The fact that City of London is the last rotten borough in England has been demonstrated once again, this time by former lord mayor ‘Sir’ Andrew Parmley being the only candidate in the current aldermanic election for Vintry ward, which he will continue to represent. Given the miniscule electorate in this undemocratic business vote ward it is almost impossible for non-establishment figures to get nominated, let alone elected. Parmley, of course, is very much an establishment figure and in common with more than two thirds of lord mayor’s over the past 114 years belongs to the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons (founded in 1905). With its members massively over-represented in top jobs at the City of London council, this men only masonic lodge – number 3116 – is nonetheless allowed to meet for free on City of London premises despite the matter being a glass ceiling issue: only two women have ever held the post of lord mayor, which has long been monopolised by ‘fraternity’ 3116.
Another former lord mayor, Charles Bowman, is also re-standing unopposed for election to the court of aldermen this August, for Lime Street ward. The fact that two former lord mayors are able to obtain uncontested re-elections as aldermen at the same time tells you all you need to know about the lack of democracy in the City of London and why it’s essential the electoral system in this rotten borough is reformed. To add insult to injury, unlike most politicians in the UK, City aldermen set the date of their re-election themselves and no doubt Bowman and Parmley picked 7 August in the hope few people would notice an undemocratic lack of hustings at the height of the summer holiday season. Bowman’s big campaign as lord mayor was the ‘business of trust’, and ever since there’s been little but criticism of the magic circle of big accountancy firms for whom he worked as a top bean counter – alongside demands for their reform (something that is needed almost as badly as democratic reform of the City of London).
Elsewhere in the common council election for Farringdon Within, ‘independent’ John Edwards won with 85 votes, although he actually drew with ‘independent’ Virginia Rounding who got 84 votes. The official election results explain: “An equality of votes existed between two candidates. The Returning Officer drew lots to determine how to cast the deciding vote.” It’s more than unfortunate when equal opportunities are such an issue at the City of London council that the returning officer’s casting vote should go against the female candidate. It is also absurd that the Farringdon Within ward electorate is so small that the winning candidate should only receive 84 votes (or 85 when the deciding vote is added). If the electorate was larger it is unlikely there would be a need for a deciding vote. Again this demonstrates the need for democratic reform of the electoral system in the City of London.
There will be a common council election in Coleman Street on Monday, that is 30 July 2019.
The header shows Andrew Parmley in a photo that originally also featured the head of the United Grand Lodge of Freemansons, Edward Windsor, Grand Gardener of England.
Notice of forthcoming elections in City of London: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727115849/https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/voting-elections/Pages/forthcoming-elections.aspx
Andrew Parmley as the only candidate for the Vintry ward election to the court of aldermen on 7 August 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727120938/https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/voting-elections/Documents/vintry-statement-of-persons-nominated.pdf
Andrew Parmley register of interests at City of London council website, showing membership of the Guildhall Lodge of Freemasons: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727121621/http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgDeclarationSubmission.aspx?UID=404&HID=2320&FID=0&HPID=509487621
Andrew Parmley sits next to new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet in 2017. Kuwaiti career diplomat and current UK ambassador Khaled Al Duwaisan is giving what was allegedly an ‘entertaining’ speech. Addressing the upcoming Brexit talks, ‘guest of honour’, then Foreign Secretary and now PM Boris Johnson, lied through his teeth when he told guests: “Though I have no doubt that the negotiations will be tough and some plaster may fall off the ceiling, I am also sure that Theresa May can pull it off, and usher in a new era of free trade deals.”
Andrew Parmley as outgoing lord mayor, current leader of the opposition in the UK Parliament Jeremy Corbyn and head of the City of London court of common council Catherine McGuinness, all beaming together in October 2017. Also in the photo are local headteacher Nicole Haynes and Islington school student Winta Yoseph.
Charles Bowman as the only candidate for the Lime Street ward election to the court of aldermen on 7 August 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727120542/https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/voting-elections/Documents/lime-street-statement-of-persons-nominated.pdf
Farringdon Within common council election 24 July 2019 results: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727120123/https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/voting-elections/Documents/notice-of-persons-elected-farringdon-within.pdf
Coleman Street common council election 30 July 2019 list of candidates: https://web.archive.org/web/20190727120343/https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/voting-elections/Documents/coleman-street-statement-of-persons-nominated.pdf