Stop Plutocracy in the City of London

It’s no secret that Brexit offers the City of London opportunities for neo-liberal restructuring as it engages in a race to the bottom as far the rights and welfare of the majority of UK citizens are concerned. Trends and decisions that might have been introduced more slowly if the Brexit vote had gone the other way will be implemented with greater speed as the bankers and their ultra-high net worth friends seek to make the whole of the UK more like the City of London, where the influence of finance is largely unchecked due to a business vote system that allows this council to ignore the views of local residents. According to a City Matters report of 5 September 2018, the City Corporation now plans to chum up to jurisdictions like Switzerland and the USA (think of ‘offshore’ US states like Delaware with its lax financial rules). The ultimate result will be to make the UK even more like the tax havens whose capstone it currently is – these are spread across the British Crown dependencies and overseas territories – at the expense of our democratic structure and already inadequate financial regulations. Such changes will benefit the rich at everyone else’s expense.

On 12 September it was widely reported in the media the City of London had lost its number one position in the global financial league, something that will only serve to make it even more intractable in its opposition to democracy. Here’s how Reuters reported the story:

New York has overtaken London as the world’s most attractive financial center, a survey said on Wednesday, as Britain’s decision to leave the EU prompts banks to shift jobs out of the city to keep access to Europe’s single market.

Brexit poses the biggest challenge to the City of London’s finance industry since the 2007-2009 global crisis, since it might mean banks and insurers lose access to the European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc.

New York took first place, followed by London, Hong Kong and Singapore in the Z/Yen global financial centers index, which ranks 100 centers on factors such as infrastructure and access to quality staff.

London’s score fell by eight points from six months ago, the biggest decline among the top contenders. The survey’s authors said this reflected the uncertainty around Britain’s EU departure on March 29 next year.

“We are getting closer and closer to exit day and we still don’t know whether London will be able to trade with all the other European financial centers,” Mark Yeandle, the co-creator of the index, told Reuters. “The fear of losing business to other centers is driving the slight decline and people are concerned about London’s competitiveness.”

Since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, some of the world’s most powerful finance companies have begun moving staff from London to countries that will remain in the bloc to preserve the existing cross-border flow of trading….

“London and New York have long vied for the top spot of this index and the uncertainty around the future shape of Brexit is likely to be a factor in their latest switch in positions,” said Miles Celic, chief executive of the lobbying group TheCityUK. “In a competitive world we cannot afford complacency.”

London loses top spot to New York in financial survey due to Brexit by Andrew MacAskill, Reuters, 12 September 2018.

Whether London is at number one or number one hundred in the Z/Yen global financial centers index is a matter of indifference to us. What we want is an end to the undemocratic business vote system that sustains plutocracy in the City of London! The residents living under this council have as much right to a democratic local authority as the rest of the UK. It’s a scandal we currently have virtually no say in our local matters due to the dominance of business votes! Say no to business votes, say yes to democracy!

DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL REFORM NOW!

Notes.

City targets US and Swiss for post-Brexit trade boost by Jo Davy, City Matters, 5 September 2018: https://www.citymatters.london/city-of-london-us-switzerland-trade-boost-brexit/

London loses top spot to New York in financial survey due to Brexit by Andrew MacAskill: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-financialcentres/new-york-overtakes-london-as-top-financial-center-brexit-blamed-idUSKCN1LS16I

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