Like many members of the City of London council, ‘alderman’ Vincent Keaveny clearly finds it politic to make the right noises about diversity but at the same time his actions not only speak louder than his words, they also tend to contradict them. For example, on 6 February 2019 in his then role as City of London aldermanic sheriff, Keaveny attended the annual Founder’s Day celebration of slave trader John Cass. By way of contrast, Keaveny also tweets reasonably frequently about diversity. He tweeted on 30 June this year about a Power of Inclusion webinar featuring lord mayor William Russell and stating: “Difficult questions already flagged up.” However the difficult questions didn’t seem to include why almost every City of London lord mayor and most sheriffs – including both Russell and Keaveny – have for hundreds of years attended the annual celebration of slave trader John Cass.Read more "Vincent Keaveny & The City Of London’s Instrumentalisation of ‘Diversity’"
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"
When discussing English slave trading the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company are key reference points and both have deep roots in the City of London. Many of the individuals implicated in the black holocaust through their involvement in these two slave trading entities also played key roles in local government in the City of London including as lord mayors, sheriffs and members of livery companies. Some of these slave traders are still memorialised in the City of London. Memorials tend to erase the complexities of history through simple celebration, which is why their removal from public spaces generally enhances historical understanding. That said, the undemocratic and still in many ways feudal local government machinery of the City of London is also in its contemporary form a product of the slave trade and it is more important that this is dismantled than that statues are removed and streets get renamed. It would, however, be ideal if both the governance of the City was democratically reformed and its problematic memorials removed.Read more "The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1"
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"
An unnamed spokesperson for the City Corporation was quoted as saying that “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers to any member of the community standing for the elected office of Lord Mayor”.The word “elected” was added before “office of Lord Mayor” presumably to “enhance” the impression of democracy, but there is nothing democratic about the Lord Mayor’s election. The Corporation’s website specifies that a candidate for Lord Mayor should “have a significant track record and be recognised as a leader in their field” (typically in the financial City) and “have an extensive network”. Here’s a translation into truth of the sentence in the press release, with added words: “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers except status and connections to any member of the community standing for the undemocratically elected office of Lord Mayor.” The press release proves the equation that PR + HR = nonsense. It also proves that adapting a feudal system of local government to the modern world is impossible. It’s time for the Corporation to be disaggregated.Read more "Graeme Harrower On The City Tinkering With The Rigged ‘Election’ Process To Become Lord Mayor of London"
The Telegraph reported today that the City of London Corporation has launched a review into how it is run following a string of controversies. The investigation is to be led by Robert Rogers AKA Lord Lisvane, hardly an independent figure since he is a City insider who belongs to The Worshipful Company of Skinners, and as such is entitled to vote on who is ‘elected’ lord mayor and as sheriffs at the council’s third chamber common hall. This rather leads us to suspect he may end up whitewashing matters such as the business vote and the need to abolish the role of lord mayor… however we’ll withhold judgement until we see what sort of review he produces. That said, he is not a figure who immediately inspires confidence since he is not independent. Given that the City of London is patently unfair, unaccountable and lacks transparency, the following assertion which The Telegraph attributes to a Corporation spokesperson in relation to this probe is particularly ominous: “We are beginning a review examining the City Corporation’s governance arrangements to ensure they are efficient, fair, transparent and accountable.”Read more "Will Robert Rogers’ Probe Into The City of London’s Corporate Governance Be A Joke?"
Lord Mayors are chosen in private sessions that are conducted by Guildhall heavyweights. Some members of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Alderman believe the current process inhibits diverse candidates from being selected. In nearly 800 years there have been only two female Lord Mayors.Read more "City of London Nervous The Public Is Learning How Lord Mayors Like William Russell Are Elected"
Given the glass ceiling on top jobs in the City of London and this local authority’s notorious lie machine, it is not surprising to find the utterly undemocratic and business vote dominated local council awardwashing the situation by picking 100 women to receive the Freedom of the City as a way of ‘marking’ the centenary of women getting the vote. More of an eye-opener is the fact that diversity campaigner Miranda Brawn has chosen accept this bauble despite the council failing dismally to tackle gender discrimination on its own patch.Read more "Miranda Brawn & City of London Awardwashing"
In a number of previous posts we have commented on the detrimental glass ceiling effect freemasonry has on local politics in the City of London: “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 […]Read more "City Of London Masonry Prior To The Founding Of The Guildhall Lodge"
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"