Cripplegate Councillor David Graves Unilaterally Extends His Own Term Of Office

David Graves, the alderman (a councillor) for Cripplegate Ward reached the end of his six year term of office on 17 June 2020. The archaic conventions that govern this archaic public office require that upon the expiry of the term of office of an alderman, he or she submits a “letter of surrender“ to the lord mayor. When asked, Alderman Graves explained he had not submitted his “letter of surrender“ because: “given the current CV-19 concerns and limitations, I decided that to trigger a 42 day electoral process now would be inappropriate and unsuitable for the good conduct of a fair election.” But his submitting a “letter of surrender“ would not have triggered the 42 day electoral process. The letter would first need to be “received” by the Court of Aldermen. The Covid crisis is one of the few situations imaginable in which the Court could justifiably defer the start of the electoral process – but for no longer than necessary. Should not the time at which the electoral process starts be a matter for the Court of Aldermen to decide, rather than the alderman whose term of office has expired and who seeks re-election?

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Will Robert Rogers’ Probe Into The City of London’s Corporate Governance Be A Joke?

The Telegraph reported today that the City of London Corporation has launched a review into how it is run following a string of controversies. The investigation is to be led by Robert Rogers AKA Lord Lisvane, hardly an independent figure since he is a City insider who belongs to The Worshipful Company of Skinners, and as such is entitled to vote on who is ‘elected’ lord mayor and as sheriffs at the council’s third chamber common hall. This rather leads us to suspect he may end up whitewashing matters such as the business vote and the need to abolish the role of lord mayor… however we’ll withhold judgement until we see what sort of review he produces. That said, he is not a figure who immediately inspires confidence since he is not independent. Given that the City of London is patently unfair, unaccountable and lacks transparency, the following assertion which The Telegraph attributes to a Corporation spokesperson in relation to this probe is particularly ominous: “We are beginning a review examining the City Corporation’s governance arrangements to ensure they are efficient, fair, transparent and accountable.”

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Tim Hailes, Edward Lord & The City Of London’s Twisting On Equality & Diversity

Taken out of the broader context of their City of London political activities and affiliations, the arguments Tim Hailes and Edward Lord make for equality appear very reasonable; closer examination shows they’re pushing an agenda of paying lip service to diversity and making concessions that are hard to avoid, while attempting to preserve a patriarchal status quo whose main interest is defending the privileges of a super-rich elite. Both appear incapable of pushing beyond their current agendas to a more inclusive vision of equality that is critical of male privilege and class privilege in all their forms – including men only masonry.

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William Russell & Livery Companies

As we’ve detailed already, the election of William Russell as lord mayor of London is an affront to democracy since the vote was decided in advance of unelected livery company members raising their hands to give him the job. As we’ve also previously mentioned, Russell is the fifth member of his family to be lord mayor of London in just over a century, indicating the kind of nepotism at work in the City of London’s anti-democratic set-up. What we haven’t addressed before – and the day before Russell is officially installed as lord mayor seems a good time to bring it up – is that he actually sits on the City of London Livery Committee that organised his own election!

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‘Election’ of William Russell As Lord Mayor of London Totally Rigged

Explaining how the Lord Mayor is elected, Livery Committee chair Nigel Pullman said there are three candidates voted for by by about 1,000 (unelected) liverymen. “It’s a strange system. Everyone knows before the vote who is going to win,” said Mr Pullman. “The winner’s name is read out first, and he is voted for by a show of hands. Then when the second candidate’s name is read, everyone shouts out ‘next time’. And when the third candidate’s name is read, they shout ‘later’.”

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William Russell Is The 5th Member Of The Bowater Family To Be Lord Mayor In Just Over 100 Years

It will have surprised no one that William Russell has been ‘elected’ Lord Mayor of London since the entire City of London electoral system is rigged. Russell’s rise to the top of the City of London council demonstrates how roles within this local authority are stitched up through a combination of a ridiculously small electorate, the undemocratic business vote system and an old boy network.

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Top Jobs for the Lodge Boys as Chris Hayward and Michael Mainelli are ‘Elected’ City of London Sheriffs

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.

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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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