Earlier this month parts of the right-wing local and national press in the UK – Daily Mail, Times, City AM – covered Westminster’s criticism of the City of London banning a Taiwanese float from the Lord Mayor’s show. It goes without saying that these media outlets didn’t link the lack of democracy in the City – a local council elected on business votes rather than democratically controlled by local residents – and the authoritarian political system in China. Banning the Taiwanese float isn’t – as the right-wing media would have you believe – simply a matter of the City being greedy for Chinese money. The political system in the City of London is out of step with all other local authorities in the UK, but very much in step with authoritarian regimes around the world. Thus the City shares with China and others a desire to strangle local democracy anywhere it exists.
London’s skyline is in danger of being dominated by a forest of derelict residential towers (such as Taylor Wimpey’s under construction The Denizen) in 100 years’ time if apartment owners are unable to fund essential refurbishment work, a former leading planner warned this week. Peter Rees, previously chief planning officer for the City of London, said there was a danger funds set aside within apartment service charges for major renovation work on the new breed of private residential blocks would be insufficient to cover what was required. “If future refurbishment cycles cannot be funded by the apartment owners, their investments will become unsellable long before the expiry of their 125-year lease,” Rees said. “In 80, 90, 100 years’ time, I fear we’ll have the Thames lined with derelict towers.”Read more "Upkeep Costs May Cause Ghost Home Investors To Lose Their Shirts On Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen Development"
A few weeks after the mid-January release of plans for Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s dog’s dinner of a Centre For Music building on the site of the current Museum of London, comes news of an ambitious project to build a new classical music venue in Wimbledon (part of the Borough of Merton) in south-west London. Since there is already a concert hall in The Barbican Arts Centre, and another a few minutes away in the form of LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, it is clearly pointless building yet another classical music hangout within easy walking distance of these two existing auditoriums. What many local people want is more social housing, so why not use the Museum of London site to deliver the council flats the City of London has promised but so far failed to build?Read more "Stuff The City of London’s Centre For Music! If We Need A New Classical Concert Hall Build It In Merton!"
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"
A story in various media outlets suggests Muyeba Chikonde, Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has foolishly accepted the Freedom of the City of London. The unsavoury character of some of those given the Freedom of the City has been noted in one of our previous posts, so Muyeba Chikonde now finds himself in the company of paedophiles and disgraced politicians. The coverage we’ve seen in the Zambian media suggests the story is based on a press release issued by the Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom. However Google search results label some of this coverage ‘satire’. While getting the Freedom of the City of London is a joke, we think it likely Chikonde really did receive this ‘award’ on Monday 10 December 2018.Read more "Muyeba Chikonde’s Freedom of the City of London ‘Award’ Is A Joke"
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"