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"
In recent months we’ve noticed grumbles on Barbican Talk about new Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken that resemble the complaints we heard about her predecessor Mark Field for years. Today Aiken put out a statement about the top government advisor Dominic Cummings. From what we’ve seen on Twitter, Aiken’s statement on this matter hasn’t gone down well with her constituents. So this is likely to overshadow Aiken’s truly loopy interview with City of London council boss Catherine McGuinness in which the latter claims sandwich shops make the square mile ‘exciting’….Read more "Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken & The Property Speculator Elite"
It bears repeating that every election in the City of London is an utter farce, since the electorate is so small the entire process could very easily be rigged. Yesterday (13 November 2019) Helen Fentimen won an Aldersgate election to the common council for Labour – the only party standing, the rest were ‘independents’ – with a miniscule 260 votes. Given both business votes and that top ‘elected’ posts at the council are disproportionately bagged by members of the men-only Guildhall Lodge 3116, the undersized electorate isn’t the only reason democratic reform is urgently required in this rotten borough.Read more "Aldersgate Election of Helen Fentimen An Utter Farce"
In Facebook posts and elsewhere Chuka Umunna has made the absurd claim that the Cities of London and Westminster constituency is ‘a global symbol for open, liberal values’. Who does this con artist think he’s kidding? While there are working class residents in the constituency, dominated as it is by the neo-liberal financial industry both in the City and through its interventions in Westminster (the undemocratic office of Remembrancer is merely one vehicle for this) the place is a global symbol of the vested interests and secretive world of wealthy elites; who do their dodgy financial deals in the eastern part of the constituency and often own property in its western parts. The Cities of London and Westminster is not a global symbol of open liberal values but rather a place infamous for exemplifying the money grabbing anti-values of the neo-liberal rich. Umunna was outed as a member of the ‘exclusive’ social network ASmallWorld years ago and as a result publicly apologised for describing ordinary people as ‘trash’ in a post intended only for his rich mates.Read more "Chuka Umunna, A Neo-Liberal Candidate For Those Defending Plutocracy in the City of London"
Mark Field has long been known as the Invisible Man because of his unwillingness to engage with his constituents. When his majority was slashed in the 2017 general election he suddenly became slightly more visible and even vaguely interested in the issues that those who were entitled to vote for or against him wished to raise with ‘their’ MP. That said, after Field brutally assaulted Greenpeace activist Janet Barker last week and a video of the incident went viral, several media outlets still carried headlines that included the question “Who Is Mark Field?” However, the media don’t not know this MP the way his constituents don’t know him, because his aloofness and inaccessibility has long been a talking point among us. Until last week it seems Field had been largely operating beneath the radar of the press throughout his stint as an MP. That is apart from a headline grabbing 2005/6 love affair with fellow Tory MP Liz Truss (before she was elected to Parliament) and which ended with the first wife of this self-declared upholder of traditional values and civility divorcing him. The discrepancy between Field’s words and actions are neither failings nor quirks, they are embedded in the City of London culture of greed and entitlement that the MP is more effectively wedded to than any of his spouses.Read more "Mark Field & the City of London’s Culture of Misogyny & Entitlement"
City of London councillor Tom Hoffman’s desire to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers is deeply problematic. Here we will focus only on local colonial issues, although obviously the global aspects of this colonialism should be borne in mind too. Those onboard the Mayflower were English Protestants known at the time as Puritans because they sought to ‘purify’ their religious practices of Roman Catholic influences and maintained that the Church of England had not been fully reformed. The City has longstanding connections to both Protestantism in its Puritan forms and the colonial atrocities associated with this. Much of modern racism was invented and elaborated by hack writers from the Grub Street area on the edge of the City, and it was they who first depicted Irish Catholics as apes, a racist slur subsequently transferred to Africans. This is what Hoffman is celebrating.Read more "Tom Hoffman Seeks Artwashers-In-Residence For City of London Council"
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.Read more "More Sham Elections In the City of London"
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.Read more "Oliver Lodge, Freemasonry & The City of London Standards Committee"
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.Read more "Castle Baynard Election: A Beautiful Farce"
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.Read more "You should vote where you live, ‘that’s how democracy works!’"