Sue Langley, Aldermen & The City of London’s Rotten Political System

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.

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Bank Of England & Billy Bragg, A Marriage Made In Heaven?

“Democracy is not enough. We need to hold corporations to account,” says Billy Bragg. While democracy may or may not be enough, contra Bragg, in the City of London –where the Bank of England is located and Bragg is set to deliver a speech on accountability – democracy would make a huge difference not just to the residents of this rotten borough, but the entire world. It isn’t clear whether Bragg doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the 80% of City of London councillors are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and that local residents have virtually no say in the running of the area. Bragg implies we already have democracy when we don’t. It’s also significant that the rotten borough Bragg’s being feted in is the power base from which the finance industry plots its course of state capture and tax havenry around the world. Establishing democracy in the City of London by – among other things – abolishing the business vote, would do much to curb the unchecked power of the wealthy elite’s financial lobby.

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We Demand Votes For The Dead In The City of London!

The City of London is the only local authority in the UK to retain the business vote, and this gives the dead hand of finance control of the council while simultaneously depriving local residents of a proper democratic voice. If non-residents can vote in the City of London why not let the dead vote too? Of course, the potential number of dead voters is far larger than those who get the business vote, but that will make the contest fairer since there is nothing just about non-residents being able to vote.

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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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Charles Bowman Wants You To Trust The City!

The new Lord Mayor of London is Charles Bowman and he’s been saying repeatedly he wants the public to trust the City. If Bowman is serious about making public trust his priority while he’s the Lord Mayor, he should be reforming the undemocratic and anachronistic political system in the City of London. He could start by abolishing the business vote and the office of alderman, he is after all the first among equals in the latter. He also needs to address the question of vested interests and make sure firms like Keepmoat who have (or have recently had) top management sitting on the City of London council, aren’t given contracts by this local authority. Bowman needs to ‘Keep Keepmoat Out Of The City’.

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Chris Hayward: Clockwork Tory

The skyscrapers Hayward wants to see built aren’t simply office space; they are as Alex Simpson observed in an article published on City Metric earlier this year ‘a monument to the city’s worship of finance’. As Simpson notes, developers are sometimes over ambitious and some projects fail. After funding dried up, The Pinnacle was left as a partially built shell and became known as The Stump. Perhaps Hayward is dreaming that the redevelopment of The Stump as 22 Bishopsgate might in some way parallel his future political career no matter how unlikely this seems. On his City website Hayward boasts of 30 years experience in local government and stresses that the last four were as a councillor for the utterly undemocratic business vote ward of Broad Street. Hayward has been forced to scale down his political ambitions from being an MP to being one of a tiny group of councillors ‘elected’ on no votes whatsoever; and it seems that the only way to get Hayward to scale down his support for overdevelopment in the form of schemes like Gerrymander Mansions is to smash the rotten City of London political culture in which he’s enmeshed.

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