The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1

When discussing English slave trading the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company are key reference points and both have deep roots in the City of London. Many of the individuals implicated in the black holocaust through their involvement in these two slave trading entities also played key roles in local government in the City of London including as lord mayors, sheriffs and members of livery companies. Some of these slave traders are still memorialised in the City of London. Memorials tend to erase the complexities of history through simple celebration, which is why their removal from public spaces generally enhances historical understanding. That said, the undemocratic and still in many ways feudal local government machinery of the City of London is also in its contemporary form a product of the slave trade and it is more important that this is dismantled than that statues are removed and streets get renamed. It would, however, be ideal if both the governance of the City was democratically reformed and its problematic memorials removed.

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Remove The Racist Sculpture From Inner Temple Gardens, City of London

There are many monuments in the City of London that should be looked into as regards racism and with this post we will highlight a handful of them. One piece of public art that should be speedily removed and put into storage is an early eighteenth-century statue of a crouching young black man holding up a sundial in the Inner Temple Gardens. Two different Inner Temple websites make it clear that those caring for the gardens and the sculpture ought to know it is racist. The Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All barristers must belong to one of them. The Inner Temple is situated on the south-west side of the City of London.

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City Of London’s Culture Mile & Submission Of Markets Plan

Moving wholesale markets to the edge of the city is sensible and is to be welcomed, as is the use of some of the freed up land for housing; as long as this doesn’t turn out to be luxury ghost homes for investors. That said, the City has already made it clear it wants to use Smithfield and the site of the Museum of London (if it is vacated) for vanity Culture Mile projects rather than housing. We don’t want a dead culture pitched to the victims of an unsustainable tourist industry. None of the exciting new cultural developments – such as grime – that have emerged from London in recent decades were funded by artwashing out-of-touch ‘patrons’ such as the City of London. Rather they grew from the very communities the Culture Mile will effectively exclude. Building council flats to sustain social diversity would do a lot more for culture in London than the Culture Mile will ever achieve.

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Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken & The Property Speculator Elite

In recent months we’ve noticed grumbles on Barbican Talk about new Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken that resemble the complaints we heard about her predecessor Mark Field for years. Today Aiken put out a statement about the top government advisor Dominic Cummings. From what we’ve seen on Twitter, Aiken’s statement on this matter hasn’t gone down well with her constituents. So this is likely to overshadow Aiken’s truly loopy interview with City of London council boss Catherine McGuinness in which the latter claims sandwich shops make the square mile ‘exciting’….

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City Construction & Lockdown Again

Although it is the COLPAI construction work to the north of Golden Lane Estate that we’ve given attention to in some recent posts, the ongoing work on Taylor Wimpey’s luxury investment flats The Denizen to the south is also making life difficult for those stuck at home during the current pandemic. Two days ago councillor Sue Pearson posted a statement she’d obtained from our local authority about government sanctioned extended working hours for construction sites to the GLERA website. The statement is probably more reassuring to Golden Lane Estate and Barbican residents suffering from the noise of work on The Denizen that operating hours there appear unlikely to be extended, than it is to Golden Lane Estate residents suffering intolerable stress from COLPAI construction during lockdown. Unlike The Denizen, whose entire site is within the City of London, the COLPAI project straddles the City/Islington border and so our local authority may try to pass the buck on decisions about working hours at the site to our neighbouring council, just as they attempted to do with the original COLPAI planning permission.

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COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City

The failure to suspend construction work on the City of London’s COLPAI project during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown has generated enormous anger among residents of this local authority’s Golden Lane Estate. This is hardly surprising given these residents found themselves stuck at home a few metres from non-essential but ongoing noisy building work. Critical blogs on the subject by local councillors Sue Pearson and Graeme Harrower have been avidly read. Some of the comments beneath them are heart wrenching, such as one written by the father of a sick child undergoing treatment for cancer. This entire family must remain in isolation due to the high risk the pandemic poses to its youngest child. while the mega-rich City of London council turns a deaf ear on their plight.

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Abolish The Business Vote & Solve City Election ‘Conundrum’ At A Stroke!

The Covid 19 lockdown is causing a variety of elections to be held up and My London News reports this has caused a conundrum for the City of London, since its delayed common council elections may clash with the put back Greater London Assembly elections. As might be surmised from the My London News piece, 80% of City of London councillors are elected on undemocratic business votes given to bankers and lawyers who work in the City but who don’t actually live here. This feudal voting system is crying out for reform and if business votes were abolished there would be no need for City of London elections that clash with GLA elections – because City resident voters only exist in sufficient number to make up a small ward within another local authority. There is only an election conundrum now because of the out-dated political system in the City; modernise by incorporating the square mile into a neighbouring local authority (or two or more)  and the difficulty no longer arises!

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The Corporation Giving £30 Million From City’s Cash To The NHS Is The Best Way To Honour Captain Tom Moore

Our local council has decided to ‘honour’ Captain Tom Moore with a Freedom of the City of London ‘award’. The Freedom is hardly an ‘honour’ given that paedophiles like Hubert Chesshyre and Keith Harding have also received this ‘award’, not to mention disgraced politicians like Ian Paisley Junior. In the long run the best way to fund the NHS is through ending the tax breaks and tax avoidance schemes for corporations and the wealthy which the City of London council lobbies for under the guise of neo-liberal ‘light regulation’. In the short term if the Corporation really wants to pay tribute to Captain Tom Moore then it should match his charity raising feat and donate £30 million to the NHS from its sovereign wealth fund City’s Cash. It could easily afford to do this. Instead the City prefers cheap publicity from doling out its dubious ‘honours’.

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City of London’s Education Fail

In just the first six months of this academic year, the number of fixed-term exclusions at City of London Academy Islington (COLAI) was 584 per cent up on the whole of 2018-19. The Prebend Street academy, which is sponsored by City of London Corporation and City University of London, issued 171 fixed-term exclusions by the end of February. An Islington National Education Union spokesperson said the fixed-term exclusion figures “ring alarm bells and warrant investigation”.

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City of London Shows Contempt For Its Residents & Democracy With Covid-19 ‘Civic Leadership’ Claims

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.

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