Following our coverage earlier this year of the City of London website being off-line over and after the May bank holiday – and according to rumour due to a cyber attack – it’s interesting to see the business press today reporting the massive scale of such attacks on this rotten borough. Current coverage stresses this as a danger to residents while perhaps unconsciously implying links between our local authority’s peculiar and undemocratic role in international finance and an even greater criminal threat to locals than is found elsewhere in London and across the UK, by invoking attacks on the European Central Bank. While all councils are subject to cyber attacks, it seems that the City of London is a more inviting target because of its status as perhaps the richest neo-liberal lobbyist in the world. In the interest not just of democratic accountability but also of everyone’s safety – and especially that of residents – the City’s business vote system needs to be abolished and its neo-liberal lobbying stopped once and for all. The business vote system prevents local residents having a democratic say in how their local authority is run, and ensures instead that power lies in the hands of the finance and legal industries – who chose to run the council for the benefit of global corporations and the global super rich and against the interests of both the overwhelming majority of those who actually live in the City and billions worldwide.
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.Read more "Andrew Parmley’s Uncontested Re-Election & Other Affronts To Democracy In The City of London"
Disquiet over how the City of London council is able to operate because it is 80% elected on the business votes of non-residents and thus requires no democratic mandate from local people on anything it does, continues to rise. As Graeme Harrower notes, this is not an issue that is going to go away, and in our view not until there is democratic reform of this local authority. The range of voices speaking out against the business vote system does demonstrate that this is a burning issue with regard to democracy and not a party political matter.Read more "Graeme Harrower & City of London Residents Turn Their Fire On The Business Vote System"
City residents will have recently had a copy of the June issue of City View: The Magazine of the City of London Corporation drop through their letterbox. The whole of page 3 is dedicated to the proposal/done deal to relocate three ‘historic’ markets to a new site in Dagenham. Funds are being raised for this move and other projects on the basis it is a done deal, while at the same time City residents and other stakeholders are told this ‘proposal’ is the City’s preferred option and they are being consulted about it. This, like all City consultations is a PR exercise in rubber-stamping a decision that has already been made.Read more "City of London ‘Consultations’ Are A Sham Designed To Rubber Stamp Decisions That Have Already Been Made"
If the City of London and its spokespeople wished to be taken seriously by those it fails to serve and in particular the many Cripplegate ward residents who signed the petition calling for reform of its Standards Committee, then they would have addressed the issues that led to this blog being started – potential conflicts of interest – instead of brushing them off. In the same manner and with the same disdain, this utterly undemocratic local authority brushes off the gagging of councillors who attempt to represent the views of local people as ‘justified’ by rules that apparently don’t apply to the majority in its chambers who speak on behalf of the finance and legal industries.Read more "City of London Gives Its Residents The Finger In Ongoing Gagging Row"
Earlier this month parts of the right-wing local and national press in the UK – Daily Mail, Times, City AM – covered Westminster’s criticism of the City of London banning a Taiwanese float from the Lord Mayor’s show. It goes without saying that these media outlets didn’t link the lack of democracy in the City – a local council elected on business votes rather than democratically controlled by local residents – and the authoritarian political system in China. Banning the Taiwanese float isn’t – as the right-wing media would have you believe – simply a matter of the City being greedy for Chinese money. The political system in the City of London is out of step with all other local authorities in the UK, but very much in step with authoritarian regimes around the world. Thus the City shares with China and others a desire to strangle local democracy anywhere it exists.Read more "Taiwan Banned From Neo-Liberal Lord Mayor’s Show As City of London & Chinese Authoritarianism Link Up"
The message below was circulated by email earlier today and is reproduced without permission – although we hope Sue Pearson will be happy for us to reuse it. We have covered the City of London council’s attempted intimidation and gagging of Sue Pearson before. She needs support as part of the ongoing fight for democracy in this rotten borough; a fight which also entails abolishing the City of London’s feudal business vote and other reforms that include a reduction to the number of councillors in this local authority area to match the number of residential voters (to place it on a par with other London boroughs).Read more "Sue Pearson Fights City’s Anti-Democratic Gagging Of Residents’ Views"