In the absence of democratic accountability, conflicts of interest are inevitable. What is the connection between Michael Bear, head of a local authority in the heart of our capital, and Michael Bear, property developer for Hammerson? This question is especially difficult to answer when the local authority and Hammerson are working together on multi-million pound projects. It’s high time a clear light was shone on this murky world.Read more "There Are Still Questions About Michael Bear We Want Answered"
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"
City of London councillor Tom Hoffman’s desire to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers is deeply problematic. Here we will focus only on local colonial issues, although obviously the global aspects of this colonialism should be borne in mind too. Those onboard the Mayflower were English Protestants known at the time as Puritans because they sought to ‘purify’ their religious practices of Roman Catholic influences and maintained that the Church of England had not been fully reformed. The City has longstanding connections to both Protestantism in its Puritan forms and the colonial atrocities associated with this. Much of modern racism was invented and elaborated by hack writers from the Grub Street area on the edge of the City, and it was they who first depicted Irish Catholics as apes, a racist slur subsequently transferred to Africans. This is what Hoffman is celebrating.Read more "Tom Hoffman Seeks Artwashers-In-Residence For City of London Council"
Various media outlets are reporting this morning Extinction Rebellion will be targeting the City of London today because the finance industry funds ecological destruction. Let’s hope this is just a prelude to a new phase of Occupy London.Read more "Extinction Rebellion Targets The City of London"
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"
Why David Wootton thinks ‘it is not the time or circumstance to begin the process to remove the honorary freedom’ awarded to Aung San Suu Ky is something we believe he should explain at length. That said his position clearly has more to do with the neo-liberal politics of the City of London and its jockeying for the interests of the rich at the expense of ordinary people around the world, than the wishes of the local people he and the majority of his fellow councillors so blatantly fail to represent.Read more "David Wootton, Aung San Suu Kyi & Freedom of the City of London"
Following the Occupy London protests in 2012, the Corporation released information about “City’s Cash”—the “sovereign wealth fund” stemming from the 15th century. Over 52 percent of its reserve in that year came from investments, with 29 percent from school fees, 8 percent from rent, and 9 percent from grants, contributions and reimbursements. By 2016 its assets stood at £2.3 billion, generating £210 million yearly. The 2018-23 Corporate Plan cynically insists “everything we do contributes toward the achievement of twelve outcomes.” Those listed include: “People have equal opportunities to enrich their lives and reach their full potential” and to “Help provide homes that London and Londoner’s need.” The City of London actually devotes its main energies to furthering the inequality that produces untold misery and hardship.Read more "The City of London, House Building Targets & Business Votes"
Since The Denizen is being marketed to property investors in Hong Kong among other places, some of those who buy into these as yet unbuilt ghost flats are likely to hail from that territory. The lack of democracy in the City of London will be familiar to them from their hometown. The local council here is positively feudal and is largely elected on a business vote (something long abolished in the rest of the UK). Both Hong Kong and the City of London could do with a revived version of the ‘umbrella revolution’ associated with the Occupy Central democracy movement on Hong Kong Island. However it seems more likely that those buying into The Denizen off-plan will come to terms with ‘the life within’ by drinking several bottles of rum a day, rather than by participating in future Occupy London protests.Read more "The Denizen & Life Within, A Rum Old Story"