The Crossrail Art Foundation & City of London Artwashing

We call on all those involved in the culture industry and more specifically those commissioned by or involved in commissioning for The Crossrail Art Foundation to boycott this organisation and any work it manages to install on the ‘Elizabeth Line’. Beneficiaries of these commissions and commissioning agencies currently include Spencer Finch, Darren Almond, Richard Wright, Douglas Gordon, Simon Periton, Yayoi Kusama, Conrad Shawcross, Michal Rovner, Chantal Joffe, FutureCity, Lisson Gallery, White Cube, Sadie Coles HQ, Victoria Miro, Whitechapel Gallery and PACE. To what extent these individuals and art organisations were aware of the nefarious activities of the City of London when they involved themselves with the Crossrail Art Foundation is unclear, but once they’re alerted to what’s going on unless they actively support the City of London’s anti-democratic agenda we would expect them to drop this connection.

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The City of London Lie Machine In Action

Earlier this month the City of London publicised the extremely deceptive claim that the finance sector made a massive tax contribution to the UK economy; this was then picked up from their press department and uncritically run as a story by various tame media outlets. We’d planned to write a blog countering the blatant manipulation of statistics involved if no one else did. However, Prem Sikka stepped forward and did the work for us, so all we need to do here is reproduce his piece from Left Foot Forward.

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Susan Pearson Gagging Row Update

Catherine McGuinness and those around her who are engaged in a crusade against democracy have ensured that virtually nothing has changed in terms of the feudal power dynamics and secrecy at the City of London council. Potential conflict of interest issues as regards Sir Michael Bear, James Thomson and Chris Hayward aired in the national press still require satisfactory answers, as do many other related questions that local residents want addressed – such the hiring of councillor James Thomson’s Keepmoat company to do housing repairs and the discussions of the Standards Committee on the free and subsidised use of council premises by men only masonic lodges. While Graeme Harrower’s proposals were an improvement on the status quo, for us they did not go nearly far enough in terms reforming the City of London. That said, even Harrower’s attempt at tiny improvements was obviously way too much for the enemies of democracy who control the council. The democratic reform required to enable residents’ voices to be heard is the glaringly obvious one of abolishing the business vote!

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City of London Loses The Plot In Its Crusade Against Democracy

The City of London is not democratic because this council is elected mostly on business votes given to the likes of bankers who don’t live within its local authority boundaries. As a result it ignores local residents’ interests and instead spends millions of pounds a year lobbying for neo-liberal causes. We’ve also seen the council’s former leader Mark Boleat agitate for the removal of democracy from other UK councils when it comes to planning decisions, and this was done with the financial backing of the City of London Corporation. Likewise, the City of London Standards Committee appears incapable of properly addressing conflict of interest and inclusion issues when it comes to subsidising freemasonic activity by its members and their friends. That said, a story that appeared in a couple of local newspapers this week shows that the Standards Committee and their supporters in the City of London have now totally lost the plot with regard to their rabid attitudes toward local residents and democracy.

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Cripplegate Is Not Disneyland! Stop Culture Mile Overtourism!

Overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. “Too many” is subjective but it can be defined in different destinations by key stakeholders; and in the case of residential areas such as Cripplegate it is the needs of local residents that should be prioritised. When rent rises push out local retailers to make room for bars, restaurants and shops selling luxury goods and trinkets to tourists, that is overtourism. When you can’t get around because walkways are jammed with sightseers and visitors attending middle-brow ‘art’ events, that is overtourism. When tourists cannot view landmarks or transient cultural manifestations because of the crowds, when fragile ensembles of listed buildings become degraded, when street art is being commissioned by the local authority and covered with Perspex to protect it, when there are huge signs installed on walls to inform passersby about public art, when accommodation for key workers is replaced by luxury apartments aimed at property investors who’ll leave them empty and bank on a overheated housing market to reap them a profit – these are all signs of overtourism, as well as gentrification and social cleansing. And these are all things currently happening in Cripplegate and Aldersgate and which the City of London’s Culture Mile strategy is designed to exacerbate.

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New Lord Mayor Peter Estlin Could Best Address Social Inclusion by Resigning

The usual media suspects – The Times, City AM, City Matters, Financial News London etc. – picked up the story that Peter Estlin was “elected” as Lord Mayor of London on 1 October. Of course Estlin was “elected” by his peers in the finance and legal industries rather than those who actually live within the boundaries of the local authority that he now lords it over. London’s current situation of having two mayors – one for the whole city and one for the much smaller City of London – is ridiculous. London doesn’t need two mayors and the best move Estlin could make if he’s serious about his agenda of social inclusion (we doubt it) is resigning and ensuring his powers and role are handed over to London’s real mayor, the democratically elected Sadiq Khan.

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