A news splash on the City of London council website yesterday announced that James Thomson has been elected as chairman of the City of London Police Authority Board. While this will surprise few who follow City of London politics – since Thomson has been on the board for the past five years and has occupied the post of deputy chairman for the past three – it will nevertheless further undermine public confidence in the City of London Police because of a series of controversies that continue to swirl around this councillor.Read more "James Thomson Becoming Chair Of City Of London Police Authority Board Further Undermines Public Confidence"
Emma Kane is currently chair of Barbican Centre Trust and a member of the Barbican Centre Board. Needless to say, she is not the only member of the Barbican Arts Centre Board to have done or said things that undermine the diversity and inclusion policies that such organisations ought to – but all too often don’t – follow. As this blog reported back in 2018 the ‘chairman of the Barbican in London (Giles Shilson) has apologised after comparing the Welsh language to being dyslexic.’ Many were appalled both by Shilson’s racism and his ableism but it seems to have no impact on his standing at the Barbican; he is currently deputy chair of the Barbican Centre Board to Tom Sleigh’s chair – but such positions are swapped around among the elite as a matter of course in the City of London.Read more "Barbican Arts Centre Grandee & PR Guru Emma Kane ‘Excited’ To Be Associated With Slave Traders & Paedophiles"
This is a partial list of public memorials in the City of London which commemorate individuals with links to slavery, colonialism and racism. We’ve drawn up this far from exhaustive inventory in part because we are not convinced the Tackling Racism Working Party announced by the City of London council on 11 June 2020 will deal effectively with this aspect of its remit (or indeed any aspect of it). Our lack of confidence is based on the council’s past record and in particular the ongoing refusal of Edward Lord as chair of the Establishment Committee to seriously address glass ceiling issues at the council. In contrast, until we see what it does we will withhold judgement on the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm established by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on June 9, 2020 to review and access public tributes including statues and other landmarks. Both Khan’s Commission and the City’s Working Party ought to do much more than make recommendations on all the items listed beneath when it comes to dealing with the square mile. While it would be great to have all the memorials on our partial inventory removed or renamed, tackling other aspects of institutional racism and sexism is an even higher priority for us.Read more "List of Memorials In The City of London Linked To Slavery, Colonialism & Racism"
There are many monuments in the City of London that should be looked into as regards racism and with this post we will highlight a handful of them. One piece of public art that should be speedily removed and put into storage is an early eighteenth-century statue of a crouching young black man holding up a sundial in the Inner Temple Gardens. Two different Inner Temple websites make it clear that those caring for the gardens and the sculpture ought to know it is racist. The Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All barristers must belong to one of them. The Inner Temple is situated on the south-west side of the City of London.Read more "Remove The Racist Sculpture From Inner Temple Gardens, City of London"
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.Read more "COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City"
Islington Bunhill councillor Phil Graham brought up a proposal to extend Fortune Street Park as the possible outcome of a scheme to prevent Golden Lane and Fortune Street becoming a rat run for traffic excluded from Beech Street and trying to avoid Old Street roundabout. Although Graham didn’t provide details, we assume this would mean extending the park onto at least the west end of Fortune Street itself and the closure and erasure of some or all of this side street. Turning much of Fortune Street into an extension of the local park is a fantastic idea and sadly one that was rejected a few years ago because it would become harder to access the services that run under that street. Hopefully those issues have been resolved and extending the park is now possible. There is a shortage of green space in the City and south Islington, and Fortune Street Park is clearly stretched to capacity both at lunchtimes and immediately after home time at local schools. That said, even with an extension to Fortune Street Park more public recreation space is required in both south Islington and the City.Read more "How Else Might Islington Bail Out The City Of London On Its Zero Emissions Consultation Fail?"
The City of London council is yet again ignoring residents to install what looks like a vanity project – the first zero emission street – without regard for the cost to people’s lives. Higher pollution levels on Golden Lane and Goswell Road – up to 10% worse at the Golden Lane/Old Street junction. Higher noise levels on Golden Lane and Goswell Road. More traffic and in the case of Golden Lane U-turning traffic increasing the risk of accidents.Read more "City of London’s Zero Emissions Consultation Fail"
Mark Field claims to have stood down as an MP over Brexit. While this may have been an issue for Field, his failure to mention his attack on Janet Barker and the impact this would have had on his chances of re-election when standing down from the Two Cities seat appears disingenuous. You’d think that once local Tories had got rid of a liability as huge as Mark Field they’d want to put him behind them, but a glance at the Two Cities 2019 general election notice shows that he proposed the current candidate Nickie Aiken. So Aiken comes with Field’s backing and blessing and may not have been the current Two Cities Conservative candidate without this help.Read more "Two Cities Tory Candidate Nickie Aiken, Disgraced MP Mark Field & Why You Can’t Trust A Conservative"
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 the Dispensations Sub-Committee meeting on 4 June, a “co-opted” (meaning unelected) member rejected the notion that residential councillors should be trusted to exercise their judgment, because in future the “wrong sort of person might join the Corporation”. Since the only way a person can join the Corporation as a member is to be elected, the concern must be that City residents might in future elect the “wrong sort of person”. The residents are therefore being told that not only are they “confused” (as the Standards Chair called them in response to the petition), but that they must also be protected from the consequences of their voting decisions. The Standards Committee itself prefers to decide, through less than a handful of its own members, when resident councillors can speak and vote on matters which affect them and their constituents equally, but the answer – when it comes to voting, which is more important – is usually “no”. So decisions affecting residents may end up being taken by councillors who have no knowledge of the residents’ area. Most of those councillors are likely to represent business wards, so they may have no interest in residents’ concerns at all. The Standards Committee’s policy is therefore a barrier to democracy.”Read more "City of London Gagging Row Latest"