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Listen: Bristol Unpacked, with councillor Christine Townsend on taking on the Merchant Venturers over educational inequality

Green councillor and education rights campaigner Christine Townsend on fighting discriminatory school selection practices and the prospect of taking power in Bristol.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Neil Maggs

It’s been three years since Edward Colston’s statue was toppled, thrusting the Society of Merchant Venturers – the elite club and charitable organisation with a history steeped in the slave trade, of which he was a member – into the limelight.

But for many years prior to Colston’s fall, former teacher and education rights campaigner Christine Townsend was on a mission to fight what she sees as discriminatory practices of pupil selection, starting off with Merchant Venturer-run schools in Bristol. 

Now a Green Party councillor, Christine is a thorn in the side of the Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, and many others.

But the Greens are poised to win further power in Bristol at the next local elections. How might this activist (who once stood for mayor herself) move into a position of authority, with all the challenges – and usually compromises – that entails?


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