When discussing English slave trading the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company are key reference points and both have deep roots in the City of London. Many of the individuals implicated in the black holocaust through their involvement in these two slave trading entities also played key roles in local government in the City of London including as lord mayors, sheriffs and members of livery companies. Some of these slave traders are still memorialised in the City of London. Memorials tend to erase the complexities of history through simple celebration, which is why their removal from public spaces generally enhances historical understanding. That said, the undemocratic and still in many ways feudal local government machinery of the City of London is also in its contemporary form a product of the slave trade and it is more important that this is dismantled than that statues are removed and streets get renamed. It would, however, be ideal if both the governance of the City was democratically reformed and its problematic memorials removed.Read more "The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1"
In recent months we’ve noticed grumbles on Barbican Talk about new Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken that resemble the complaints we heard about her predecessor Mark Field for years. Today Aiken put out a statement about the top government advisor Dominic Cummings. From what we’ve seen on Twitter, Aiken’s statement on this matter hasn’t gone down well with her constituents. So this is likely to overshadow Aiken’s truly loopy interview with City of London council boss Catherine McGuinness in which the latter claims sandwich shops make the square mile ‘exciting’….Read more "Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken & The Property Speculator Elite"
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.Read more "Cities of London & Westminster MP Mark Field Hates The Homeless As Well As Environmentalists"
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"
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"
If the City of London was a transparent and democratic local authority it would stringently vet those being awarded its honours and have a mechanism for revoking them should reasons for doing so come to light once they are bestowed. Unfortunately the City of London is feudal and in desperate need of democratic reform, with its honours system being as out of step with modern standards as its political set up. Not only are eighty-percent of its councilors elected on undemocratic business votes, and as a result its residents have virtually no influence over its policies, it is necessary to have been bestowed the Freedom of the City of London to stand in local elections. In other words, anyone who wants to contest a City of London council seat has to first apply for a dubious ‘honour’ that’s been doled out to paedophiles and human rights abusers. That in itself, let alone the rigged political system, is enough to put many off contesting council seats.Read more "Ian Paisley Jr, Aung San Suu Kyi & Paedophile Keith Harding All Awarded Freedom of the City of London"
Until the City of London is democratically reformed with the abolition of business votes and a reduction in the number of its councillors to a level commensurate with its residential electorate, its political system will provide an attractive target for those inclined to manipulate voting systems and seeking an easy route to power and influence. We will continue to keep an eye on upcoming City of London elections. Later this year Matthew Richardson is scheduled to step down as Billingsgate alderman. An election in that ward might well be of wider interest than the alderman contests we’ve reported in recent posts.Read more "Sue Langley, Aldermen & The City of London’s Rotten Political System"
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.Read more "The Sex Offence Allegations Against City Connected MP Charlie Elphicke"
The skyscrapers Hayward wants to see built aren’t simply office space; they are as Alex Simpson observed in an article published on City Metric earlier this year ‘a monument to the city’s worship of finance’. As Simpson notes, developers are sometimes over ambitious and some projects fail. After funding dried up, The Pinnacle was left as a partially built shell and became known as The Stump. Perhaps Hayward is dreaming that the redevelopment of The Stump as 22 Bishopsgate might in some way parallel his future political career no matter how unlikely this seems. On his City website Hayward boasts of 30 years experience in local government and stresses that the last four were as a councillor for the utterly undemocratic business vote ward of Broad Street. Hayward has been forced to scale down his political ambitions from being an MP to being one of a tiny group of councillors ‘elected’ on no votes whatsoever; and it seems that the only way to get Hayward to scale down his support for overdevelopment in the form of schemes like Gerrymander Mansions is to smash the rotten City of London political culture in which he’s enmeshed.Read more "Chris Hayward: Clockwork Tory"