In the absence of democratic accountability, conflicts of interest are inevitable. What is the connection between Michael Bear, head of a local authority in the heart of our capital, and Michael Bear, property developer for Hammerson? This question is especially difficult to answer when the local authority and Hammerson are working together on multi-million pound projects. It’s high time a clear light was shone on this murky world.Read more "There Are Still Questions About Michael Bear We Want Answered"
If the City of London and its spokespeople wished to be taken seriously by those it fails to serve and in particular the many Cripplegate ward residents who signed the petition calling for reform of its Standards Committee, then they would have addressed the issues that led to this blog being started – potential conflicts of interest – instead of brushing them off. In the same manner and with the same disdain, this utterly undemocratic local authority brushes off the gagging of councillors who attempt to represent the views of local people as ‘justified’ by rules that apparently don’t apply to the majority in its chambers who speak on behalf of the finance and legal industries.Read more "City of London Gives Its Residents The Finger In Ongoing Gagging Row"
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.Read more "City of London Loses The Plot In Its Crusade Against Democracy"
Is there a conflict of interest in having a member of Keepmoat’s board of directors as a Common Councillor? The City of London says: “I can confirm that the Member to which you refer has had no input, bearing or influence on this tender evaluation whatsoever.” It isn’t good enough for the City of London to baldly state council member James Thomson had no influence on the tender evaluation, an independent inquiry into whether Thomson’s status as a friend and colleague of at least some of those who made the decision would be much more appropriate.Read more "James Thomson, Public Perceptions of Probity & Jobs for the City Boys"
Taylor Wimpey’s PR lackeys at Cascade Communications sent out an email yesterday suggesting their paymaster was suffering from second thoughts about the name of their proposed Golden Lane development being The Denizen. Local people don’t want 99 luxury flats replacing 110 social housing units on the site, but rather than listening to us, the ‘community specialists’ hired by the developer are offering a vote on an absurd list of names for the building.Read more "No Matter What Taylor Wimpey Call ‘The Denizen’, It’s Still The Turd!"
The new Lord Mayor of London is Charles Bowman and he’s been saying repeatedly he wants the public to trust the City. If Bowman is serious about making public trust his priority while he’s the Lord Mayor, he should be reforming the undemocratic and anachronistic political system in the City of London. He could start by abolishing the business vote and the office of alderman, he is after all the first among equals in the latter. He also needs to address the question of vested interests and make sure firms like Keepmoat who have (or have recently had) top management sitting on the City of London council, aren’t given contracts by this local authority. Bowman needs to ‘Keep Keepmoat Out Of The City’.Read more "Charles Bowman Wants You To Trust The City!"
GLERA calling for Mark Boleat to resign represents a start to dealing with this scandal, but it is not enough! All those with a seat on the City of London council who aren’t prepared to defend democracy from Boleat’s attacks on it should go immediately; although whether any will agree to resign is a moot point. That said, as the most prominent ‘face’ right now on a local council that has financially supported the Housing & Finance Institute, it is Catherine McGuinness who should be the focus of our disquiet. And so our most immediate demand is: “McGUINNESS MUST GO!”Read more "Mark Boleat’s Attack On Democracy: Catherine McGuinness Must Go Too!"
Central London is full of developments known by ridiculous names like The Shard, The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie and The Cheesegrater. Many of these monikers are informally conferred on the buildings. While not yet built, The Denizen’s nickname The Turd is fitting because it absolutely stinks that the site was flogged off to Taylor Wimpey by the City of London, and then granted planning permission by the same local authority. It simultaneously underscores that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris broke the rule that architects shouldn’t shit on their own doorstep. That’s exactly what AHMM have done with The Turd, the site is a short walk from their Old Street office. The Denizen’s design makes it look like a toxic crap from another unloved local ghost home complex, The Bum, officially TP Bennett’s Bezier apartments on Old Street roundabout.Read more "Officially It’s The Denizen But To Locals It’s The Turd!"
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.”Read more "Was Fat ‘Cat’ City of London Planning Chair Chris Hayward Lying When He Claimed He’d Only Do Lunch Once A Month?"