We’ve written in the past about how City of London councillor and self-styled ‘diversity champion’ Edward Lord has a less than stellar record when it comes to the matters of inclusion and intersectionality. Therefore we weren’t surprised when we came across a two year-old tweet in which Lord boasted about attending the annual celebrations of slave trader John Cass. But John Cass isn’t the only transatlantic slave trade figure Lord seems to venerate. In a speech at the City of London council’s Guildhall HQ on 10 October 2019, Lord cited William Beckford Senior as a historically inspirational figure. Beckford was the richest man in the world in his time because of the huge number of slaves he owned. Lord apparently thinks this is a mere detail that can be glossed over.Read more "Self-Styled City Diversity ‘Champ’ Edward Lord Champions Slave Traders"
Peter Estlin’s declaration of hospitality for the first half of his period in office as Lord Mayor of London shows how most of what he did was plod around City of London institutions for dinners. Hardly something that is needed since these are already closely connected and are seen by many as rebuttressing the square mile’s old boy’s club attitudes and lack of diversity. Nonetheless, given that Estlin does not include freemasonry among his non-pecuniary interests in his declaration of interests as a councillor, to us it appears odd that he lists a meeting and dinner of the Guildhall Lodge on 6 March 2019 in his declaration of hospitality. As we’ve stated before, members of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 are massively over-represented in the top post of Lord Mayor of London at the City of London council, and get to meet for free in council premises despite the way this reinforces a glass ceiling in this local authority, with only two women having ever been Lord Mayor. Estlin himself could perhaps explain to us why he attended a Guildhall Lodge meeting when he is apparently not a mason.Read more "Peter Estlin’s Hospitality Declaration As Lord Mayor Illustrates This City Office Is Redundant"
Taken out of the broader context of their City of London political activities and affiliations, the arguments Tim Hailes and Edward Lord make for equality appear very reasonable; closer examination shows they’re pushing an agenda of paying lip service to diversity and making concessions that are hard to avoid, while attempting to preserve a patriarchal status quo whose main interest is defending the privileges of a super-rich elite. Both appear incapable of pushing beyond their current agendas to a more inclusive vision of equality that is critical of male privilege and class privilege in all their forms – including men only masonry.Read more "Tim Hailes, Edward Lord & The City Of London’s Twisting On Equality & Diversity"
It will have surprised no one that William Russell has been ‘elected’ Lord Mayor of London since the entire City of London electoral system is rigged. Russell’s rise to the top of the City of London council demonstrates how roles within this local authority are stitched up through a combination of a ridiculously small electorate, the undemocratic business vote system and an old boy network.Read more "William Russell Is The 5th Member Of The Bowater Family To Be Lord Mayor In Just Over 100 Years"
Recently the media has been covering sexism in the City of London, with many women in the finance industry suffering harassment in the workplace and being held back by a glass ceiling that prevents them getting top jobs. What is true of the firms given the business votes that enable them to control the City of London council, is also true of the local authority that works on their behalf and against the interests of those who actually live in the UK’s last rotten borough. We have posted repeatedly about the fact that top jobs at the council are monopolised by the men only Guildhall Lodge 3116 of freemasons, who are allowed to meet for free on the local authority’s premises despite this being a class ceiling issue – since only two women have ever been Lord Mayor, while more than two thirds of the men holding this top post since the founding of Lodge 3116 in 1905 have belonged to it. For now let’s focus on media coverage of sexual harassment in the finance industry, knowing it won’t be long until journalists wise up to sexism and glass ceiling issues in City of London politics too.Read more "City Of London Still Feudal In Both Business & Politics"
Aside from the business vote system, a major focus of the dissatisfaction of City of London residents with the undemocratic set up of their council has been its so-called Standards Committee. One concern has been the gagging of resident elected councillors by an inflexible dispensations policy, while the same committee is apparently unconcerned about potential conflicts of interest on the part of the 80% of councillors undemocratically elected on business votes and representing the interests of the finance and legal industries. Another big issue has been the willingness of the Standards Committee to allow various freemasonic lodges to meet for free or at discounted rates on council property. Given that as this blog has documented, members of the Guildhall Lodge are massively over-represented in top council posts – such as Lord Mayor – and so are men, these men only lodges should not be allowed to meet on council premises – let alone for free or at discounted rates. This is an equality issue.Read more "Ian Luder, Freemasonry & The City of London Standards Committee"
Many City of London councillors who are masons indicate their subscriptions to this boys club on their register of interests without specifying which lodges they belong to. Given the huge influence of specific masonic lodges on City politics, in the interests of transparency City councillors listing all the lodges to which they belong on their register of interests would be a huge improvement on the current situation. To give a specific example, while Bishopsgate common councillor Simon D’Olier Duckworth is a senior mason, he only indicates this involvement through listing ‘Masonic Charitable Foundation’ on his register of interests. This is not unusual and we are NOT suggesting that Duckworth has in any way failed to meet the legal requirements for his register of interests. Our point is rather that given the disproportionate number of masons from specific lodges at the top of the City of London council, the current legal requirements to do not go far enough.Read more "Is Simon Duckworth’s Register of Interests As A City Of London Councillor Transparent?"
The fact that City of London is the last rotten borough in England has been demonstrated once again, this time by former lord mayor ‘Sir’ Andrew Parmley being the only candidate in the current aldermanic election for Vintry ward, which he will continue to represent. Given the miniscule electorate in this undemocratic business vote ward it is almost impossible for non-establishment figures to get nominated, let alone elected. Parmley, of course, is very much an establishment figure and in common with more than two thirds of lord mayor’s over the past 114 years belongs to the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons (founded in 1905). With its members massively over-represented in top jobs at the City of London council, this men only masonic lodge – number 3116 – is nonetheless allowed to meet for free on City of London premises despite the matter being a glass ceiling issue: only two women have ever held the post of lord mayor, which has long been monopolised by ‘fraternity’ 3116.Read more "Andrew Parmley’s Uncontested Re-Election & Other Affronts To Democracy In The City of London"
The City of London has never been embarrassed to disproportionately over-represent not just men but freemasons in its top posts, so it came as little surprise when the council’s website announced on 24 June 2019 that lodge members Chris Hayward and Michael Mainelli had been elected City of London sheriffs. The post of sheriff is one down from Lord Mayor and to get that top job one must first be a aldermanic sheriff, the post won by Mainelli, who as we have already discussed is a member of the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons like more than two-thirds of Lord Mayor’s of London since this organisation was established in 1905. Given such a massive over-representation of freemasons in top posts at the City of London, the fact the men only Guildhall Lodge and others are allow to meet for free and/or at subsidised rates on council premises is an equality issue, as we’ve discussed in numerous previous posts, since these ‘fraternities’ play a key role in maintaining a glass ceiling at the City of London council that prevents women getting a shot at top roles.Read more "Top Jobs for the Lodge Boys as Chris Hayward and Michael Mainelli are ‘Elected’ City of London Sheriffs"
Mark Field has long been known as the Invisible Man because of his unwillingness to engage with his constituents. When his majority was slashed in the 2017 general election he suddenly became slightly more visible and even vaguely interested in the issues that those who were entitled to vote for or against him wished to raise with ‘their’ MP. That said, after Field brutally assaulted Greenpeace activist Janet Barker last week and a video of the incident went viral, several media outlets still carried headlines that included the question “Who Is Mark Field?” However, the media don’t not know this MP the way his constituents don’t know him, because his aloofness and inaccessibility has long been a talking point among us. Until last week it seems Field had been largely operating beneath the radar of the press throughout his stint as an MP. That is apart from a headline grabbing 2005/6 love affair with fellow Tory MP Liz Truss (before she was elected to Parliament) and which ended with the first wife of this self-declared upholder of traditional values and civility divorcing him. The discrepancy between Field’s words and actions are neither failings nor quirks, they are embedded in the City of London culture of greed and entitlement that the MP is more effectively wedded to than any of his spouses.Read more "Mark Field & the City of London’s Culture of Misogyny & Entitlement"