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"
In a recent blog we reported on how for hundreds of years those holding the top posts at the City of London council have been celebrating the slave trader John Cass whose memorials have been hastily removed from across east central and east London following Black Lives Matter protests. As we previously relayed, pages about the annual ‘Founder’s Day’ celebration of this slave trader have been deleted from the website of the foundation named after him. Although documentation of this year’s John Cass Founder’s Day debacle has not been preserved at the Internet Archive, at least some of what his foundation posted about this event prior to 2020 can be accessed there. These include a 2017 photo of City grandees at the event, with the current lord mayor William Russell prominent in his then role as sheriff, with everyone posing in front of a notorious set of seventeenth-century racist paintings by Robert Robinson. Since then we’ve found some more photos of William Russell at this event despite the Sir John Cass’s Foundation deleting pages from its website about this annual celebration of the slave trader.Read more "More Photos Of Lord Mayor Of London William Russell Celebrating Slave Trader John Cass"
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"
In previous posts we’ve focussed on both lord mayor-in-waiting Vincent Keaveny and current lord mayor William Russell participating in the ‘Founder’s Day’ celebration of slave trader John Cass in 2019 and 2017 respectively. Here we will skim through some of the outstanding visual material we have about this annual event which for hundreds of years has been attended by those holding the top posts at the City of London council. However, first we will revisit a picture used in a previous post to put the spotlight on that other lord mayor-in-waiting Michael Mainelli, who we’ve written about more than once before. Here Mainelli is caught on camera on 27 February 2020 in his role of sheriff celebrating the slave trader John Cass on ‘Founder’s Day’.Read more "Michael Mainelli & Other City of London Councillors Celebrating Slave Trader John Cass"
A news splash on the City of London council website yesterday announced that James Thomson has been elected as chairman of the City of London Police Authority Board. While this will surprise few who follow City of London politics – since Thomson has been on the board for the past five years and has occupied the post of deputy chairman for the past three – it will nevertheless further undermine public confidence in the City of London Police because of a series of controversies that continue to swirl around this councillor.Read more "James Thomson Becoming Chair Of City Of London Police Authority Board Further Undermines Public Confidence"
Like many members of the City of London council, ‘alderman’ Vincent Keaveny clearly finds it politic to make the right noises about diversity but at the same time his actions not only speak louder than his words, they also tend to contradict them. For example, on 6 February 2019 in his then role as City of London aldermanic sheriff, Keaveny attended the annual Founder’s Day celebration of slave trader John Cass. By way of contrast, Keaveny also tweets reasonably frequently about diversity. He tweeted on 30 June this year about a Power of Inclusion webinar featuring lord mayor William Russell and stating: “Difficult questions already flagged up.” However the difficult questions didn’t seem to include why almost every City of London lord mayor and most sheriffs – including both Russell and Keaveny – have for hundreds of years attended the annual celebration of slave trader John Cass.Read more "Vincent Keaveny & The City Of London’s Instrumentalisation of ‘Diversity’"
David Graves, the alderman (a councillor) for Cripplegate Ward reached the end of his six year term of office on 17 June 2020. The archaic conventions that govern this archaic public office require that upon the expiry of the term of office of an alderman, he or she submits a “letter of surrender“ to the lord mayor. When asked, Alderman Graves explained he had not submitted his “letter of surrender“ because: “given the current CV-19 concerns and limitations, I decided that to trigger a 42 day electoral process now would be inappropriate and unsuitable for the good conduct of a fair election.” But his submitting a “letter of surrender“ would not have triggered the 42 day electoral process. The letter would first need to be “received” by the Court of Aldermen. The Covid crisis is one of the few situations imaginable in which the Court could justifiably defer the start of the electoral process – but for no longer than necessary. Should not the time at which the electoral process starts be a matter for the Court of Aldermen to decide, rather than the alderman whose term of office has expired and who seeks re-election?Read more "Cripplegate Councillor David Graves Unilaterally Extends His Own Term Of Office"
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"