City of London councillor Tom Hoffman’s desire to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers is deeply problematic. Here we will focus only on local colonial issues, although obviously the global aspects of this colonialism should be borne in mind too. Those onboard the Mayflower were English Protestants known at the time as Puritans because they sought to ‘purify’ their religious practices of Roman Catholic influences and maintained that the Church of England had not been fully reformed. The City has longstanding connections to both Protestantism in its Puritan forms and the colonial atrocities associated with this. Much of modern racism was invented and elaborated by hack writers from the Grub Street area on the edge of the City, and it was they who first depicted Irish Catholics as apes, a racist slur subsequently transferred to Africans. This is what Hoffman is celebrating.
The Pink Paper reports today that a City of London survey found more than two-thirds of respondents support trans people using rest rooms that match their gender identity. The survey results were published yesterday, 17 April 2019. This is to be welcomed but simultaneously the City of London should not be allowed to use its trans policies as a fig leaf with which to cover its blatantly discriminatory practice of supporting men only masonic lodges whose members are massively over-represented in top council jobs. Since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge in 1905 more than two thirds of those holding the top position of Lord Mayor at the City of London council have belonged to this small and singular masonic organisation. Since less than 1% of the English population are masons, and only two Lord Mayors have been women since 1905 (women are massively under-represented in top council jobs), the council allowing men only masonic lodges like the Guildhall Lodge to meet for free on its premises – essentially subsidising them – is clearly a discrimination issue. The council needs to insist men only lodges whose members are massively over-represented within the local authority allow women to join if such organisations are to continue to meet on its premises – and until there is gender parity within these lodges to ban them. Despite this issue being repeatedly raised, it is something that City of London councillor and freemason Edward Lord has yet to seriously address. We were disappointed the Pink Paper uncritically ran quotes from Lord in their piece.Read more "When will the City address the issue of gender exclusive masonic lodges meeting on its premises?"
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"
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.Read more "‘Sir’ Michael Snyder, The City of London & Crossrail"
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!Read more "Michael Mainelli’s Broad Street Re-Election A Farce!"
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"
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"