A vote to remove Aung San Suu Kyi’s Freedom of the City of London was passed yesterday in the Court of Common Council, this body will now write to the Myanmar leader and await her reply before deciding whether to proceed. It doesn’t look like Ian Paisley Jr, paedophile Keith Harding or other unsavory characters will have their Freedom of the City of London removed any time soon, since even Suu Kyi is hanging on to hers for now. Press coverage today in City A.M., The Evening Standard and City Matters made it clear that those opposing the move to strip Suu Kyi of this ‘honour’ included top freemasons Jamie Ingham Clark and Chris Hayward.
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.Read more "David Wootton, Aung San Suu Kyi & Freedom of the City of London"
Catherine McGuinness and those around her who are engaged in a crusade against democracy have ensured that virtually nothing has changed in terms of the feudal power dynamics and secrecy at the City of London council. Potential conflict of interest issues as regards Sir Michael Bear, James Thomson and Chris Hayward aired in the national press still require satisfactory answers, as do many other related questions that local residents want addressed – such the hiring of councillor James Thomson’s Keepmoat company to do housing repairs and the discussions of the Standards Committee on the free and subsidised use of council premises by men only masonic lodges. While Graeme Harrower’s proposals were an improvement on the status quo, for us they did not go nearly far enough in terms reforming the City of London. That said, even Harrower’s attempt at tiny improvements was obviously way too much for the enemies of democracy who control the council. The democratic reform required to enable residents’ voices to be heard is the glaringly obvious one of abolishing the business vote!Read more "Susan Pearson Gagging Row Update"
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.Read more "Diversity & Freemasonry At The City of London Council"
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’.Read more "Tim Hailes & The Bizarre Twists & Turns of ‘Patriotism’ in the City of London"
If the City of London was a transparent and democratic local authority it would stringently vet those being awarded its honours and have a mechanism for revoking them should reasons for doing so come to light once they are bestowed. Unfortunately the City of London is feudal and in desperate need of democratic reform, with its honours system being as out of step with modern standards as its political set up. Not only are eighty-percent of its councilors elected on undemocratic business votes, and as a result its residents have virtually no influence over its policies, it is necessary to have been bestowed the Freedom of the City of London to stand in local elections. In other words, anyone who wants to contest a City of London council seat has to first apply for a dubious ‘honour’ that’s been doled out to paedophiles and human rights abusers. That in itself, let alone the rigged political system, is enough to put many off contesting council seats.Read more "Ian Paisley Jr, Aung San Suu Kyi & Paedophile Keith Harding All Awarded Freedom of the City of London"
This week’s alderman election in the Ward of Cheap highlights what’s wrong with the City of London election system, since for a grand total of 12 residents and 467 voters there is an alderman and 3 common councillors (4 councillors in total). That’s a councillor for roughly every 117 voters, and if we take away those with undemocratic business votes who also get to vote for someone else wherever they live, one councillor for every 3 residential voters! The minuscule voter numbers are absurd and the entire system inevitably leads to unfairness. Consider, for example, the need to get 5 people entitled to vote within the ward to nominate anyone who wishes to stand as a candidate in council elections. Anyone with views at odds with the finance industry is unlikely to find 5 people on the register of voters in business vote dominated wards who would nominate them.Read more "City of London Alderman Elections Absurd & Obscene"