Following our coverage earlier this year of the City of London website being off-line over and after the May bank holiday – and according to rumour due to a cyber attack – it’s interesting to see the business press today reporting the massive scale of such attacks on this rotten borough. Current coverage stresses this as a danger to residents while perhaps unconsciously implying links between our local authority’s peculiar and undemocratic role in international finance and an even greater criminal threat to locals than is found elsewhere in London and across the UK, by invoking attacks on the European Central Bank. While all councils are subject to cyber attacks, it seems that the City of London is a more inviting target because of its status as perhaps the richest neo-liberal lobbyist in the world. In the interest not just of democratic accountability but also of everyone’s safety – and especially that of residents – the City’s business vote system needs to be abolished and its neo-liberal lobbying stopped once and for all. The business vote system prevents local residents having a democratic say in how their local authority is run, and ensures instead that power lies in the hands of the finance and legal industries – who chose to run the council for the benefit of global corporations and the global super rich and against the interests of both the overwhelming majority of those who actually live in the City and billions worldwide.
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"
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"
Following the Occupy London protests in 2012, the Corporation released information about “City’s Cash”—the “sovereign wealth fund” stemming from the 15th century. Over 52 percent of its reserve in that year came from investments, with 29 percent from school fees, 8 percent from rent, and 9 percent from grants, contributions and reimbursements. By 2016 its assets stood at £2.3 billion, generating £210 million yearly. The 2018-23 Corporate Plan cynically insists “everything we do contributes toward the achievement of twelve outcomes.” Those listed include: “People have equal opportunities to enrich their lives and reach their full potential” and to “Help provide homes that London and Londoner’s need.” The City of London actually devotes its main energies to furthering the inequality that produces untold misery and hardship.Read more "The City of London, House Building Targets & Business Votes"
Until the City of London is democratically reformed with the abolition of business votes and a reduction in the number of its councillors to a level commensurate with its residential electorate, its political system will provide an attractive target for those inclined to manipulate voting systems and seeking an easy route to power and influence. We will continue to keep an eye on upcoming City of London elections. Later this year Matthew Richardson is scheduled to step down as Billingsgate alderman. An election in that ward might well be of wider interest than the alderman contests we’ve reported in recent posts.Read more "Sue Langley, Aldermen & The City of London’s Rotten Political System"
In this post we will focus on Dowgate councillor Mark Wheatley’s hard right conservative politics – which have many parallels with the ideology of Italian senator Armando Siri, despite the former being a member of the Conservative party and the latter The League. We won’t go into the curious political agenda behind the recent City of London Guildhall meeting that brought these two men together in any detail here. For now we’ll restrict ourselves to saying that Wheatley sits on the ‘advisory council’ of Select Milano alongside a second City of London councillor Michael Mainelli, and Ian Bonny of The Worshipful Company of Management Consultants (the organisation that appears to have hosted Siri’s far-Right Guildhall bash). Select Milano aims to outflank Paris and Frankfurt and make Milan the financial hub of the Eurozone in a post-Brexit world, either as a junior partner to the City of London, or its proxy.Read more "Mark Wheatley, Racist Politicians & The City of London Using Pride To Provide Itself With A Fig-Leaf Of Respectability"
In recent days the press have been reporting on Robert Davis as a ‘councillor under fire over ludicrous levels of hospitality’ entailing ’60 visits to the theatre, 10 foreign trips, 296 free meals’. One of Davis’s former Conservative colleagues on Westminster City Council, Alastair Moss, is currently deputy chair of planning at the neighbouring City of London council.Read more "Alastair Moss: The City Of London’s Putin Of Planning"