Abolition would actually be the best way to deal with the City of London, but even if that does not happen the business vote must be abolished and the number of councillors reduced in line with councillor-resident ratios in the rest of London. Around two councillors, down from 125 (100 common councillors plus 25 aldermen), would make things proportionate – although two councillors does not really justify the existence of a City of London council. On the basis of the figures Rogers reproduces in his report it is clear that City of London councillors need only a handful of votes to get elected and even Rogers admits the system can be easily manipulated by small cliques. This isn’t democracy, it is a sham and the reason why the City of London has quite rightly acquired the nickname the last rotten borough.Read more "Rogers Report On City Governance Says Our Council is ‘Sclerotic’, We’d Call It Toxic"
In a tweet about BLM protestors in Bristol (UK) taking a statue of slave trader Edward Colston from its plinth and throwing it in a river, influential City of London councillor Tim Hailes bleats: “Violence is not the answer.” In such a context violence would more usually be used describe behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone, or some other living thing. But as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Hailes wishes to conflate attacks on property – in this case a statue – with attacks on people, hence his rhetorical use of the term violence. It says a lot about Hailes’s biases that he would deploy violence in this way but apparently not to describe the murder of millions in the black holocaust of the transatlantic slave trade.Read more "Tim Hailes And Unconscious Bias At The City of London Council"
At its most recent meeting, the City of London council passed a motion which welcomed Hong Kong residents pursuant to the British Government’s offer to them of extended resident rights in the UK, and criticised China’s imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong. Will the Lord Mayor and Chair of Policy and Resources respect the will of the council by ceasing to deal with China in a way that avoids criticising it for human rights abuses? As part of that new approach, will they take the lead in reversing the decision to exclude Taiwan from the Lord Mayor’s Show, which was made on political grounds to appease the People’s Republic of China?Read more "The City of London Council Motion On Hong Kong"
More than a year ago we posted a blog entitled City of London ‘Consultations’ Are A Sham Designed To Rubber Stamp Decisions That Have Already Been Made. Our experience of City of London consultations has consistently been dispiriting and disappointing, something that will surprise no one who understands that this council is not just undemocratic but that it actively seeks to undermine democracy beyond its own local authority boundaries. Last week the City of London launched a consultation exercise on historic landmarks and the way it is framed and has been publicised indicates it will be as much of a sham as previous consultations.Read more "On The City Of London Historic Landmarks Consultation"
None of the stories we’ve seen about the Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School changing its name mentioned whether Robert Robinson’s seventeenth-century racist panel paintings that are housed in the school building will be taken away. We reproduced Madge Dessers’s critique of these pictures towards the end of a piece we posted in June. We also noted in a number of recent posts that top City of London council officials – including current lord mayor William Russell – have posed in front of these racist images for photo ops when attending the annual celebration of slave trader John Cass. We would hope that there are plans in place to remove Robinson’s racist paintings from the school but given the past form of those involved we wouldn’t assume this to be the case until we see a statement from them saying so. Likewise we’d hope the huge red feather – the symbol of John Cass – has been or will be removed from the outer wall of the school, but again none of the news reports we’ve seen mention it.Read more "City School Ditches John Cass Slaver Name, Its Racist Paintings Must Go Too!"
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.Read more "The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1"
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.Read more "City Of London’s Culture Mile & Submission Of Markets Plan"
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.Read more "City Construction & Lockdown Again"
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.Read more "COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City"
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”.Read more "City of London’s Education Fail"