Following our coverage earlier this year of the City of London website being off-line over and after the May bank holiday – and according to rumour due to a cyber attack – it’s interesting to see the business press today reporting the massive scale of such attacks on this rotten borough. Current coverage stresses this as a danger to residents while perhaps unconsciously implying links between our local authority’s peculiar and undemocratic role in international finance and an even greater criminal threat to locals than is found elsewhere in London and across the UK, by invoking attacks on the European Central Bank. While all councils are subject to cyber attacks, it seems that the City of London is a more inviting target because of its status as perhaps the richest neo-liberal lobbyist in the world. In the interest not just of democratic accountability but also of everyone’s safety – and especially that of residents – the City’s business vote system needs to be abolished and its neo-liberal lobbying stopped once and for all. The business vote system prevents local residents having a democratic say in how their local authority is run, and ensures instead that power lies in the hands of the finance and legal industries – who chose to run the council for the benefit of global corporations and the global super rich and against the interests of both the overwhelming majority of those who actually live in the City and billions worldwide.
All four candidates in the farcical Cordwainter and Bassishaw by-elections are ‘independents’ but nonetheless support the right-wing neo-liberal agenda of the City of London. It is very hard for anyone who doesn’t hold such views to get nominated by the handful of business voters in these tiny City of London wards. These elections will be no fairer or freer than those held in North Korea and demonstrate yet again the urgent need to democratically reform the City of London.Read more "More Sham Elections In the City of London"
Two weeks ago the government published its first ever housing delivery test – which assesses how many homes have been built by every local authority over the past three years as a percentage of the number required. More than 100 town halls fell short of the 95% pass rate, while those with the biggest delivery gaps could face having some planning powers removed next year unless they step up supply. Seven councils are currently missing the 45% threshold which would trigger that scenario, including two London boroughs and the City of London Corporation…Read more "City Should Use The Museum of London Site To Build Social Housing"
Hiscox insurance boss Bronek Masojada was elected to the post of Billingsgate alderman with a grand total of 52 votes on 31 January 2019, after controversial hard-right City of London councillor Matthew Richardson stood down. 108 votes were split between five nominally independent candidates; a sixth candidate, Social Democratic Party representative Jonathan Bergdahl, got no votes. Since Billingsgate ward has three councillors to represent an electorate of just a couple of hundred business voters, 108 votes represents a respectable 46% turn out. Influence is easily wielded when there is such a ridiculous small electorate and this is something that raises suspicions that the entire City of London council is not only completely undemocratic, but possibly also deeply corrupt.Read more "Bronek Masojada Elected As Billingsgate Alderman With Fewer Votes Than He’s Had Birthdays!"
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.Read more "The Crossrail Art Foundation & City of London Artwashing"
The Crossrail deal struck between the Corporation of London when it saw headed by ‘Sir’ Michael Snyder and the 2007 Labour government highlights the blurring between the corporation’s two roles, that of a local authority with public funds and a lobbying body with even larger private funds. An internal corporation document presented to councillors in October 2007 stated that, “there would be a number of pre-conditions to be satisfied before funding was released”. One of these was “a net real terms improvement in government funding of the City Corporation”. The corporation wanted the government to reinstate a fund known as the “City Offset” “The City Offset was re-instated… in 2007 following representations from the City of London Corporation,” said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government… This means the corporation could end up recouping all of the money it is contributing to Crossrail. As the internal corporation document states, if the extra government funding to the corporation continued for fifteen years, “the eventual adverse impact on our asset base would be £15m or less”. Given that Crossrail inflates the value of lands owned by the corporation adjacent to it and the extra funding could continue for more than 15 years, the City potentially stood to make a great deal of money from this deal.Read more "‘Sir’ Michael Snyder, The City of London & Crossrail"
Given that the electorate in many City of London wards only runs to a few hundred business votes with residential voters often hovering somewhere around the single figure mark, the opportunities for insiders to manipulate the system are extensive. With such an absurdly small electoral franchise it is difficult for those who aren’t insiders to find five people to nominate them so that they can stand for election. In business vote wards such as the one in which Michael Mainelli was just re-elected unopposed, the voting process is stitched up, having been loaded in such a way so as to make it extremely difficult for those who aren’t of a right-wing and neo-liberal political persuasion to even be able to stand, let alone win an election. Broad Street is too small an area and doesn’t have enough residents to justify it electing a single councillor on its own, let alone the 4 it currently has!Read more "Michael Mainelli’s Broad Street Re-Election A Farce!"