Given ‘our’ MP and the City of London council’s good friend Mark Field’s new found visibility after he physically assaulted a Greenpeace activist at the Lord Mayor of London’s gaff the Mansion House, we weren’t surprised to read in The Guardian today of a new scandal breaking around him. Further revelations about Field may well follow this one since his leaked email on homelessness might not have been treated as news if he’d not already been in the spotlight. We don’t know where the leak came from but it seems possible that there are those in his own party who’d like to unseat him for a variety of reasons and not simply because he’s an utter embarrassment.
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"
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.Read more "Taiwan Banned From Neo-Liberal Lord Mayor’s Show As City of London & Chinese Authoritarianism Link Up"
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.Read more "Tom Hoffman Seeks Artwashers-In-Residence For City of London Council"
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?"
City of London councillors have criticised the Corporation for refurbishing the Mansion House while allowing tenants in social housing to suffer “freezing winters” in flats that they claim have fallen into disrepair. The official residence of the Lord Mayor is also used for hundreds of events each year including the annual Mansion House dinner. £1.45m has been earmarked for an external revamp that is due to be completed by 2020. At a meeting of the court of common council last week, Labour councillor William Pimlott said tenants were enduring “freezing winter months in cold flats” in Crescent House at Golden Lane, a 1950s housing estate in the ward of Cripplegate, which is to due to undergo repairs in 2021.Read more "City Of London Puts Itself First & Residents Last!"