Given that the electorate in many City of London wards only runs to a few hundred business votes with residential voters often hovering somewhere around the single figure mark, the opportunities for insiders to manipulate the system are extensive. With such an absurdly small electoral franchise it is difficult for those who aren’t insiders to find five people to nominate them so that they can stand for election. In business vote wards such as the one in which Michael Mainelli was just re-elected unopposed, the voting process is stitched up, having been loaded in such a way so as to make it extremely difficult for those who aren’t of a right-wing and neo-liberal political persuasion to even be able to stand, let alone win an election. Broad Street is too small an area and doesn’t have enough residents to justify it electing a single councillor on its own, let alone the 4 it currently has!
A story in various media outlets suggests Muyeba Chikonde, Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has foolishly accepted the Freedom of the City of London. The unsavoury character of some of those given the Freedom of the City has been noted in one of our previous posts, so Muyeba Chikonde now finds himself in the company of paedophiles and disgraced politicians. The coverage we’ve seen in the Zambian media suggests the story is based on a press release issued by the Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom. However Google search results label some of this coverage ‘satire’. While getting the Freedom of the City of London is a joke, we think it likely Chikonde really did receive this ‘award’ on Monday 10 December 2018.Read more "Muyeba Chikonde’s Freedom of the City of London ‘Award’ Is A Joke"
Leaders at the City of London Corporation have been criticised after the prestigious Mansion House was used to honour the “humanitarian” work of the wife of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has thrown thousands of his own people in jail. Emine Erdoğan was given an award by the Global Donors Forum at the prestigious venue “in recognition of her humanitarian service”. Her husband’s regime in Turkey is seen by many as brutal and dictatorial, increasingly run by a clique of his close family and friends.Read more "Alison Gowman, Emine Erdogan & The City of London’s Vested Interests"
It will have surprised no one that William Russell has been ‘re-elected’ as alderman for Bread Street unopposed since the entire City of London electoral system is rigged. Russell stepped down from his role as Aldermanic Sheriff last September and in due course looks all set to be the fifth member of his family to be elected Lord Mayor of London in just over 100 years. Russell’s rise through the ranks of the City of London council demonstrates how roles within this local authority are stitched up through a combination of a ridiculously small electorate, the undemocratic business vote system and an old boy network.Read more "Re-Election of William Russell in Bread Street A Farce"
If City of London councillor Matthew Richardson’s mysterious Christ Freedom Trust entry on his register of interests is a misrendering of True Freedom Trust, then this may deepen our understanding of the ideological motivations behind his 2010 transphobic speech as reported by UK media, as well as his friendship and apparent flat sharing with fellow City councillor and LGBT activist Edward Lord. That said we’re not currently in a position to know one way or another what Richardson’s Christ Freedom Trust entry on his non-pecuniary interests actually represents.Read more "Matthew Richardson’s Register of Interests"
Until the City of London is democratically reformed with the abolition of business votes and a reduction in the number of its councillors to a level commensurate with its residential electorate, its political system will provide an attractive target for those inclined to manipulate voting systems and seeking an easy route to power and influence. We will continue to keep an eye on upcoming City of London elections. Later this year Matthew Richardson is scheduled to step down as Billingsgate alderman. An election in that ward might well be of wider interest than the alderman contests we’ve reported in recent posts.Read more "Sue Langley, Aldermen & The City of London’s Rotten Political System"
This week’s alderman election in the Ward of Cheap highlights what’s wrong with the City of London election system, since for a grand total of 12 residents and 467 voters there is an alderman and 3 common councillors (4 councillors in total). That’s a councillor for roughly every 117 voters, and if we take away those with undemocratic business votes who also get to vote for someone else wherever they live, one councillor for every 3 residential voters! The minuscule voter numbers are absurd and the entire system inevitably leads to unfairness. Consider, for example, the need to get 5 people entitled to vote within the ward to nominate anyone who wishes to stand as a candidate in council elections. Anyone with views at odds with the finance industry is unlikely to find 5 people on the register of voters in business vote dominated wards who would nominate them.Read more "City of London Alderman Elections Absurd & Obscene"