Given that the electorate in many City of London wards only runs to a few hundred business votes with residential voters often hovering somewhere around the single figure mark, the opportunities for insiders to manipulate the system are extensive. With such an absurdly small electoral franchise it is difficult for those who aren’t insiders to find five people to nominate them so that they can stand for election. In business vote wards such as the one in which Michael Mainelli was just re-elected unopposed, the voting process is stitched up, having been loaded in such a way so as to make it extremely difficult for those who aren’t of a right-wing and neo-liberal political persuasion to even be able to stand, let alone win an election. Broad Street is too small an area and doesn’t have enough residents to justify it electing a single councillor on its own, let alone the 4 it currently has!
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"
The committee Oliver Lodge heads has come under fire recently for being high-handed and bullying. The Standards Committee initiated proceedings against councillor Susan Pearson for speaking against a proposal to delegate a planning application to Islington Council. The matter was referred to police for potential prosecution and Pearson was informed of this via the City solicitor. After reviewing the matter the cops declined to further involve themselves in this attempt at gagging and intimidation. To outside observers it looks like the Standards Committee operates on double standards, with a very harsh set of rules for the minority of councilors elected to represent local residents, and another very lax set for those who hold positions of power acting as lobbyists for the finance and law industries thanks to undemocratic business votes.Read more "Oliver Lodge, Freemasonry & The City of London Standards Committee"
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"
We have previously addressed the opacity of a couple of council register of interest entries. Here we will deal with the same issue as regards Giles Shilson, a councillor for Bread Street ward. Despite the fact that he would appear to be a high flying freemason, Shilson failed to make an appearance in a recent Barbican Talk discussion that among other things attempted to work out the percentage of councilors who are masons – we suspect the figure mooted there is an underestimation. That Shilson is a freemason was not apparent to the City residents involved in this discussion because the way this is indicated on his register of interests is not transparent to many of those who do not belong to The Brotherhood, and will be seen by some as disingenuous.Read more "Giles Shilson, Freemasonry & Democratic Transparency at the City of London Council"
If City of London councillor Matthew Richardson’s mysterious Christ Freedom Trust entry on his register of interests is a misrendering of True Freedom Trust, then this may deepen our understanding of the ideological motivations behind his 2010 transphobic speech as reported by UK media, as well as his friendship and apparent flat sharing with fellow City councillor and LGBT activist Edward Lord. That said we’re not currently in a position to know one way or another what Richardson’s Christ Freedom Trust entry on his non-pecuniary interests actually represents.Read more "Matthew Richardson’s Register of Interests"
Many see the City of London as an old boys network shot through with nepotism. The fact that councillor William Russell has already occupied the position of aldermanic sheriff and looks set to become a Lord Mayor is indicative of this. Russell’s great grandfather Frank Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1938-1939. Frank Bowater’s older brother Thomas Vansittart Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1913-1914 and also a conservative MP for the City from 1924 to 1938. Frank Bowater’s oldest son Noel Vansittart Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1953-1954. Frank Bowater’s youngest son Ian Frank Bowater – William Russell’s grandfather – was Lord Mayor of London 1969-1970. If William Russell becomes the fifth member of his family to be Lord Mayor of London in just over 100 years, this can justly be perceived as dynastic and will serve to underscore that a local authority elected on business votes can never be meritocratic. Even the ultra-reactionary City A.M. rag has used the old boy phrase when covering Russell’s rise through this local authority’s hierarchy.Read more "William Russell, Barker Bridge, The City of London, Cronyism & Self-Aggrandisement"