Abolition would actually be the best way to deal with the City of London, but even if that does not happen the business vote must be abolished and the number of councillors reduced in line with councillor-resident ratios in the rest of London. Around two councillors, down from 125 (100 common councillors plus 25 aldermen), would make things proportionate – although two councillors does not really justify the existence of a City of London council. On the basis of the figures Rogers reproduces in his report it is clear that City of London councillors need only a handful of votes to get elected and even Rogers admits the system can be easily manipulated by small cliques. This isn’t democracy, it is a sham and the reason why the City of London has quite rightly acquired the nickname the last rotten borough.Read more "Rogers Report On City Governance Says Our Council is ‘Sclerotic’, We’d Call It Toxic"
At its most recent meeting, the City of London council passed a motion which welcomed Hong Kong residents pursuant to the British Government’s offer to them of extended resident rights in the UK, and criticised China’s imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong. Will the Lord Mayor and Chair of Policy and Resources respect the will of the council by ceasing to deal with China in a way that avoids criticising it for human rights abuses? As part of that new approach, will they take the lead in reversing the decision to exclude Taiwan from the Lord Mayor’s Show, which was made on political grounds to appease the People’s Republic of China?Read more "The City of London Council Motion On Hong Kong"
More than a year ago we posted a blog entitled City of London ‘Consultations’ Are A Sham Designed To Rubber Stamp Decisions That Have Already Been Made. Our experience of City of London consultations has consistently been dispiriting and disappointing, something that will surprise no one who understands that this council is not just undemocratic but that it actively seeks to undermine democracy beyond its own local authority boundaries. Last week the City of London launched a consultation exercise on historic landmarks and the way it is framed and has been publicised indicates it will be as much of a sham as previous consultations.Read more "On The City Of London Historic Landmarks Consultation"
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"
Given the longstanding involvement of City of London lord mayors and sheriffs in the celebration of slave trader John Cass under the guise of Founder’s Day, we do not think it is enough to replace the current holders of those offices with other people. Rather the archaic and undemocratic posts of lord mayor, sheriff and alderman should be abolished, alongside the undemocratic business vote system that is emblematic of the City of London being the last rotten borough in England. Cass himself was an alderman and sheriff and after several hundred years in which he has been celebrated by those who currently hold these same offices, it is high time the posts were scrapped.Read more "Lord Mayor of London William Russell Caught Red Handed Celebrating Slave Trader John Cass"
Reclaim EC1 took a trip to Jewery Street yesterday to check whether or not the statue of John Cass was still in place above the entrance to the foundation that bears his name. We were pleased to see the statue was gone. Somehow we are not surprised Sir John Cass’s Foundation did not announce the removal of the statue on or before 18 July 2020. The foundation has not been transparent about its history and has recently removed a number of its web pages. Likewise the foundation now enforces strict control over access to its paper archives, whereas until three years ago researchers could see these records without undergoing a screening and vetting process.Read more "Statue of Slave Trader & City Grandee John Cass Gone From Jewry Street"
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"
This is a partial list of public memorials in the City of London which commemorate individuals with links to slavery, colonialism and racism. We’ve drawn up this far from exhaustive inventory in part because we are not convinced the Tackling Racism Working Party announced by the City of London council on 11 June 2020 will deal effectively with this aspect of its remit (or indeed any aspect of it). Our lack of confidence is based on the council’s past record and in particular the ongoing refusal of Edward Lord as chair of the Establishment Committee to seriously address glass ceiling issues at the council. In contrast, until we see what it does we will withhold judgement on the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm established by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on June 9, 2020 to review and access public tributes including statues and other landmarks. Both Khan’s Commission and the City’s Working Party ought to do much more than make recommendations on all the items listed beneath when it comes to dealing with the square mile. While it would be great to have all the memorials on our partial inventory removed or renamed, tackling other aspects of institutional racism and sexism is an even higher priority for us.Read more "List of Memorials In The City of London Linked To Slavery, Colonialism & Racism"
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"
The failure to suspend construction work on the City of London’s COLPAI project during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown has generated enormous anger among residents of this local authority’s Golden Lane Estate. This is hardly surprising given these residents found themselves stuck at home a few metres from non-essential but ongoing noisy building work. Critical blogs on the subject by local councillors Sue Pearson and Graeme Harrower have been avidly read. Some of the comments beneath them are heart wrenching, such as one written by the father of a sick child undergoing treatment for cancer. This entire family must remain in isolation due to the high risk the pandemic poses to its youngest child. while the mega-rich City of London council turns a deaf ear on their plight.Read more "COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City"