We call on all those involved in the culture industry and more specifically those commissioned by or involved in commissioning for The Crossrail Art Foundation to boycott this organisation and any work it manages to install on the ‘Elizabeth Line’. Beneficiaries of these commissions and commissioning agencies currently include Spencer Finch, Darren Almond, Richard Wright, Douglas Gordon, Simon Periton, Yayoi Kusama, Conrad Shawcross, Michal Rovner, Chantal Joffe, FutureCity, Lisson Gallery, White Cube, Sadie Coles HQ, Victoria Miro, Whitechapel Gallery and PACE. To what extent these individuals and art organisations were aware of the nefarious activities of the City of London when they involved themselves with the Crossrail Art Foundation is unclear, but once they’re alerted to what’s going on unless they actively support the City of London’s anti-democratic agenda we would expect them to drop this connection.
The City of London is not democratic because this council is elected mostly on business votes given to the likes of bankers who don’t live within its local authority boundaries. As a result it ignores local residents’ interests and instead spends millions of pounds a year lobbying for neo-liberal causes. We’ve also seen the council’s former leader Mark Boleat agitate for the removal of democracy from other UK councils when it comes to planning decisions, and this was done with the financial backing of the City of London Corporation. Likewise, the City of London Standards Committee appears incapable of properly addressing conflict of interest and inclusion issues when it comes to subsidising freemasonic activity by its members and their friends. That said, a story that appeared in a couple of local newspapers this week shows that the Standards Committee and their supporters in the City of London have now totally lost the plot with regard to their rabid attitudes toward local residents and democracy.Read more "City of London Loses The Plot In Its Crusade Against Democracy"
Those familiar with the City of London council will not be surprised by the news that after landing a huge grant from the Mayor of London’s housing investment scheme, it has quietly dropped its plan to build 3700 new council homes by 2025. Likewise it would be silly to take at all seriously the claim: “The corporation said its budget for building new homes had come under pressure…” The modest size of this ‘pressured’ budget is a political decision; the Corporation could cease spending the millions in interest generated by its City’s Cash sovereign wealth fund on lobbying for neo-liberal economic policies and instead use the money for house building. However this is unlikely to happen until there is democratic reform of the local authority and the council chamber ceases to be controlled by undemocratic business votes.Read more "City of London’s Neo-Liberal Politics Puts Londoners’ Housing Needs Last"
The City’s representational role for the finance industry brings with it the cost of it failing to perform its representational role for those who live in its local authority area; we seem to be viewed as an inconvenience. Much needed democratic checks on the City’s neo-liberal propaganda activities are thwarted by a council election system dominated by business votes. The City needs reforming and this should begin with the abolition of business votes. One person, one vote, is the basis of all truly democratic systems. Those awarded business votes in the City get to vote both there and where they live. Most people having one vote, with a handful getting two, is fundamentally undemocratic.Read more "Mark Boleat On The City & Anti-Democractic ‘Representation’"
Many see the City of London as an old boys network shot through with nepotism. The fact that councillor William Russell has already occupied the position of aldermanic sheriff and looks set to become a Lord Mayor is indicative of this. Russell’s great grandfather Frank Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1938-1939. Frank Bowater’s older brother Thomas Vansittart Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1913-1914 and also a conservative MP for the City from 1924 to 1938. Frank Bowater’s oldest son Noel Vansittart Bowater was Lord Mayor of London 1953-1954. Frank Bowater’s youngest son Ian Frank Bowater – William Russell’s grandfather – was Lord Mayor of London 1969-1970. If William Russell becomes the fifth member of his family to be Lord Mayor of London in just over 100 years, this can justly be perceived as dynastic and will serve to underscore that a local authority elected on business votes can never be meritocratic. Even the ultra-reactionary City A.M. rag has used the old boy phrase when covering Russell’s rise through this local authority’s hierarchy.Read more "William Russell, Barker Bridge, The City of London, Cronyism & Self-Aggrandisement"
This week’s alderman election in the Ward of Cheap highlights what’s wrong with the City of London election system, since for a grand total of 12 residents and 467 voters there is an alderman and 3 common councillors (4 councillors in total). That’s a councillor for roughly every 117 voters, and if we take away those with undemocratic business votes who also get to vote for someone else wherever they live, one councillor for every 3 residential voters! The minuscule voter numbers are absurd and the entire system inevitably leads to unfairness. Consider, for example, the need to get 5 people entitled to vote within the ward to nominate anyone who wishes to stand as a candidate in council elections. Anyone with views at odds with the finance industry is unlikely to find 5 people on the register of voters in business vote dominated wards who would nominate them.Read more "City of London Alderman Elections Absurd & Obscene"
Perhaps nothing better sums up Stuart Fraser as a demagogue who has no time for democracy than the following quote: “I would be most content if I leave the City in a better state than I came to it. Yes, it’s a general statement, but I would still like the City of London to dominate the world.” From “Stuart Fraser keeps a cool head in the eye of the storm” by Yvette Essen, Daily Telegraph, 2 June 2008. Needless to say it’s dictators who seek to dominate the world, not democrats. And not quite a ‘newsflash’ for Stuart Fraser: after the crash and political fall out from that, you’ve left the City of London weaker than when you headed this reprehensible anti-democratic institution. From here on in it looks like things can only get worse for this rotten borough.Read more "Stuart Fraser & The City of London’s Antipathy To Democracy"