Stuart Fraser & The City of London’s Antipathy To Democracy

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.

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The Sex Offence Allegations Against City Connected MP Charlie Elphicke

Sex offence allegations about Charlie Elphicke recently surfaced. His wife Natalie Elphicke plays a key role in the sinister Housing & Finance Institute (HFI). The HFI was set by the Cameron–Clegg coalition government and based on a review conducted by Natalie Elphicke and Keith House; but even if the HFI originated outside the City of London’s orbit, it is now well within it. That said, even before the review that led to the HFI being set up, Natalie Elphicke and her husband Charlie had ties to the City of London including involvement in the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association. Charlie Elphicke was deputy chairman of this particular Conservative Association from 2002 to 2006. Likewise, the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field has been a brother-in-law to Charlie Elphicke since his marriage to Victoria Elphicke a decade or so ago.

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Bank Of England & Billy Bragg, A Marriage Made In Heaven?

“Democracy is not enough. We need to hold corporations to account,” says Billy Bragg. While democracy may or may not be enough, contra Bragg, in the City of London –where the Bank of England is located and Bragg is set to deliver a speech on accountability – democracy would make a huge difference not just to the residents of this rotten borough, but the entire world. It isn’t clear whether Bragg doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the 80% of City of London councillors are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and that local residents have virtually no say in the running of the area. Bragg implies we already have democracy when we don’t. It’s also significant that the rotten borough Bragg’s being feted in is the power base from which the finance industry plots its course of state capture and tax havenry around the world. Establishing democracy in the City of London by – among other things – abolishing the business vote, would do much to curb the unchecked power of the wealthy elite’s financial lobby.

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James Thomson & The City of London Property Development Lobby

At a City of London planning committee meeting last year both James Thomson and Mark Boleat voted in favour of Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development; this will replace 110 social housing units with 99 over-priced luxury flats and with no on site social or affordable housing. This demonstrates exactly where both men are coming from on housing issues. It’s all about money-making over local social need. James Thomson was formerly deputy chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Cushman and Wakefield, commercial property and real estate consultants, which marketed and sold the site he voted to grant planning permission for to Taylor Wimpey. Likewise, the local authority to which Thomson has been ‘elected’ doesn’t seem in the least bit bothered about how it looks when it gives work to the company of which he is the CEO.

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Chris Hayward, Mark Boleat, The Denizen & A Housing Market Rotting From The Top

Curious isn’t it that at least two City of London councillors responsible for poor planning decisions as regards housing in Cripplegate also happen to live in the suburban Three Rivers district that has recently been flagged up as suffering from spiralling homelessness. What’s more one of them, Chris Hayward, is actually a councillor in that part of Hertfordshire. The other, Mark Boleat, is chair of the Housing & Finance Institute – which lobbies on behalf of property developers, is backed financially by the Corporation of London, and punts what it calls ‘solutions’ to the so-called housing crisis that will only make matters worse.

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Alastair Moss: The City Of London’s Putin Of Planning

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.

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Chris Hayward Still Out To Lunch on Public Perceptions of Probity!

We’re still waiting for the potential conflicts of interests involving planning permission being granted to Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development in Golden Lane to be properly addressed by the City of London council (as reported in The Guardian, Daily Mail and elsewhere); these involved Chris Hayward, ‘Sir’ Michael Bear and James Thomson. Meanwhile, this issue just keeps popping up in new guises. While it was heartening to see Bear step down as a councillor late last year (although we don’t know why he did so), the City’s awarding of contracts to Thomson’s Keepmoat continues to rankle Cripplegate residents, and Chris Hayward has strayed back into the probity spotlight for a variety of reasons.

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We Demand Votes For The Dead In The City of London!

The City of London is the only local authority in the UK to retain the business vote, and this gives the dead hand of finance control of the council while simultaneously depriving local residents of a proper democratic voice. If non-residents can vote in the City of London why not let the dead vote too? Of course, the potential number of dead voters is far larger than those who get the business vote, but that will make the contest fairer since there is nothing just about non-residents being able to vote.

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Catherine McGuinness & The Wrecking Ball Smashing Democracy

The London based architectural firm that designed the new Beijing international airport is headed by Patrik Schumacher, whose controversial calls for the scrapping of planning restrictions and planning regulations neatly chime with those of Mark Boleat and his colleagues at both the City of London and the Housing & Finance Institute. When it comes to housing and much else, the ideology of the Chinese authorities and the City of London are often hard to differentiate. And this is simply one of many reasons why we must fight against them. Hong Kong-Beijing-City of London, one struggle for democracy!

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Charles Bowman Wants You To Trust The City!

The new Lord Mayor of London is Charles Bowman and he’s been saying repeatedly he wants the public to trust the City. If Bowman is serious about making public trust his priority while he’s the Lord Mayor, he should be reforming the undemocratic and anachronistic political system in the City of London. He could start by abolishing the business vote and the office of alderman, he is after all the first among equals in the latter. He also needs to address the question of vested interests and make sure firms like Keepmoat who have (or have recently had) top management sitting on the City of London council, aren’t given contracts by this local authority. Bowman needs to ‘Keep Keepmoat Out Of The City’.

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