David Wootton, Aung San Suu Kyi & Freedom of the City of London

Why David Wootton thinks ‘it is not the time or circumstance to begin the process to remove the honorary freedom’ awarded to Aung San Suu Ky is something we believe he should explain at length. That said his position clearly has more to do with the neo-liberal politics of the City of London and its jockeying for the interests of the rich at the expense of ordinary people around the world, than the wishes of the local people he and the majority of his fellow councillors so blatantly fail to represent.

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The Last Rotten Borough Revisited

The Corporation of London has rarely come under serious scrutiny since 1960 when a royal commission on local government in Greater London considered in great detail whether the ancient body could and should continue as a separate local authority. Sadly, its conclusion was feeble: “If we were to be strictly logical we should recommend the amalgamation of the City and Westminster. But logic has its limits and the position of the City lies outside them.”

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Diversity & Freemasonry At The City of London Council

The way in which men only freemasonic groups impact upon diversity within the City of London Corporation is disturbing. To date there have been 688 Lord Mayors who were men and 2 who were women. Since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge in 1905, 78 Lord Mayors of London have belonged to this men only freemasonic group. So over the past 113 years at least 69.03% of Lord Mayors of London have been masons, whereas 1.77% have been women. Although well under 1% of the English population are masons, members of the brotherhood have a better chance of becoming Lord Mayor of London than non-masons; and women who aren’t allowed to join influential all male lodges are largely excluded from such leadership roles.

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Alison Gowman, Emine Erdogan & The City of London’s Vested Interests

Leaders at the City of London Corporation have been criticised after the prestigious Mansion House was used to honour the “humanitarian” work of the wife of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has thrown thousands of his own people in jail. Emine Erdoğan was given an award by the Global Donors Forum at the prestigious venue “in recognition of her humanitarian service”. Her husband’s regime in Turkey is seen by many as brutal and dictatorial, increasingly run by a clique of his close family and friends.

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You should vote where you live, ‘that’s how democracy works!’

We’d really like Andrew Boff to apply the logic of his observation ‘(i)f people want to vote in the London elections they can move here, that’s how democracy works,’ to the City of London. As we’ve made clear most of those who vote in City of London elections don’t actually live within this local authority’s boundaries and get to vote elsewhere too. That simply isn’t democratic.

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Tim Hailes & The Bizarre Twists & Turns of ‘Patriotism’ in the City of London

He may not have been to Eton or have a great grandfather and grandfather who’d been Lord Mayors of London like William Russell, but Tim Hailes is another perfect candidate for top office as far as the City of London establishment is concerned. Hailes has worked for J P Morgan since 1999 where he is a Managing Director & Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department. He’s also a liveryman, a freemason (most Lord Mayor’s belong to this men only club) and no longer a Tory student activist (he was as a young man). Since conservatives in the City stand as independents, and not all of them want to overtly display any political colours, those who don’t belong to the Tory party – even if they once did – can group around The Royal Society of St George. Timothy Russell Hailes, alongside quite a number of his fellow City councilors, is a member of this ‘minor English institution’.

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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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