The Crossrail deal struck between the Corporation of London when it saw headed by ‘Sir’ Michael Snyder and the 2007 Labour government highlights the blurring between the corporation’s two roles, that of a local authority with public funds and a lobbying body with even larger private funds. An internal corporation document presented to councillors in October 2007 stated that, “there would be a number of pre-conditions to be satisfied before funding was released”. One of these was “a net real terms improvement in government funding of the City Corporation”. The corporation wanted the government to reinstate a fund known as the “City Offset” “The City Offset was re-instated… in 2007 following representations from the City of London Corporation,” said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government… This means the corporation could end up recouping all of the money it is contributing to Crossrail. As the internal corporation document states, if the extra government funding to the corporation continued for fifteen years, “the eventual adverse impact on our asset base would be £15m or less”. Given that Crossrail inflates the value of lands owned by the corporation adjacent to it and the extra funding could continue for more than 15 years, the City potentially stood to make a great deal of money from this deal.
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"
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"
“Democracy is not enough. We need to hold corporations to account,” says Billy Bragg. While democracy may or may not be enough, contra Bragg, in the City of London –where the Bank of England is located and Bragg is set to deliver a speech on accountability – democracy would make a huge difference not just to the residents of this rotten borough, but the entire world. It isn’t clear whether Bragg doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the 80% of City of London councillors are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and that local residents have virtually no say in the running of the area. Bragg implies we already have democracy when we don’t. It’s also significant that the rotten borough Bragg’s being feted in is the power base from which the finance industry plots its course of state capture and tax havenry around the world. Establishing democracy in the City of London by – among other things – abolishing the business vote, would do much to curb the unchecked power of the wealthy elite’s financial lobby.Read more "Bank Of England & Billy Bragg, A Marriage Made In Heaven?"