Tim Hailes & The Bizarre Twists & Turns of ‘Patriotism’ in the City of London

He may not have been to Eton and have a great grandfather and grandfather who’d been Lord Mayors of London like William Russell, but Tim Hailes is another perfect candidate for top office as far as the City of London establishment is concerned. Hailes has worked for J P Morgan since 1999 where he is a Managing Director & Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department. He’s also a liveryman, a freemason (most Lord Mayors belong to this men only club) and no longer a Tory activist (he was as a student).

The City of London likes to pretend it doesn’t engage in party politics, although there are plenty of councillors who are or were in the past card carrying members of political parties. This local authority represents the financial industry rather than its residents, it is controlled through undemocratic business votes, its policies are neo-liberal and it defends the interests of corporations and ‘ultra-high net worth individuals’ at the expense of billions being exploited around the world today.

Tim Hailes demonstrating it ain’t hip to be a corporate lawyer….

Since conservatives in the City stand as independents, and not all of them want to overtly display any political colours, those who don’t belong to the Tory party – even if they once did – can group around The Royal Society of St George. Timothy Russell Hailes, alongside quite a number of his fellow City councilors*, is a member of this ‘minor English institution’. When The Independent covered this organization a few years ago it didn’t mention it has its biggest branch in the City of London:

It is difficult to know quite what to make of the Royal Society of St George. Having purloined the Union flag, the Far Right has also, over the past few years, annexed the flag of St George to its cause…

These (Royal Society of St George assertions) are mainly about fairly harmless romanticising of England, thus: “Even today, though some of the old glories have dimmed, England maintains her inner strength, her quiet dignity.”


“No longer the hub of a great Empire, but still a bastion of freedom, gentility and human decency – values which give meaning to the clarion cry: Saint George for England!” The Society’s regalia looks suitably camp, should you be interested.

Minor British Institutions: The Royal Society of St George by Sean O’Grady, The Independent, 11 April 2009.

Given that the City of London is at the very centre of a dirty money financial empire with tax havens in British crown dependencies and overseas territories gathered around it, O’Grady misses a lot by emphasising the cosplay activities of Royal Society of St George branches in places like Bolton and Costa Blanca while ignoring its importance to financial neo-colonialists in the ‘square mile’. The City has nothing to do with ‘freedom, gentility and human decency’ which the Society claims are typically English values but rather stands for greed and exploitation.

Royal Society of St George lunch at City of London Guildhall, 23 April 2015.

The City of London is anti-democratic and uses a complex array of institutions and organistions to conjure itself into an almost invisible – and for outsiders difficult to comprehend – ‘all powerful’ corporate leviathan. Alongside the three council assemblies (Common Hall, Court of Common Council, Court of Aldermen), the livery companies, the ward clubs and certain freemasonic lodges including various livery lodges and the Guildhall Lodge 3116 (which the majority of Lord Mayors since 1905 have belonged to), the City of London branch of Royal Society of St George is of significance too as part of the organisational glue holding this plutocratic golem together:

The inaugural meeting of the City of London Branch of The Royal Society of Saint George, was held at The Mansion House on 18th April 1921 under the Chairmanship of Mr Stanley Machin JP. The Lord Mayor, Sir James Roll, was elected as the first President.

The first luncheon of the new branch was held on 22nd June 1921 in Salters’ Hall, St Swithin’s Lane with the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Birkenhead, as the guest speaker. On 30th January 1922 over 500 people attended a Reception at the Mansion House. The Branch was clearly becoming strong and active. During the banquet, the Band of the Honourable Artillery Company played a selection of music, including “Land of Hope and Glory”, which has become a tradition in the City of London Branch.

After the Second World War the Branch was revitalised by the enthusiasm of the late President, Bernard L Morgan CBE, JP, KStJ, FCIOB and George Gibbs. The Patron of the Branch is The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor. The City of London Branch is by far the largest branch of the Society in the country.

The Royal Society of Saint George by Anonymous, The Cook and Butler website, n.d.

Organisations like The Royal Society of Saint George and the freemasons provide the City of London with perfect cover for carrying on its nefarious activities, since most associate such operations with less sophisticated and politicised practitioners than those based in the ‘square mile’. The patriotic organisation under discussion alongside artwashing and much else, provides the City with a fig-leaf of respectability in the eyes of many ordinary people, as it proceeds to ‘sell England by the pound’. This is entirely different to the cosplaying described in this local news item about the same society’s Bolton branch:

ENGLAND’S patron saint was celebrated in style across Bolton this weekend… Friends Chris Houghton, Joey Deehan, Will Waddington and Paul Birbeck were out in full armoured costume in the town centre, handing out 6,000 red roses to members of the public on behalf of the Royal Society of St George, which was founded in 1894 to promote English traditions.

Mr Houghton, aged 50, who is the CEO of IT firm Eventura, said: “We have been doing this for 13 years to make sure that everybody remembers St George and celebrates properly. It’s about being proud to be English.


“We go around the square and talk to people, have our photos taken, and hand out 6,000 red roses.

“We are members of the Royal Society of St George and have our annual dinner on Saturday night at Bolton School, which over 100 people attend.

“One of our primary aims is to make St George’s Day a Bank Holiday, because he deserves to be properly recognised like other patron saints are in their countries.”

Bolton celebrates St George’s Day in style by Daniel Holland, Bolton News, 24th April 2016.

Relatively insignificant local branches of The Royal Society of St George ‘commemorating’ a mythical dragon slayer by dressing up as medieval knights seems like a harmless way to ahistorically celebrate a nation that wouldn’t be recognisable to our contemporary eyes until after feudal social relations were abolished. Although cheering on English sports figures – such as Bolton born boxer Amir Khan – makes more sense to us as a patriotic activity, we nonetheless assume Chris Houghton and friends are entirely ignorant of the neo-colonial agenda of the crusaders in the City of London branch of the Royal Society of St George.


It hardly needs stating there are grave political dangers when patriotism is combined with an anti-democratic agenda. While it insists on retaining its business vote system and cheerleads for a lack of transparency in global financial affairs, the City is de facto anti-democratic. While the City en bloc is not chasing an identical ‘patriotic’ and anti-democratic agenda to neo-Nazi ‘rock’ bands, we should still view racist songs such as The Return of St George by the likes of Brutal Attack as a warning about where such politics lead. In many ways the struggle against neo-Nazism begins with the fight for the democratic reform of the City of London, because with its business vote directed lobbying for ‘market liberalisation’ and pro-tax haven policies that fuel inequality and funnel the world’s wealth to a tiny super-rich elite, the City helps create the conditions in which fascism can thrive. Reclaim EC1 believes in one person, one vote, everywhere across the globe – from the City of London to Hong Kong! Say no to Tim Hailes and business votes since the residents of the City of London and the people of the world have a right to democracy!

Neo-Nazi band Brutal Attack love St George and hate democracy almost as much as the City of London do, even if their reasons for this and agendas differ… they also share with the City a lack of sartorial style and both repeatedly make bad aesthetic and political judgements.

Pippa Henslowe



*City of London councillors who belong to the Royal Society of St George as revealed by declarations of interest on the City of London website: John Tomlinson, Judith Pleasance, Sylvia Doreen Moys, Richard David Regan, Sir David Hugh Wootton, Sir Roger Gifford, Timothy Russell Hailes, James de Sausmarez, Clare James, Kevin Malcolm Everett, Alison Gowman, George Christopher Abrahams, John Garbutt, Vincent Thomas Keaveny, Barbara Patricia Newman, Keith David Forbes Bottomley, Ian David Luder, Sir Andrew Charles Parmley, Christopher Michael Hayward.

Supposedly ‘independent’ City of London councillors who belong to the Conservative Party as revealed by declarations of interest on the City of London website: Graeme Martyn Smith, Jeremy Mayhew, Gregory Jones, Karina Dostalova, Alastair Michael Moss, Oliver Sells, Christopher Paul Boden, Sophie Anne Fernandes, Keith David Forbes Bottomley, Mark Raymond Peter Henry Delano Wheatley, Andrew Stratton McMurtrie, James Richard Tumbridge, Christopher Michael Hayward, James Henry George Pollard. Until he ceased to be a councillor earlier this month, ‘independent’ Peter Hewitt also declared membership of the Conservative Party and Conservative Party Business and Entrepreneurs Club on his City of London declaration of interests.

For Tim Hailes’ Tory activism as a student see his website or Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hailes

Minor British Institutions: The Royal Society of St George by Sean O’Grady: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/minor-british-institutions-the-royal-society-of-st-george-1666032.html

The Royal Society of Saint George by Anonymous, The Cook and Butler website: http://www.thecookandthebutler.co.uk/Clients/Royal%20St%20George/royal_saint_george.htm#st%20george%202015%20images

Bolton celebrates St George’s Day in style by Daniel Holland: http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/14448543.PICTURES__Bolton_celebrates_St_George_s_Day_in_style/

The current Wikipedia entry on The Royal Society of St George reads in part:

The Royal Society of St George is an English patriotic society established in 1894 to encourage interest in the English way of life, and English customs and traditions…

Howard Ruff was the founder in 1894 and the first Honorary Secretary of the Royal Society of St. George. In 1900 he gave up farming to devote his time exclusively to the Society. The Society’s first Royal Patron was Queen Victoria – each monarch since has been the patron of the Society.

The Society is incorporated by a Royal Charter which was presented by Elizabeth II in 1963 and has its own Armorial Bearings granted under Letters Patent in 1990 and also now has members and branches around the world…

Today the Society considers itself as the standard bearer of traditional English values, both at home and abroad. Of itself, the Society says, our “…role is primarily educational, promoting the common cultural heritage of people throughout the English-speaking world, including our former Dominions and Colonies. The Society now focuses its work on the younger generations of English and kindred people whose most valuable inheritance is our nation’s history and culture. ”…

The objects are specified in the terms of its Royal Charter:

To foster the love of England and to strengthen England and the Commonwealth by spreading the knowledge of English history, traditions and ideals.

To keep fresh the memory of those in all walks of life, who have served England or the Commonwealth in the past, to inspire leadership in the future.

To combat all activities to undermine the strength of England or the Commonwealth.

To further English interest everywhere to ensure that St. George’s Day is properly celebrated and to provide focal points all the world over where English men and women may gather together.

Royal Society of St George, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society_of_St_George

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