Graeme Harrower On Ongoing City of London Planning Committee Failures

Members of the Corporation’s leadership and their supporters are in a majority on the Planning Committee. They vote to grant permission for every application that the Corporation itself makes or in which it has a financial interest, and every application that a major office developer makes, regardless of the extent to which the application contravenes planning policies.

Read more "Graeme Harrower On Ongoing City of London Planning Committee Failures"

Open Letter To The City of London Corporation From Free Tibet

Free Tibet is concerned that the City Corporation’s policy of accommodating China by turning a blind eye to its actions and threats will ultimately be harmful to everyone except those who undemocratically hold and abuse power in Beijing. We call on the Corporation to change course. Decency demands that life and liberty in Tibet and China should take priority over helping some of the Corporation’s commercial “stakeholders” to make profits from facilitating Chinese expansion, including in the City of London itself.

Read more "Open Letter To The City of London Corporation From Free Tibet"

Barbican Centre Racism Review Too Narrow To Be Credible

Any credible review of institutional racism at the Barbican Centre must necessarily also encompass the City of London council since this is the body that ultimately controls it. Sadly it seems highly unlikely that the current review has a wide enough remit to even make it look like a credible attempt to resolve the issue it is supposedly addressing – let alone to actually achieve anything. It looks like the Barbican Centre racism review will be as much of a farce as the recent City of London Historic Landmarks Consultation, which failed to even address the majority of the memorials we have problems with.

Read more "Barbican Centre Racism Review Too Narrow To Be Credible"

Oliver Sells, The City Corporation & West Ham Park

Something that seems to have been overlooked by those who want to flog off part of West Ham Park to their property developer friends is that when you build more housing you put more pressure on local amenities and this would lead to a need for more, not less, green space. Likewise while there are huge numbers of people needing to be properly housed, property developers in much of London – and in particular in areas close to the City – concentrate on building luxury ghost flats for investors that are bought and simply left empty because those that purchase them take the view that they can make a profit on an overheated property market. Filling empty – including a massive amount of never lived in – properties makes way more sense than building homes on West Ham Park. It isn’t as if the City of London doesn’t have the money to pay for the upkeep of green spaces, it just prefers to use its sovereign wealth fund (City’s Cash) on lobbying globally for neo-liberal policies and light regulation – so that the rich can get richer and use tax havens to avoid contributing anything to society.

Read more "Oliver Sells, The City Corporation & West Ham Park"

Court Of Aldermen Split Over How To Rig Mayoral Election

The rigged and uncontested elections in the City of London, the existence of the business vote, the ridiculous number of council seats in relationship to the size of the electorate &c., are all factors that make this the UK’s last rotten borough. What the lord mayor does is lobby globally for neo-liberal policies and light regulation in order to benefit the super rich at the expense of everyone else – and this is paid for from what is ultimately public money, although the City of London lie machine constantly throws out bullshit on this and other matters it wants to obscure. Rather than having a Lord Mayor of London in 2022 and arguing about his/her/their nationality (which like their sexuality and gender pronouns should be irrelevant), this office ought to be abolished – and while we’re at it we should get rid of the business vote and the entire court of aldermen too!

Read more "Court Of Aldermen Split Over How To Rig Mayoral Election"

Hitler, Xi Jinping & The City Corporation

Head of the City of London council Catherine McGuinness apparently thinks that the best thing the Corporation can do for “all the Chinese people”, presumably including those in ‘re-education’ camps because of their ethnicity or in jail because of their political or religious beliefs, is to talk to their oppressors about climate change. Xi’s rhetoric yesterday to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China echoed Hitler’s Nuremberg speeches and just as worrying is the deployment of Nazi jurisprudence – specifically the work of Carl Schmitt – to provide legal justification for the national security law in Hong Kong.

Read more "Hitler, Xi Jinping & The City Corporation"

City Of London Response To David Alton’s Questions On Hong Kong

There is a remarkable similarity between the issue dodging and misleading rhetoric used by the leaders of the City of London council in their reply yesterday to David Alton about political repression and human rights abuses in Hong Kong, and the letter they sent last month to the World Uyghur Congress on the same matters in East Turkestan. The positions they reiterate here have been thoroughly demolished but that doesn’t stop Lord Mayor William Russell and Chair of Policy Catherine McGuinness repeating themselves like a broken record.

Read more "City Of London Response To David Alton’s Questions On Hong Kong"

On Barbican Centre Racism & The Nicholas Kenyon Resignation

We’ve never had much time for Nicholas Kenyon or his artwashing role on behalf of the City of London. This is a man whose mission has always been to replace living cultures with a deracinated and dead-on-arrival ‘art’. While we’re glad to see Kenyon go from the Barbican Centre, it’s unlikely he’ll be replaced by anyone who’ll oppose the City of London council’s plans to marginalise and exclude the diverse working class community living close to the Barbican through its Culture Mile and Culture & Commerce Taskforce programmes. What is exciting is the publication a couple of weeks ago of Barbican Stories, a ‘collection of firsthand and witnessed accounts of racism and discrimination at the Barbican Centre’. The City of London council not only founded, largely funds and controls the Barbican Arts Centre (through its board), it is also responsible for the entire complex which in part houses it. This includes the three residential Barbican towers that rise high above the arts centre, local landmarks that dominate the skyline in this part of the City and neighbouring south Islington. Lauderdale Tower is named after a slave trader (John Maitland, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale) and Cromwell Tower memorialises a mass murderer who oversaw English colonial atrocities in Ireland. They are simply two among many problematic memorials the City’s Historic Landmarks Consultation overlooked.

Read more "On Barbican Centre Racism & The Nicholas Kenyon Resignation"

Alison Gowman & Nicholas Lyons Winners In Rigged City Of London Sheriff ‘Election’

On 24 June 2020 at a ceremony at the Guildhall senior City of London councillors Alison Gowman and Nicholas Lyons were both elevated to the office of sheriff in a fake election with no other candidates. Like the lord mayor, the sheriffs are nominally elected by members of livery companies at common hall, although in reality the livery takes its lead from the court of aldermen. The livery companies started out centuries ago as trade guilds but have in recent years acted as exclusive gentlemen’s clubs, very few (if any) of whose members practice the craft their company was created to assist and likewise hardly any ‘liverymen’ actually live in the City of London; but they still get to nominally elect the top officials of this local authority.

Read more "Alison Gowman & Nicholas Lyons Winners In Rigged City Of London Sheriff ‘Election’"

When Xi Jinping Tells The City To Jump, Catherine McGuinness Asks How High?

Leaving aside the question of whether the Corporation as a public authority should be representing private commercial interests and using quasi-public money to do so, it does not follow that if the Corporation ended its policy of appeasement with China, that would end its ability to “stand up for the business City”. The UK trades with many countries that do not abuse human rights – in fact most of its major trading partners don’t. China is the big exception. It is troubling to think that the Chair of Policy’s statement, which equates ending the Corporation’s appeasement of China with its being unable generally to represent the business City as it has previously done, only makes sense if the Chinese Communist Party already influences the business City and the Corporation’s leadership to such an extent that the Corporation has become the party’s puppet.

Read more "When Xi Jinping Tells The City To Jump, Catherine McGuinness Asks How High?"