Mark Field & the City of London’s Culture of Misogyny & Entitlement

Mark Field has long been known as the Invisible Man because of his unwillingness to engage with his constituents. When his majority was slashed in the 2017 general election he suddenly became slightly more visible and even vaguely interested in the issues that those who were entitled to vote for or against him wished to raise with ‘their’ MP.* That said, after Field assaulted Greenpeace activist Janet Barker last week and a video of the incident went viral, several media outlets still carried headlines that included the question “Who Is Mark Field?” – see The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Sun, Evening Standard, Metro, Yahoo News and The Belfast Telegraph. However, the media don’t not know this MP the way his constituents don’t know him, because his aloofness and inaccessibility has long been a talking point among us.

Until last week it seemed Field had been largely operating beneath the radar of the press during his stint as an MP. That is apart from a headline grabbing 2005/6 love affair with fellow Tory MP Liz Truss (before she was elected to Parliament) and which ended with the first wife of this self-declared upholder of traditional values and civility divorcing him. The discrepancy between Field’s words and actions are neither failings nor quirks, they are embedded in the City of London culture of greed and entitlement that the MP is more effectively wedded to than any of his spouses. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and Field’s recent violent behaviour seems like a disaster waiting to happen when you see the summary of a 28 year old article he wrote for Crossbow in a profile The Guardian ran of him immediately before he won his Cities of London and Westminster seat:

Mark Field… Key organiser in Young Conservatives who is now seen as the man who would run Mr Portillo’s campaign if he stood for the party leadership against Mr Hague after the election.

History. Educated at Reading School and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Practised as a solicitor in a City law firm before setting up his own headhunting business, employing 12 staff. He is a local councillor on neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea borough. He is a member of the Conservative Way Forward.

Views. He attacked Aids campaigns as a waste of taxpayers’ money and wanted mandatory tests for Aids. “… Many charitable trusts set up to help counter Aids in the mid-1980s became little more than a gay rights front,” he wrote in Crossbow in 1991. Later, after he campaigned for Mr Portillo to get his Kensington seat, he said that whether people are or were gay was a “non-issue” for members of the Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Association.

He is also a supporter of looser rules on MPs’ outside earnings: “If you’re earning several hundred thousand a year in the City, are you going to give it up for £47,000 a year in the Commons?” He is expected to get quick promotion – especially if Mr Portillo gets the leadership.

Website says: “We should uphold traditional values, such as individual freedom, respect for the elderly and the promotion of civility, manners and tolerance.”

Four Conservative hardliners who could win seats at the election by David Hencke, The Guardian, 2 May 2001.

None of the many news reports we looked at noted something this site has mentioned in passing: “…the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field has been a brother-in-law to Charlie Elphicke since his marriage to Victoria Elphicke a decade or so ago.”** We’d see the connection as significant in relation to this story, as we did when we signalled it, in part because of the role sister-in-law/wife Natalie Elphicke plays in the City of London bankrolled Housing and Finance Institute, and the involvement all have had in the constituency Conservative Association.*** We see Field’s abusive behaviour and the attitudes that led to it as embedded in City of London culture he is immersed in and something that should be understood in relation to older scandals such as the impropriety at a 2018 President’s Club dinner. As we’ve already said:

This was a ‘charity’ dinner at which an undercover reporter from the Financial Times recorded business ‘leaders’ groping and abusing the women serving them. For the City of London everything is a commodity to be bought and sold, and once this is understood the degrading way in which its ‘elite’ treat people can be better understood as a problem that includes the worst kinds of sexism and misogyny but that runs even deeper and broader than that.

Alongside misogyny, there is a huge problem with the false sense of entitlement that envelops those involved with the City. Despite Field assaulting a harmless Greenpeace activist at the Mansion House, official home of the Lord Mayor of London (that is the mayor for the City of London or the square mile of the financial district), at an event hosted by the head of the City of London council, most of the press coverage focused on the government connections.**** Whether the power of the square mile or the UK government is greater is something that might be argued about – if Brexit goes ahead then that might be taken as indicating the City isn’t necessarily more powerful than Parliament (but in any case the two are intertwined) – but in what is a huge insult to those who believe in democracy, when it comes to economic policies the UK government largely sings to the City’s tune rather than listening to its electorate. Moving on, in a Bloomberg Surveillance news video addressing Field’s attack on Janet Barker, current Lord Mayor Peter Estlin gave a rather poor showing in his interview.

Bloomberg Surveillance: The footage is very uncomfortable to watch should he resign?

Estlin: Look that’s not for me to say that’s for Mark to deal with and whatever processes take place there…. But the whole incident was a surprise, in one sense it was uncomfortable, but they got their message across, they achieved what they wanted to do and I kindly asked them to leave because its my personal house and I was having a dinner party.

Bloomberg Surveillance: Kindly asked is different possibly to the footage. Were people talking about it, about the incident, about the fact that it seems that it was pretty heavy handed the way that the protestor was removed.

Estlin: Look it’s a big room, I actually didn’t see the incident, I didn’t see the footage until this morning, the concentration was on a larger group of people more or less in my eye line. And in practice as I say that’s for him to deal with. I thought my staff handled it very well. Sadly we had one of my staff who was injured, so at the end of the day I’ve also got to look at the concern for them.

U.K. Minister Grabbing Protester Was `Uncomfortable’: Lord Mayor of London (Hammond Speech Overshadowed By Protest) by Bloomberg Surveillance, 21 June 21st, 2019.

Estlin may or may not have ‘kindly asked’ one or more protestor to leave, but if he couldn’t see the activist Field assaulted, it seems unlikely he asked her to go, so yet again the Lord Mayor comes across as not particularly credible. Likewise, no details are provided about the member of his staff who was allegedly injured, if he isn’t just making this up then that the injury could have come about in almost any way imaginable, such as the person concerned accidentally touching something hot or tripping over. Or are we supposed to conclude that the one person we know was acting violently on the night, Mark Field, assaulted a member of staff? The interview appears to have been edited down by Bloomberg Surveillance but regardless, Estlin comes across as fumbling and incoherent.***** The Financial Times was one of the few papers to report on additional violence directed at individuals other than Barker, but this establishment organ suggested it was meted out to Greenpeace activists rather than those representing the interests of the City or working for it:

Foreign Office minister Mark Field has been suspended by Downing Street after video footage showed him manhandling a female climate change protester who had interrupted a City of London event.

Widely shared footage taken at Thursday night’s Mansion House dinner showed Mr Field removing one of several dozen Greenpeace activists who had interrupted the event by pushing her against a column before taking hold of the back of her neck and marching her out of the room.

“Theresa May has seen the footage and found it very concerning,” said a spokesperson for the outgoing British prime minister.

Janet Barker, the Greenpeace member who was grabbed by Mr Field, told the BBC the suspended minister’s actions were “really over the top”, and that while she had expected resistance to the protest, “I didn’t expect to be grabbed by the neck.”

Other male guests at the prestigious event which included chancellor Philip Hammond’s annual speech to City grandees, also handled female protesters roughly, people who attended said.

At 9pm on Thursday evening, female Greenpeace activists dressed in red evening gowns and sashes that said “climate emergency” entered the Mansion House unhindered by security staff. The environmental group said they wanted to give a speech about climate change. Some carried rape alarms as a symbol of how they felt the environment was being violated.

When they entered the room, at least half a dozen male dinner guests other than Mr Field got up from their seats to physically apprehend them by pushing, pulling and other displays of force.

“I was blocked and taken out of the room by a man who held my arm very forcefully and twisted my skin,” said 30-year-old Londoner Hannah Martin, who works for Greenpeace and joined Thursday evening’s protest.

Another male guest, she said, took a rape alarm that “one of our group, an elderly woman” was brandishing and “held it up against her ear while it was going off”.

Mr Field’s position is now under review by both the Conservative party and the Cabinet Office’s proprietary and ethics team. “He will be suspended as a minister today whilst the investigation takes place,” the spokesperson said.

City of London police said it had received “a small number of third-party reports of allegations of an assault taking place at the [Mansion House] event”, although the reports had not come from the female protester herself…

“No Mansion House security staff helped us when we were being manhandled,” Ms Martin of Greenpeace said. “But the most shocking thing was when Mark Field smashed that woman against a pillar and grabbed her by the neck, not one guest at the dinner stood up to help her.”

…Huw van Steenis, a senior adviser to Mr Carney who attended the dinner, said: “From where I was sitting, it looked a completely peaceful protest, making a very important point.”

…Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “She posed no credible threat from what I can see. There is very little else that could justify this and anyone can see that this could have been done without physical contact. Every MP has to deal with protest and conflict; it is done with words.”

Mr Field, 54, has held several frontbench roles since he became MP for the Cities of London and Westminster in 2001, including opposition whip, shadow minister for London and shadow financial secretary to the Treasury. In 2017, with his party in government, he became minister of state for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign Office.

Conservative minister Mark Field suspended after grabbing protester by neck. Video shows Foreign Office minister ejecting woman from Mansion House dinner by Naomi Rovnick and Patrick Jenkins with additional reporting by Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 21 June 2019.

We haven’t seen footage of the other incidents reported here but we’d view the Financial Times as a more credible source of information than the City of London council, whose notorious twisting of facts and data in order to create PR propaganda for itself and the finance industry amounts to a lie machine. We wouldn’t trust ‘Lord Mayor’ Peter Estlin any further than we could throw him. Other media reports also serve to highlight the hypocrisy of those invited to the Mansion House:

Last month, Field delivered a speech at a Westminster Hall debate in which he decried violence against and intimidation of female activists across the world.

Mark Field MP (@MarkFieldUK). The UK remains committed to helping women all over the world to feel safe and protected in the work they do, so they can speak freely and be part of the change we all want. My remarks at the Westminster Hall Debate on Women Human Rights Defenders. https://t.co/fmQMtXSTgV May 9, 2019

….According to the video, the rest of the activists were forced out of the room. After they had been removed, Hammond claimed it was “ironic” they had chosen to stage the protest shortly after the government had announced its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Afterwards, Greenpeace UK countered that the Treasury had “tried to water down” the government’s action on climate change.

Mark Field urged to quit as minister after grabbing climate protester. Video shows Foreign Office minister manhandling female demonstrator by Kevin Rawlinson, The Guardian, 20 June 2019 (updated 21 June 2019).

Field, like the City of London council, might pay lip service to women’s rights but in both cases their actions speak louder than their words. Field’s male rage has been exposed for the whole world to see, and meanwhile the City of London speaks about women’s rights with as much conviction as their suspended Foreign Minster chum while steadfastly refusing to do anything about the institutional sexism that prevents women landing the top jobs at this local authority. Since its founding in 1905 more than two thirds of Lord Mayors of London have been members of the Guildhall Lodge which refuses to admit women. Despite this the council allows this branch of the Grand Lodge of England to use its premises for free, when it should be banning the organisation from its buildings until it admits women on an equal basis to men because the Guildhall Lodge exercises a huge influence over this local authority; its representation among Lord Mayors is obscenely disproportionate to the number of freemasons active in England. To date there have been 691 Lord Mayor’s of London and there have only ever been two women holders of this one-year post. This is a glass ceiling enforced in part through the exclusion of women from influential men only masonic lodges, which makes allowing them to meet on council premises an equality issue. Until this and other issues are tackled the City of London’s talk about women’s rights is simply a dodge to avoid actually putting them in place.

MarkFieldWhiteMaleRage
The ‘Right Honourable’ Mark Field MP, the face of white male rage and poster boy for patriarchal ‘traditional values’.

As for the greenwashing both the City and the government engage in, it is too little to late, as Janet Barker and her colleagues were politely pointing out we are facing a climate emergency. Likewise, despite 80% of its councillors being elected on business votes and its tiny ward electorates making vote rigging as easy as pie, the City of London still pays lip service to democracy while doing everything it can both to undermine it and maintain its own undemocratic set up. Similarly, as noted by some media outlets, Mark Field is happy to defend the right to protest in the abstract while condemning it in practice, as this piece makes clear:

Mark Field, whose suspension as a Foreign Office minister was precipitated by the emergence of video footage showing him manhandling a Greenpeace protester who was trying to peacefully draw attention to the climate crisis, has often walked a fine line between seeking to protect the right to protest and to curb its effectiveness.

…When the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations were bringing parts of London to a standstill this year, Field… stood up for the right to protest peacefully.

When it came to the actual demonstrations taking place, however, Field was more conflicted and went as far as to write to the Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick, demanding that she “take a much firmer grip” on those “protesting in this anti-social way”.

The demonstrations, he said, had gone “well beyond a good-natured exercise in free speech”. Field added that the “detrimental effect these protests are having on ordinary citizens and local business is much too great for the protesters, however well intentioned, to be allowed to carry on in such an flagrant way”.

It is a theme that has been repeated in other comments he has made in similar situations.

In an interview with Channel 4 News in 2011, during the Occupy London demonstrations outside St Paul’s Cathedral, he said he was “very proud that we have a tradition in this country of open protest. It is very much an important part of democracy.” The early Occupy demonstrations were, he said, “valid”.

Asked whether the protest was not, therefore, still valid, he said: “There is making a protest and there is having a semi-permanent encampment … There are many rights that Londoners have and tourists have to be able to get into the cathedral and to be able to walk in what is the open highway.”

Mark Field: defender of the right to protest, critic of protests. Minister has sought to blunt the effect of movements from Occupy to Extinction Rebellion by Kevin Rawlinson, The Guardian, 21 June 2019.

As should be clear to regular readers of this blog we support Occupy and Extinction Rebellion, so when Field demands crackdowns on these activists this is completely at odds with the wishes of at least some ‘ordinary citizens’ who are his constituents. Indeed, rather than having such protests curbed by the police at the request of our MP, we would like to see more Occupy and Extinction Rebellion actions in our constituency until such time as some meaningful and necessary changes to capitalism and carbon emissions are achieved.

Pippa Henslowe.

Notes.

*Field’s Invisible Man moniker and reputation finds a reflection in his director listing for M. C. Field Consulting Ltd at Companies House, where his occupation is given as ‘none’ rather than MP, which some may see as apt there are people in his constituency who feel he doesn’t do enough to earn a salary as their representative: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623082621/https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07666525/officers

**We are not the only source to note this, checking in recent days we found the information in a sidebar of the Wikipedia entry on Field. Much of the coverage of the attack on Janet Barker did not necessarily call out for mention of the family connection between Mark Field and Charlie Elphicke, but its omission certainly looked like an oversight on the part of The Lawyer when it carried the story:

Solicitor Mark Field, the Conservative Member of Parliament for London and Westminster, is under fire after footage emerged of him manhandling a female environmental protester at a formal dinner… Field trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the 1990s before running his own legal recruitment business, Kellyfield Consulting, until he was elected to Parliament in 2001. In a statement, he apologised for the incident and said he had referred himself to the Cabinet Office to “examine if there has been a breach of the ministerial code and will of course cooperate fully with their investigation”.

A series of solicitor Members of Parliament have found themselves in trouble over their behaviour in the past two years.

In late 2017 Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover and formerly a partner at Reed Smith and Hunton & Williams, had the whip suspended after he was accused of sex offences against two members of his staff. He is protesting his innocence and is subject to an ongoing investigation; the Conservative Party has restored the whip.

Then in 2018 Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, once of Eversheds and Howes Percival, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice for lying to police to avoid being prosecuted for speeding. She was expelled from the Labour Party and sentenced to three months in prison…

Ex-Freshfields solicitor becomes third lawyer-MP in two years to face action over conduct after grabbing protestor by Richard Simmons, The Lawyer, 21 June 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20190621212042/https://www.thelawyer.com/ex-freshfields-solicitor-becomes-third-lawyer-turned-mp-in-two-years-to-face-misconduct-questions/

***To provide context this is the full paragraph in which we mention this relationship: “As an aside, the HFI (Housing and Finance Institute) was set up by the Cameron–Clegg coalition government and based on a review conducted by Natalie Elphicke and Keith House; but even if the HFI originated outside the City of London’s orbit, it is now well within it. That said, even before the review that led to the HFI being set up, Natalie Elphicke and her husband Charlie had ties to the City of London including involvement in the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association. Charlie Elphicke was deputy chairman of this particular Conservative Association from 2002 to 2006. Likewise, the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field has been a brother-in-law to Charlie Elphicke since his marriage to Victoria Elphicke a decade or so ago.” Mark Boleat’s Attack On Democracy: Catherine McGuinness Must Go Too! by Pippa Henslowe, Reclaim EC1, November 5, 2017.

****Columnist Suzanne Moore did highlight the City element and made the points about patriarchy present in the writing of a number of female journalists – that were tellingly absent from the commentary of those who wanted to defend the indefensible – very lucidly:

The gut knows. The gut processes what the eye sees. A woman slammed up against a wall. A man, eyes bulging with rage, his hands on her. He pushes her out of the posh dinner, his hands gripping her neck. She is shocked. The gut twists at the familiarity. Male violence so everyday that many will have experienced it, many will have felt sick watching it – and somehow still ashamed to admit that this had happened to them too. Elsewhere, long ago, somewhere more private. No one saw.

The woman looked stunned. What could have been hidden in her red dress? Submachine guns, harpoons, ground-to-air missiles?

Philip Hammond was to make his Mansion House speech. The woman was part of a protest designed to draw attention to the climate crisis. But there is no room for protest here in the centre of power. The man, Mark Field, is the MP for Cities of London and Westminster, which includes the area presided over by the Corporation of London, the ancient centre of power and still the epicentre of business. Here the chancellor makes his speech, here decisions are made and backs are slapped. Greenpeace activists were there, shouting in red dresses, to draw attention to priorities other than profit.

Maybe Mark Field acted on impulse. I have read that he was “risking his life” and “give him a medal”. But this wasn’t Helmand, it was a posh do for city grandees, who were being momentarily inconvenienced.

The woman, the activist who was manhandled, turns out to be called Janet Barker and has been helpfully unmasked by the Daily Mail. She wasn’t wearing a mask, but never mind. She lives on a farm in rural Wales. She is a support worker and lives off-grid with 31 rabbits. She likes knitting with rabbit wool. She sounds lethal, I must say.

One of the worst things about all this – and thank god Field has now been suspended – is the reaction of the other guests. You can be a perpetrator of violence or a victim. But you can also be a bystander. The others looked on, saw what was happening and did not try to stop him. Shame on them. Shame on the whole damn lot of them.

It’s on film, just as Charles Saatchi’s hand around Nigella Lawson’s throat was caught on camera and said to be “a playful tiff”. But we saw it and we recognise such violence because we internalised this young. Marilyn French once said “As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not. The knowledge that some do suffices to threaten all women.”…

But we have seen and we know only too well that move: to silence us, to take our breath away. We have seen the shady brotherhood that will defend this in the name of some “anti-terror” alertness. We know where the terror really comes from. It is from those who sanction male violence.

The Mark Field video is chillingly familiar to anyone who recognises male violence by Suzanne Moore, The Guardian, 21 June 2019: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/mark-field-video-male-violence-minister-female-protester

*****The City of London attempt to use the event as yet another opportunity to promote its neo-liberal agenda was derailed by Field. This undemocratic local authority run by and on behalf of the finance industry issued press releases about speeches being made at the event by its Lord Mayor Peter Estlin and head of its common council Catherine McGuinness on the day of the Mansion House event.

London, 20 June 2019. Lord Mayor of the City of London, Peter Estlin, will give a speech at the Bankers and Merchants Dinner at The Mansion House tonight (20 June 2019).

…An extract from the Lord Mayor’s speech is found below. Please check against delivery.

“As Lord Mayor, promoting UK financial and professional services the scale of innovation and the range of our offer are all vital parts of the role.

As is leading business delegations on international visits, helping them expand globally. But I think we need to go further.

Yes, our financial and insurance services have the largest trade surplus, outstripping all other UK services…

And yes, our international exports stand at £78 billion pounds, making us the world’s largest net exporter in financial services. However, this is a story told in fragments.

It’s a company to company or city to city narrative, when really, we need a united effort – a country-wide voice – telling and selling our success stories to international markets and indeed ourselves!

That is why the City of London Corporation and partner organisations have built a brand-new online platform to tell that story: the story of the UK’s global offer for financial and professional services…

The new website can be accessed here: https://www.theglobalcity.uk/

https://web.archive.org/web/20190622100507/https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/lord-mayor-of-the-city-of-london-peter-estlin-will-give-a-speech-at-the-bankers-and-merchants-dinner-at-the-mansion-house-tonight-20-june-2019/

And from Catherine McGuinness:

City Corporation responds to review into future financial services regulation

In a speech at the Bankers’ and Merchants’ Dinner tonight at Mansion House, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the launch of a review into the future of financial services regulation.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s review into the future of financial services regulation and look forward to contributing the City’s views.

“The ongoing uncertainty about our relationship with the European Union is deeply concerning. We must avoid a damaging cliff-edge and create a positive foundation from which to negotiate our future relationship. But whatever the outcome of Brexit, it is right that we secure a forward-looking regulatory framework which maintains the UK’s competitive edge by enabling the sector to be innovative and dynamic. It also needs to strike a balance by continuing to deliver appropriate accountability, transparency and consumer protection.

“One of the great strengths underpinning the success of the UK financial services sector has been its world-leading regulatory framework. As we look forward, it is vital that regulation keeps pace with a fast-changing world after Brexit and beyond.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20190622100801/https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/city-corporation-responds-to-review-into-future-financial-services-regulation/

By ‘world-leading regulatory framework’ we understand McGuinness to mean one that fails to adequately protect the overwhelming majority of people from the finance industry siphoning off the bulk of world’s wealth for the benefit of the few and at the expense of the many. In other words, as little regulation as the City and the finance industry can get away with but just enough to avoid arousing too much public ire.

We should also draw attention to the speech the Greenpeace protestors were prevented from delivering due in part to the brutal assault on Janet Barker by Mark Field. This included the following:

Business as usual is no longer an option. For too long, Her Majesty’s Treasury, the City and their friends in big fossil fuel companies have stood in the way of the radical action essential to prevent climate catastrophe. Today, we say no more. Today, we call on you to finally take up the mantle of climate responsibility… The people in this room – the Treasury, the Bank of England and some of the world’s biggest banks – hold the keys to our collective future. Mr Hammond, will you and your staff continue to parrot excuses about relying on the market economy to protect us, thereby using the power of our nation’s Treasury to block the radical climate action we need to survive? We can only do this if you organise our economy to make a radical and just transition as fast as possible. Every bank executive in this room could start tomorrow to clean your client lists of dirty fossil fuel companies. Set a date. Make a pathway to zero carbon. Tell the world the direction of travel you’re setting: to climate safety. Look at this banquet. Look at each other. You are dining out while the planet burns. So are you going to act? This is a climate emergency. We have to change something. Business as usual is no longer an option. It’s time to step forward. We need you all to intervene.

Peoples climate speech by Greenpeace: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/peoples-climate-speech/

Four Conservative hardliners who could win seats at the election by David Hencke: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/may/02/uk.conservatives1

U.K. Minister Grabbing Protester Was `Uncomfortable’: Lord Mayor of London (Hammond Speech Overshadowed By Protest) by Bloomberg Surveillance: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-06-21/u-k-minister-grabbing-protester-was-uncomfortable-lord-mayor-of-london-video

Conservative minister Mark Field suspended after grabbing protester by neck. Video shows Foreign Office minister ejecting woman from Mansion House dinner by Naomi Rovnick and Patrick Jenkins: https://www.ft.com/content/97033412-93f0-11e9-b7ea-60e35ef678d2

Mark Field urged to quit as minister after grabbing climate protester. Video shows Foreign Office minister manhandling female demonstrator by Kevin Rawlinson: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/20/greenpeace-activists-target-philip-hammond-speech-in-climate-protest

Mark Field: defender of the right to protest, critic of protests. Minister has sought to blunt the effect of movements from Occupy to Extinction Rebellion by Kevin Rawlinson: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/21/mark-field-defender-of-the-right-to-protest-opponent-of-protests

While doing background research we came across the curious fact that Mark Field’s wife Victoria Field is a director of The Commercial Agency Limited (formerly Heartline Books International Limited) with romance novelist and one time Conservative Party parliamentary candidate Mary-Jo Wormell (better known to readers of Mills and Boon novels as Mary Lyons) acting as secretary. This provides further evidence of how conservative political and business interests intersect around Field and his family; as well as giving some indication of the utter fantasy world such people live in. See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623175213/https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04411169

And: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623175407/https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/KNQMvp6RsfePByQLWEnLswOM8mQ/appointments

And: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623175553/https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/EVqNVSHufkldvA4yBPTp9TYSgV4/appointments

And: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/feb/13/books.booksnews1

Shortly before posting this piece we came across the following on Dissident Voice. It is worth reading in full, and although we would point out we are not in agreement with all the author’s opinions and, for example, disagree with his positions on Gilad Atzmon, that said this has no impact on what he writes here:

Consider two much deeper issues desperately struggling to gain any traction as they are smothered by the media’s gleeful furore over the Mark Field story.

One concerns the event Mark Field attended. It was an annual dinner at Mansion House, the official residence of the mayor of the City of London. The City of London is not the Mary Poppins’ way of saying “London”. It is a tiny, secretive enclave within Britain, a state within a state located in the heart of London. Seen another way, it is a kind of British Vatican, though one that worships money alone.

It abides by its own rules, financial and criminal, creating effectively a tax-haven within the UK that cannot be policed by any of the usual watchdogs. The City of London has managed to continue unreformed from its medieval origins into the modern era for one reason alone: it is the perfect way for a wealthy elite to maintain their power and privilege by bypassing the imperfect democratic system operating outside its concrete shores, in the rest of the UK. The City of London is a deeply corrupt fiefdom inside a slightly less corrupt Britain. If the mafia were given the chance to make themselves look legit, they might create in Italy something very much like the City of London.

Those attending the dinner are drawn from either Britain’s wealth elite, or those who serve them and aspire to join them. Figures like Field, a minister in the Foreign Office, and Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, who addressed the dinner, oil some of the wheels of this exclusive club partially out in the open, through UK politics. But they oil other wheels in the shadows, through their activities in the City of London…

…many of the journalists responding to Mark Field’s attack have lost no time in using it as a way to further alienate the public from climate change activism. They have presented those prepared not simply to wait quietly for us all to be driven over the cliff-edge as a nasty, uncouth, potentially violent rabble. They have done this even as the video footage shows the women who protested at the Mansion House dinner were dressed in evening gowns and remained entirely peaceful as they sought to gain attention for the most urgent and catastrophic issue of our time.

There should be no debate that they are right, that we live in a rotten and rotting system of power that has blindly invested all its energies in perpetuating a feudal system of wealth creation for a ruling class, even as the futures of our chldren – all our children – hang in the balance.

Yes, Mark Field, his face red with indignation, looked like a man who had lost the plot, who was filled with an overwhelming sense of his own entitlement, and who was deeply threatened – not by violence from the protesters but by arguments he simply has no way of addressing rationally.

The real debate we need urgently to engage with is not whether Mark Field is a wife-beater or misogynist. It is how we deal with the power structure he represents, the system he is a loyal servant of. For that psychopathic system is ready to beat us all, men and women alike, into the dust, to keep extracting the last ounce of wealth from a dying corpse, to obliterate our futures.

Mark Field and the Danger of Getting Sidetracked by Jonathan Cook, Dissident Voice, 22 June 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623211124/https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/06/mark-field-and-the-danger-of-getting-sidetracked/

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