The Crossrail deal struck between the Corporation of London when it saw headed by ‘Sir’ Michael Snyder and the 2007 Labour government highlights the blurring between the corporation’s two roles, that of a local authority with public funds and a lobbying body with even larger private funds. An internal corporation document presented to councillors in October 2007 stated that, “there would be a number of pre-conditions to be satisfied before funding was released”. One of these was “a net real terms improvement in government funding of the City Corporation”. The corporation wanted the government to reinstate a fund known as the “City Offset” “The City Offset was re-instated… in 2007 following representations from the City of London Corporation,” said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government… This means the corporation could end up recouping all of the money it is contributing to Crossrail. As the internal corporation document states, if the extra government funding to the corporation continued for fifteen years, “the eventual adverse impact on our asset base would be £15m or less”. Given that Crossrail inflates the value of lands owned by the corporation adjacent to it and the extra funding could continue for more than 15 years, the City potentially stood to make a great deal of money from this deal.
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.”Read more "The Last Rotten Borough Revisited"
As we reported back in February this year concerns about potential conflicts of interest over planning permission being granted to Taylor Wimpey to build luxury apartments on the site of Bernard Morgan House now include speculation this former police building might have been sold to help cover a blown police budget. The focus of attention then was very much City of London common councillors James Thomson and Chris Hayward because of their involvements with both the planning and police committees. In a Sun ‘exclusive’ last week it was reported that top City of London cop Chief Superintendent Dave Clark was under investigation for ‘allegedly using secret information to help pals win crime contracts.’ If it turns out these allegations have any substance to them, we’d be very interested to know whether activities of the type being investigated contributed to the blown police budget.Read more "The City of London Police Budget Deficit, Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen & Top Cop Dave Clark"
In his letter on freemasonry, City of London Councillor Edward Lord fails to address or explain why more than fifty percent of the City of London’s Lord Mayors since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 have been members of it. Information on this subject can be found in various places. The Paviors Lodge 5646 puts it like this on it’s website: “The Guildhall Lodge Number 3116 was established in 1905 for the Aldermen and Common Councillors of the City of London. To date, no less that 78 Masters of this distinguished lodge have also been Lord Mayors of the City of London.” This might well be taken as indicating behind the scenes influence at the Guildhall.Read more "Edward Lord, The City of London and Freemasonry"
Perhaps nothing better sums up Stuart Fraser as a demagogue who has no time for democracy than the following quote: “I would be most content if I leave the City in a better state than I came to it. Yes, it’s a general statement, but I would still like the City of London to dominate the world.” From “Stuart Fraser keeps a cool head in the eye of the storm” by Yvette Essen, Daily Telegraph, 2 June 2008. Needless to say it’s dictators who seek to dominate the world, not democrats. And not quite a ‘newsflash’ for Stuart Fraser: after the crash and political fall out from that, you’ve left the City of London weaker than when you headed this reprehensible anti-democratic institution. From here on in it looks like things can only get worse for this rotten borough.Read more "Stuart Fraser & The City of London’s Antipathy To Democracy"
The money the City of London burns on artwashing itself via the Culture Mile and other projects is dwarfed by the sums it lavishes on propaganda promoting the interests of the finance industry, tax havens and wealth inequality. And even the crumbs thrown at the arts and ‘charity’ by the City don’t really benefit anyone outside a wealthy elite; such spending is instrumental and designed to promote corporate greed as a public good. The Culture Mile isn’t much of a smokescreen for this tunnel vision.Read more "Tunnel Visions: Another Culture Mile Flop!"
In recent days the press have been reporting on Robert Davis as a ‘councillor under fire over ludicrous levels of hospitality’ entailing ’60 visits to the theatre, 10 foreign trips, 296 free meals’. One of Davis’s former Conservative colleagues on Westminster City Council, Alastair Moss, is currently deputy chair of planning at the neighbouring City of London council.Read more "Alastair Moss: The City Of London’s Putin Of Planning"