Of course, the private sector doesn’t have a monopoly on trying to whitewash Bristol – unaccountable regional policy wonks at the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) fancy trying their hand at it too!
As anyone who has been through the back streets to get to Temple Meads train station will know, much of the area is boxed off with big purple boards, adorned with flashy, laminated adverts promoting all the good works SWRDA is doing for the local area. These, if you have ever been so bored as to look closely, are illustrated with the smiling faces of various people which SWRDA, it seems, believes best represent inner city Bristol. So you’ve got the communications director of an organic Somerset farm, and the Stroud-based boss of an electricity company – both white.
There’s also the touching tale of a ‘romantic rambler’ and his bride-to-be, a rock collector from Bristol (“We chose the ring the next day – I found a beautiful antique jewel which had to be mine. We celebrated by the waterside with bubbly from a local vineyard; the perfect end to an unforgettable weekend”) – again, both white.
In addition there’s various random people populating more generic boards in which the fine work of SWRDA in ‘Temple Quarter’ (“a multi-phase regeneration programme which is reinvigorating the heart of one of Europe’s leading commercial and cultural cities”) is trumpeted to the accompaniment of photos of white-teethed catalogue model types enjoying al fresco lattes or cycling or just generally being busy doing Very Important Things on schematics in offices – and guess what? All white!
Makes you wonder exactly what SWRDA is planning for the much-awaited ‘multi-phase regeneration programme’ in the ‘Temple Quarter’…