More Sham Elections In the City of London

All four candidates in the farcical Cordwainter and Bassishaw by-elections are ‘independents’ but nonetheless support the right-wing neo-liberal agenda of the City of London. It is very hard for anyone who doesn’t hold such views to get nominated by the handful of business voters in these tiny City of London wards. These elections will be no fairer or freer than those held in North Korea and demonstrate yet again the urgent need to democratically reform the City of London.

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Oliver Lodge, Freemasonry & The City of London Standards Committee

The committee Oliver Lodge heads has come under fire recently for being high-handed and bullying. The Standards Committee initiated proceedings against councillor Susan Pearson for speaking against a proposal to delegate a planning application to Islington Council. The matter was referred to police for potential prosecution and Pearson was informed of this via the City solicitor. After reviewing the matter the cops declined to further involve themselves in this attempt at gagging and intimidation. To outside observers it looks like the Standards Committee operates on double standards, with a very harsh set of rules for the minority of councilors elected to represent local residents, and another very lax set for those who hold positions of power acting as lobbyists for the finance and law industries thanks to undemocratic business votes.

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Castle Baynard Election: A Beautiful Farce

There were eight candidates in the Castle Baynard common councillor election held on 9 October 2018 in the City of London. A total of 277 votes were cast. The Labour Party candidate Natasha Lloyd-Owen won with 77 votes, with seven ‘independents’ splitting 200 votes between them. Lloyd-Owen’s victory came as a shock to the true blue City types who ludicrously claim our local authority is non-political despite the fact it aggressively promotes the neo-liberal agenda championed by the right-wing of the Conservative Party. Labour have previously won seats in residential wards but never before in a ward like Castle Baynard dominated by undemocratic business votes. So while City slickers and legal professionals getting votes where they work as well as where they live is obscene, and the minuscule size of the electorate is completely absurd, it was still a historic win.

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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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Hugh Morris, The Livery Lodges & The City of London’s Opacity

City Matters reported that the livery company who booked a contentious Guildhall event for the far-Right Italian senator Armando Siri was the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. Is this really ‘an outside body’ as The Guardian reported the City of London council claiming, or is it a cat’s paw? When it suits the City of London this and other livery companies are linked to it, which justifies the discounts they enjoy, effectively subsidies for events such as the far-Right lunch with Armando Siri. But when the City of London wants to shrug off responsibility these ‘linked’ and ‘connected’ organisations metamorphose into outside bodies – as is clear from the City’s statement quoted by The Guardian. We’d like Hugh Morris – and other City of London councillors – to state definitively if they want the City to treat the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants as an ‘outside body’ and to charge it the full market rate when it hires rooms from the council. If this and other livery companies are not City linked and connected, then they shouldn’t be getting discounts. We’re also keen to hear what Morris has to say about the Armando Siri event hosted by a livery company he belongs to.

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