The usual media suspects – The Times, City AM, City Matters, Financial News London etc.* – picked up the story that Peter Estlin was “elected” as Lord Mayor of London on 1 October. Of course Estlin was “elected” by his peers in the finance and legal industries rather than those who actually live within the boundaries of the local authority that he now lords it over. A privately educated banker, Estlin is typical of those who get the top job in the City of London, and so naturally enough the new boss of the most anachronistic and undemocratic local authority in the UK is stressing his commitment to “social inclusion” – since empty rhetoric on this score has long been a feature of those whose actions buttress social exclusion.
What the Lord Mayor of London does is represent the interests of corporations and the super-rich, and so “he”** spends most of his time and millions pounds lobbying for neo-liberal economic policies that funnel wealth away from the many and into the hands of the few; while stopping every now and then to mouth a few words about “inclusion” and throwing some charitable crumbs around as a propaganda sop the City hopes will blind people to what’s really going on.
London’s current situation of having two mayors – one for the whole city and one for the much smaller City of London – is ridiculous. London doesn’t need two mayors and the best move Estlin could make if he’s serious about social inclusion is resigning and ensuring his powers and role are handed over to London’s real mayor, the democratically elected Sadiq Khan.
According to the City of London Lie Machine, Estlin’s programme will be a continuation of outgoing mayor Charles Bowman’s absurd ‘business of trust’ agenda. This propaganda line sounds like a poor one to us, since at least some of those who examine Estlin’s register of interests as a City of London councilor and his political website will have a great deal of difficulty trusting him.
There is an opacity to much of the business and politics of the City of London and it may be that Estlin is allowed to skip over his non-pecuniary interest in the Coleman Street Ward Club. Nonetheless when other councillor’s declare their membership of ward clubs on their register of interest***, it looks a little peculiar that Estlin doesn’t; especially given that he boasts of being the president of the Coleman Street Ward Club on his website. The omission is minor but it does lead us to wonder whether there are other items not on Estlin’s register of interests that could perhaps be there. Likewise, we have previously pointed up opacity as regards register of interests completed by common councillor Giles Shilson, alderman Matthew Richardson and former lord mayor and alderman ‘Sir’ Michael Bear. And so what might be seen as an oversight on Estlin’s part also fits into a broader pattern.
Peter Estlin among friends who also back his neo-liberal agenda of enriching the few at the expense of the many.
* These media stories were mostly based on the following press statement issued by the City of London council and hosted on it’s website:
Peter Estlin has today been elected as the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London. As the elected head of the City of London Corporation, he will serve as a global ambassador for the UK-based financial and professional services industry from 9 November 2018 for a one-year term.
Alderman Estlin – who will take a sabbatical from his role as a Senior Advisor to Barclays plc – will succeed the current Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, following the Silent Ceremony on Friday 9 November at Guildhall. The annual Lord Mayor’s Show takes place on Saturday 10 November, which will be followed by the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on Monday 12 November at Guildhall where the Prime Minister, Theresa May, will deliver a speech.
The Lord Mayor acts as an international spokesperson for the City, leading business delegations overseas to key international markets on behalf of the UK’s financial and professional services industry. In the role he will meet government representatives from around the world, alongside business leaders and policy makers both at home and abroad. He will look to strengthen economic ties with the UK, identify new business opportunities and promote the UK as a top global destination for foreign investment. He is expected to spend more than 100 days abroad visiting thirty countries across six continents.
During his Mayoral year, Alderman Estlin will also look to promote his ‘Shaping tomorrow’s City today’ agenda which will build on the current Lord Mayor’s theme of “the business of trust” and focus on promoting innovation and championing digital skills across the UK. The programme has three key aspects: promoting innovation & technology, championing digital skills, and addressing social inclusion. It will be underpinned by research that identifies digital skills gaps and opportunities for the UK. Alderman Estlin’s mayoral theme will guide his entire year, influencing international visits, ceremonial and state banquets, business and livery events, and charitable activities.
Peter Estlin said: “I am honoured to be elected as the 691st Lord Mayor. The City is a national asset for the UK, driving investment and creating millions of jobs across the country….
Peter Estlin’s Biography: Peter (57) is a Senior Advisor to Barclays plc having been educated at King Edward’s Witley and the University of Bristol. He trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner with Coopers & Lybrand in 1993.
Most of his career has been spent in banking, initially as CFO for Salomon Brothers Asia, then CFO for Citigroup’s Investment and Corporate Banking divisions in New York and London. He joined Barclays in 2008 as Group Financial Controller and has been CFO of the Retail & Business Banking and Non-Core divisions as well as Acting Group CFO…
He was elected an Alderman of the City of London in 2013 and was elected Sheriff for the City of London for the year 2016/17. His civic responsibilities include being a member of the City’s Education Board and Policy Committee.
Peter is married to Lindy, with one son, James, who is a chartered accountant with KPMG, and two daughters, Victoria, who is a doctor working in the NHS, and Annabel, who is undertaking a Masters in epidemiology at Cambridge University. They live in Tunbridge Wells….
Next Lord Mayor of the City of London elected by anonymous, City of London website, 1 October 2018 (preserved at Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20181004074939/https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/next-lord-mayor-of-the-city-of-london-elected/
** 689 out of 691 Lord Mayors of London have been male and there is a lack of ethnic diversity among them too.
***Of the four common councilors working beneath Estlin in the Coleman Street ward, three – Sophie Anne Fernandes, Stuart Fraser & Andrew Stratton McMurtrie –list membership of the Coleman Street Ward Club on their declaration of interests. Of course many other councilors in other wards also include ward club memberships on their declarations of interest, most usually the club for the ward they represent but sometimes other ward clubs too. See at Internet Archive:
McMurtrie – https://web.archive.org/web/20181004075845/http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgDeclarationSubmission.aspx?UID=1225&HID=2743&FID=0&HPID=506656768
Peter Estline declaration of interests at Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20181002195339/http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgDeclarationSubmission.aspx?UID=1419&HID=3021&FID=0&HPID=506654617
“Coleman Street Ward Club: All Wards in the City of London also have an associated Ward Club. Traditionally, the President of such Clubs is also the Alderman for the Ward. Since my election as Alderman in 2013 I have been proud to be President of the Coleman Street Ward Club.” Estlin’s website page on Coleman Street Ward Club: http://www.peterestlin.org/coleman-street-ward-club
Coleman Street Ward Club description of Estlin as its president:
“The Court of Common Council. Each Ward is represented within an Assembly called the Court of Common Council. This consists of 100 Common Councilmen and 25 Alderman (1 for each Ward).
The number of Councilmen (minimum 2, maximum 10) allocated to each particular Ward is based on the size of the electorate in that area. Coleman Street Ward is currently represented by 4 Common Councilmen, plus of course the Alderman (and Club President) Mr Peter Estlin.
Common Council represents the public interest and informs how the City of London Corporation should carry out its various activities.
Court of Common Council by Anonymous on Coleman Street Ward Club webpage: http://www.colemanstreet.org/common-council
Page of officers of Coleman Street Ward Club listing Estlin as president: http://www.colemanstreet.org/page3
Peter Estlin tweets about the ‘thousand year reich’ of fintech – most people would probably see it as less than 50 years old (it depends on your definition), but of course the rise of the City of London as a world leading global financial centre only really goes back as far as ‘the Hammer of the Hansa’ AKA the Gresham family and not 1000 years either.