perhaps real time enterprise hubs should be installed in areas such as St Paul’s, Southmead, Withywood and Hartcliffe – areas where young people can link with business people in a more meaningful way.

Unless our young people on what are often referred to as “sink estates” are shown a better future and given genuine hope, they will continue to grasp the nettle of despair held out by drug dealers and criminals which only then creates more drug dealers and criminals.

Marvin Rees promises to be inclusive, which is an admirable statement, but to be inclusive he must mean everyone.
Teachers, fireman, businesspeople, politicians, police, NHS staff and of course all other members of the general public, including those currently in more difficult circumstances.

Without entrepreneurs and businesspeople there is no financial wealth creation to pay for all the services provided by our wonderful NHS, police service or educational establishments.

Attracting investment into a city like Bristol means making it business friendly not opposing every new business initiative.

I am certainly backing our new mayor, as I supported the last one, and wish him the very best in his endeavour to create a more prosperous and fair city. Bristol was created 1,000 years ago and has seen huge changes in its history.

I am positive about Marvin Rees’ appointment as mayor and wish him well.

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