Like many members of the City of London council, ‘alderman’ Vincent Keaveny clearly finds it politic to make the right noises about diversity but at the same time his actions not only speak louder than his words, they also tend to contradict them. For example, on 6 February 2019 in his then role as City of London aldermanic sheriff, Keaveny attended the annual Founder’s Day celebration of slave trader John Cass. By way of contrast, Keaveny also tweets reasonably frequently about diversity. He tweeted on 30 June this year about a Power of Inclusion webinar featuring lord mayor William Russell and stating: “Difficult questions already flagged up.” However the difficult questions didn’t seem to include why almost every City of London lord mayor and most sheriffs – including both Russell and Keaveny – have for hundreds of years attended the annual celebration of slave trader John Cass.Read more "Vincent Keaveny & The City Of London’s Instrumentalisation of ‘Diversity’"
David Graves, the alderman (a councillor) for Cripplegate Ward reached the end of his six year term of office on 17 June 2020. The archaic conventions that govern this archaic public office require that upon the expiry of the term of office of an alderman, he or she submits a “letter of surrender“ to the lord mayor. When asked, Alderman Graves explained he had not submitted his “letter of surrender“ because: “given the current CV-19 concerns and limitations, I decided that to trigger a 42 day electoral process now would be inappropriate and unsuitable for the good conduct of a fair election.” But his submitting a “letter of surrender“ would not have triggered the 42 day electoral process. The letter would first need to be “received” by the Court of Aldermen. The Covid crisis is one of the few situations imaginable in which the Court could justifiably defer the start of the electoral process – but for no longer than necessary. Should not the time at which the electoral process starts be a matter for the Court of Aldermen to decide, rather than the alderman whose term of office has expired and who seeks re-election?Read more "Cripplegate Councillor David Graves Unilaterally Extends His Own Term Of Office"
Given the longstanding involvement of City of London lord mayors and sheriffs in the celebration of slave trader John Cass under the guise of Founder’s Day, we do not think it is enough to replace the current holders of those offices with other people. Rather the archaic and undemocratic posts of lord mayor, sheriff and alderman should be abolished, alongside the undemocratic business vote system that is emblematic of the City of London being the last rotten borough in England. Cass himself was an alderman and sheriff and after several hundred years in which he has been celebrated by those who currently hold these same offices, it is high time the posts were scrapped.Read more "Lord Mayor of London William Russell Caught Red Handed Celebrating Slave Trader John Cass"
Reclaim EC1 took a trip to Jewery Street yesterday to check whether or not the statue of John Cass was still in place above the entrance to the foundation that bears his name. We were pleased to see the statue was gone. Somehow we are not surprised Sir John Cass’s Foundation did not announce the removal of the statue on or before 18 July 2020. The foundation has not been transparent about its history and has recently removed a number of its web pages. Likewise the foundation now enforces strict control over access to its paper archives, whereas until three years ago researchers could see these records without undergoing a screening and vetting process.Read more "Statue of Slave Trader & City Grandee John Cass Gone From Jewry Street"
It was announced yesterday that William Russell’s term as Lord Mayor of the City of London will be doubled to provide ‘continuity’ and ‘civic leadership’ through the current pandemic. Civic is usually understood to mean relating to a city or municipality, whereas Russell’s Covid-19 statements are mostly about the global financial industry. Russell is the fifth member of his family to hold the top council job of Lord Mayor in just over 100 years, this nepotism will be compounded when he gets his second term. As we’ve already reported, the ‘election’ in which he gained office was rigged and the one that will allow him to remain in post will be too.Read more "City of London Shows Contempt For Its Residents & Democracy With Covid-19 ‘Civic Leadership’ Claims"
An unnamed spokesperson for the City Corporation was quoted as saying that “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers to any member of the community standing for the elected office of Lord Mayor”.The word “elected” was added before “office of Lord Mayor” presumably to “enhance” the impression of democracy, but there is nothing democratic about the Lord Mayor’s election. The Corporation’s website specifies that a candidate for Lord Mayor should “have a significant track record and be recognised as a leader in their field” (typically in the financial City) and “have an extensive network”. Here’s a translation into truth of the sentence in the press release, with added words: “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers except status and connections to any member of the community standing for the undemocratically elected office of Lord Mayor.” The press release proves the equation that PR + HR = nonsense. It also proves that adapting a feudal system of local government to the modern world is impossible. It’s time for the Corporation to be disaggregated.Read more "Graeme Harrower On The City Tinkering With The Rigged ‘Election’ Process To Become Lord Mayor of London"
Peter Estlin’s declaration of hospitality for the first half of his period in office as Lord Mayor of London shows how most of what he did was plod around City of London institutions for dinners. Hardly something that is needed since these are already closely connected and are seen by many as rebuttressing the square mile’s old boy’s club attitudes and lack of diversity. Nonetheless, given that Estlin does not include freemasonry among his non-pecuniary interests in his declaration of interests as a councillor, to us it appears odd that he lists a meeting and dinner of the Guildhall Lodge on 6 March 2019 in his declaration of hospitality. As we’ve stated before, members of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 are massively over-represented in the top post of Lord Mayor of London at the City of London council, and get to meet for free in council premises despite the way this reinforces a glass ceiling in this local authority, with only two women having ever been Lord Mayor. Estlin himself could perhaps explain to us why he attended a Guildhall Lodge meeting when he is apparently not a mason.Read more "Peter Estlin’s Hospitality Declaration As Lord Mayor Illustrates This City Office Is Redundant"
Taken out of the broader context of their City of London political activities and affiliations, the arguments Tim Hailes and Edward Lord make for equality appear very reasonable; closer examination shows they’re pushing an agenda of paying lip service to diversity and making concessions that are hard to avoid, while attempting to preserve a patriarchal status quo whose main interest is defending the privileges of a super-rich elite. Both appear incapable of pushing beyond their current agendas to a more inclusive vision of equality that is critical of male privilege and class privilege in all their forms – including men only masonry.Read more "Tim Hailes, Edward Lord & The City Of London’s Twisting On Equality & Diversity"
What the Lord Mayor of London does is front neo-liberal lobbying efforts to funnel the world’s wealth to a tiny super-rich elite, the fact that nearly all Lord Mayor’s are honoured for this isn’t the real issue, the post itself needs to be abolished alongside other rotten borough practices including business votes.Read more "Knighthood For Former Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin Is A Joke"
Lord Mayors are chosen in private sessions that are conducted by Guildhall heavyweights. Some members of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Alderman believe the current process inhibits diverse candidates from being selected. In nearly 800 years there have been only two female Lord Mayors.Read more "City of London Nervous The Public Is Learning How Lord Mayors Like William Russell Are Elected"