December 30, 2021
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

Time for the first inaugural Alternative Bristol Awards! So grab a glass of mulled cider and join us in a review of the year and some well deserved wassailing of folk for both the good and the bad.

Best Media Outlet

There is, happy to say, some strong completion for this award. Locally we have got a couple of newcomers; the Phoenix Media Coop with the strong focus on global political resistance and both the workers and environmental struggles. Local stalwart The Bristolian is still at it and whose coverage of the #Colston4 has been on fire; The Bristol Activist is doing great in-depth write-ups of local protest actions and issues; and last but not least, The Canary, who have been unafraid to speak truth to power on the #KillTheBill protests in the city when almost all other outlets were eye-rolling at protesters, and uncritically reprinting the police press releases as ‘news’.

Winner, winner vegan chicken dinner – A tough call, but congratulations to The Canary; the political left has such a massive asymmetry to the right in media power in the UK, so we not only need radical media, we need it to be reaching people and talking a language they understand. So why not drop them a few quid a month!

Best Politician

People like to say ‘they’re all the same’ about politicians and often seems easy to see why people think that, but they are not. Sometimes you get genuine people who run for election and when they do, we should support them and echo them when they speak, Nominations here are Councillor Emma Edwards who is very outspoken on refugee rights at a time when so many politicians shy away from the issue out of fear of the political right, Green peer Jenny Jones who used her position of power to refer the Met to the Police watchdog over the non-enforcement of the COVID rules for Downing Street and former Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Cleo Lake who, on the Colston 4, took an actual stance that was at odds with most of the city’s political elite who are either tacitly helping with the prosecution or pretending not to hear.

Winner, winner vegan chicken dinner – Cleo Lake; because having principles means you need to act on them and her taking the stand in a court case and speaking up for the Colston 4 deserves huge credit.

Best Support Group

With so many attacks on our rights by the government and their far-right enablers, there as been so much hard work needing to be done. Thankfully a few people step up and take on supporting those caught in the meat-grinder of the state and in doing so fight for all our rights: Bristol ABC, the prisoner support group, has been relentless in its support of those political prisoners locally and internationally. Bristol Defendant Solidarity has been doing the really tough work of fighting for the #KillTheBill accused and prisoners; and finally Countering Colston & BRHG have been providing a much-needed factual narrative to counter the shrill right-wing culture war (especially around statues & Colston).

Winner, winner vegan chicken dinner Bristol Defendant Solidarity because the #KillTheBill protesters have been thrown to the wolves by virtually every other organisation – progressive to right wing. The mendacious lies of the cops during the protests and the violence inflicted by the police has been swept under the state carpet. Yet here, Bristol Defendant Solidarity still stand and more power to them!

Best Campaign Group

Campaigns are not popularity contests. They are about getting real change. If you’ve watched the ‘Hating Peter Tatchell’ documentary on Netflix you’ll see the decades of hate and violence meted out to him and his supporters for something that, thankfully, the country now supports. So with that in mind, we nominate Bristol XR (and XR in general) for their relentless and creative actions on climate; Insulate Britain for forcing the issue onto the front pages despite becoming hate-figures for the thought-crime of wanting to stop civilizational collapse. Finally we also nominate Bristol Sex Workers Collective for fighting for the rights of some of the most vulnerable and unheard people in the city.

Winner, winner vegan chicken dinner – Joint award to Bristol Sex Workers Collective and Insulate Britain for not only fighting for what is right, but doing so against a tide of misinformation and bullshit sweeping the other way. We salute you both!

Asshole of 2021 Award

So, so, so, so many to pick from here. Boris Johnson and his shower of corrupt cronies, the cops for lying and attacking protesters while ignoring Tory crime, Nigel ‘Ferooge’ and his relentless fire-hose of far-right bullshit and the parade of fools, grifters, idiots and bastards that collectively compose the anti-vax movement and who expend so much energy on trying to get people killed.

Winner, winner rotten chicken dinner – The anti-vax movement who have steadily been ramping up the hate from ‘my body my choice to infect you with COVID’ to attacking NHS staff and trying to stop evil pantomimes from happening. So much energy is expended on a mirage of a conspiracy BS that is little more than medieval ‘blood libel’ repacked for the digital age. A hearty GTFO to them!

Person of the Year 2021

So many deserving people we could name – from front-line workers who worked despite COVID, to journalists who exposed Tory corruption, to the Colston4 crew from defendants to the legal campaign, #SpyCops campaigner Kate Wilson, Peter Stefanovic who has been doing amazing video take-downs of Tory corruption, Banksy for doing the t-shirt thing, Massive Attack for a massive shout-out on Colston, all those who turned up to protest in the rain and more!

Winner, winner rotten chicken dinner – But here we want to pay tribute to campaigner Kate Wilson who has fought a dogged underdog campaign against the full power of the surveillance state that took many years to come to fruition and get even some semblance of justice. Her victory is a victory for all, and we raise a glass to thank her for that!

Ones to Watch in 2022

We’re excited to see what happens with Gas Against Fascism, Scrap the Mayor & Green New Deal UK Bristol as we think all these issues are going to be big in 2022.

Meanwhile the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill will become Law at some point in the next few months, for the simple reason the Tories majority in the House of Commons cannot be stopped. It’ll then be a case of making the Law unworkable in practice, on the streets – our history is littered with unjust laws that were defied then overturned. With economic & climate crisis coming rapidly into play, and people left with no other option than to protest & take direct action, the clash between an authoritarian Government’s repressive new powers and the peoples’ legitimate demands for justice across numerous topics may well be the key issue in the year ahead.

Have a good and safe NYE all!