The City of London, Hong Kong & China

It comes as no surprise to find the City of London silently backing China as the latter cracks down on democracy in the former British colony. After all the City of London council is a grotesquely undemocratic institution. Therefore it’s good to see Graeme Harrower criticising the Corporation’s silence on this matter and suggesting the City should be welcoming to Hong Kongers and  asylum seekers. While we hope pro-democracy activists win their fight in Hong Kong, in case they suffer setbacks we should indeed be preparing to welcome them here.

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Will Robert Rogers’ Probe Into The City of London’s Corporate Governance Be A Joke?

The Telegraph reported today that the City of London Corporation has launched a review into how it is run following a string of controversies. The investigation is to be led by Robert Rogers AKA Lord Lisvane, hardly an independent figure since he is a City insider who belongs to The Worshipful Company of Skinners, and as such is entitled to vote on who is ‘elected’ lord mayor and as sheriffs at the council’s third chamber common hall. This rather leads us to suspect he may end up whitewashing matters such as the business vote and the need to abolish the role of lord mayor… however we’ll withhold judgement until we see what sort of review he produces. That said, he is not a figure who immediately inspires confidence since he is not independent. Given that the City of London is patently unfair, unaccountable and lacks transparency, the following assertion which The Telegraph attributes to a Corporation spokesperson in relation to this probe is particularly ominous: “We are beginning a review examining the City Corporation’s governance arrangements to ensure they are efficient, fair, transparent and accountable.”

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City of London Rolls Out The Red Carpet For Reactionaries As Liu Xiaoming & Mike Pence Are Feted At The Guildhall

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has pulled out of a dinner in the Square Mile designed to foster relations between London and China. The City of London Corporation is holding the event at The Guildhall on 3 September. It will be attended by China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, the Corporation’s policy chief Catherine McGuinness and lord mayor Peter Estlin. Carney says he pulled out due to a diary clash rather than in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The US vice president and notorious bigot Mike Pence will speak at a black tie dinner, hosted by the City of London Corporation, at The Guildhall on 5 September. The City of London Lie Machine pumps out propaganda claiming the Corporation supports LGBT rights but its actions speak louder than its words….

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Taiwan Banned From Neo-Liberal Lord Mayor’s Show As City of London & Chinese Authoritarianism Link Up

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.

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Catherine McGuinness & The Wrecking Ball Smashing Democracy

The London based architectural firm that designed the new Beijing international airport is headed by Patrik Schumacher, whose controversial calls for the scrapping of planning restrictions and planning regulations neatly chime with those of Mark Boleat and his colleagues at both the City of London and the Housing & Finance Institute. When it comes to housing and much else, the ideology of the Chinese authorities and the City of London are often hard to differentiate. And this is simply one of many reasons why we must fight against them. Hong Kong-Beijing-City of London, one struggle for democracy!

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