COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City

The failure to suspend construction work on the City of London’s COLPAI project during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown has generated enormous anger among residents of this local authority’s Golden Lane Estate. This is hardly surprising given these residents found themselves stuck at home a few metres from non-essential but ongoing noisy building work. Critical blogs on the subject by local councillors Sue Pearson and Graeme Harrower have been avidly read. Some of the comments beneath them are heart wrenching, such as one written by the father of a sick child undergoing treatment for cancer. This entire family must remain in isolation due to the high risk the pandemic poses to its youngest child. while the mega-rich City of London council turns a deaf ear on their plight.

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Councillor Graeme Harrower On City of London Gagging Row

In December 2019, the City Corporation backed down on the proposed expansion of its own City of London School for Girls, which would have harmed the amenity of its own residents and vandalised its own architectural heritage. A month later it has finally backed down in principle on trying to prevent its resident councillors from participating in decisions that affect their constituents, although it has done so in a muddled and unsatisfactory way. Both of these defeats for the Corporation have been achieved through strong resident action. The election of more resident councillors in March 2021 who are willing to represent their electors against the Corporation, rather than the other way round, should further contain the Corporation’s bias against residents. But if resident councillors remain only 20% of the total, instead of 100% as in any other local authority, that bias will remain. The business voting system isn’t democratic, literally: demos= the people, kratia = government. The ultimate solution is to abolish this system and to disaggregate the Corporation’s disparate and conflicting functions.

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City of London Loses The Plot In Its Crusade Against Democracy

The City of London is not democratic because this council is elected mostly on business votes given to the likes of bankers who don’t live within its local authority boundaries. As a result it ignores local residents’ interests and instead spends millions of pounds a year lobbying for neo-liberal causes. We’ve also seen the council’s former leader Mark Boleat agitate for the removal of democracy from other UK councils when it comes to planning decisions, and this was done with the financial backing of the City of London Corporation. Likewise, the City of London Standards Committee appears incapable of properly addressing conflict of interest and inclusion issues when it comes to subsidising freemasonic activity by its members and their friends. That said, a story that appeared in a couple of local newspapers this week shows that the Standards Committee and their supporters in the City of London have now totally lost the plot with regard to their rabid attitudes toward local residents and democracy.

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Business Votes: Power Without Responsibility

The City of London council keeps the vast majority of its voters off the electoral roll and instead places them on what it calls the ward list. Those drawn for jury service come solely from among the few thousand residents in the area who are on the electoral roll. The ward list system ensures that the roughly 32,000 business voters who are placed on the ward list but not the electoral roll are NOT considered for jury service! Given that business voters are privileged to vote both where they work and where they live (assuming they have placed themselves on the electoral roll where they live) it would only seem reasonable that they are considered for jury service both where they work and where they live.

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Edward Lord, The City of London and Freemasonry

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.

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The Culture Mile is a branding disaster, give us a democratic kilometre!

If the Culture Mile is supposed to attract international visitors to the City of London as a beacon of the arts, it’s clearly stupid to use imperial rather than metric measurements for this branded name. While one can see that the bureaucrats who chose this designation were trying to invoke the area’s half-forgotten nickname of The Square Mile, such fusty terminology won’t help them ‘half-inch’ renown as a major European cultural destination from elsewhere. Imperial measurements aren’t a part of forward-looking international arts zones, metric ones are!

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Chris Hayward: Clockwork Tory

The skyscrapers Hayward wants to see built aren’t simply office space; they are as Alex Simpson observed in an article published on City Metric earlier this year ‘a monument to the city’s worship of finance’. As Simpson notes, developers are sometimes over ambitious and some projects fail. After funding dried up, The Pinnacle was left as a partially built shell and became known as The Stump. Perhaps Hayward is dreaming that the redevelopment of The Stump as 22 Bishopsgate might in some way parallel his future political career no matter how unlikely this seems. On his City website Hayward boasts of 30 years experience in local government and stresses that the last four were as a councillor for the utterly undemocratic business vote ward of Broad Street. Hayward has been forced to scale down his political ambitions from being an MP to being one of a tiny group of councillors ‘elected’ on no votes whatsoever; and it seems that the only way to get Hayward to scale down his support for overdevelopment in the form of schemes like Gerrymander Mansions is to smash the rotten City of London political culture in which he’s enmeshed.

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Stop the London Bridge Sheep Drive, we want an Alderman Crawl!

Rather than having an annual Sheep Run, we think it would be much better to have a one off Alderman Crawl. For this we propose that the Mayor of London, his Aldermen and all the common councillors from the business vote wards, are dressed in rags and made to crawl on their hands and knees across London Bridge from the City into Southwark. Once they are south of the river we don’t want them to come back, and trust that concerned citizens will emerge from their flats to drive them all the way out of London; perhaps to somewhere as far away as Dover.

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Was Fat ‘Cat’ City of London Planning Chair Chris Hayward Lying When He Claimed He’d Only Do Lunch Once A Month?

This is what the Watford Observer quoted Chris Hayward as saying about the role and workload of City of London councillors in an article of 20 March 2013: …he stressed the role is unpaid and would involve no more than “one lunch time meeting a month”. He said: “It is not exactly a major time commitment. If it was anything more than one meeting then I wouldn’t do it. The councillors in the City of London also receive no allowances whatsoever. This isn’t a David Lloyd scenario, there is no income for common councilmen, it is more of an honorary body.”

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City of London Planning Committee Roll of Shame

An application to build a luxury apartment block on the site of Bernard Morgan House in Golden Lane was approved by the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee on 23 May 2017. Thirteen of those present voted in favour and ten against. This development will steal light and sunshine from local homes, a park and three local schools. We don’t currently know the identities of all those who voted in favour of this application but we will add them to our role of shame as and when we can. In the meantime, we understand these members of the committee voted for the proposal, so this is our initial role of shame: Christopher Hayward, Michael Bear, Mark Boleat, Andy Mayer,
Brian Mooney, James Thomson.

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