The City of London has never been embarrassed to disproportionately over-represent not just men but freemasons in its top posts, so it came as little surprise when the council’s website announced on 24 June 2019 that lodge members Chris Hayward and Michael Mainelli had been elected City of London sheriffs. The post of sheriff is one down from Lord Mayor and to get that top job one must first be a aldermanic sheriff, the post won by Mainelli, who as we have already discussed is a member of the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons like more than two-thirds of Lord Mayor’s of London since this organisation was established in 1905. Given such a massive over-representation of freemasons in top posts at the City of London, the fact the men only Guildhall Lodge and others are allow to meet for free and/or at subsidised rates on council premises is an equality issue, as we’ve discussed in numerous previous posts, since these ‘fraternities’ play a key role in maintaining a glass ceiling at the City of London council that prevents women getting a shot at top roles.
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!Read more "Michael Mainelli’s Broad Street Re-Election A Farce!"
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.Read more "Chris Hayward: Clockwork Tory"
The City of London has an entirely different system of local government to the rest of the UK; and one that is completely undemocratic. This is unfair to the residents of the borough and requires immediate rectification. The decision of the Corporation’s Planning Committee to approve the demolition of the architecturally significant Bernard Morgan House, and to allow Taylor Wimpey to build an over-scaled luxury apartment block on the site is indicative of all that’s wrong with this council. We have addressed potential conflict of interest issues and the vote rigging implications of this decision elsewhere. What we wish to underline here is that neither the Planning Committee nor the council has a mandate from local people and therefore their decisions are illegitimate. The City of London is the only place in the UK to retain the business vote, and there are roughly twice as many of these as residential votes. The ward boundaries and Alderman system also favour big business over people.Read more "The Corporation of London rules by plutocratic diktat!"