Tom Hoffman Seeks Artwashers-In-Residence For City of London Council

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.

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‘Sir’ Michael Snyder, The City of London & Crossrail

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.

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David Wootton, Aung San Suu Kyi & Freedom of the City of London

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.

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The City of London, House Building Targets & Business Votes

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.

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The Denizen & Life Within, A Rum Old Story

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.

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