The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 2

When we began our look at the huge overlap between the slave trading Royal Africa Company and the City of London council we quoted Historic England on this entanglement. We chose this particular source because it emphasised that the Guildhall (the City of London council offices) was a centre of the slave trade. That said we could see that the numbers used were drawn from the book The Royal African Company by K. G. Davies (Longmans Green, 1957), since on pages 68/69 Davies states: “Fifteen of the Lord Mayors of London, between the Restoration and the Revolution, and twenty-five of the Sheriffs were shareholders in the company, as were thirty-eight of the men elected or appointed aldermen between 1672 and 1690.” Historic England use the same figures and time frame in what we quoted from them. It’s important to understand that these numbers do not cover the overlaps between the City of London council and the Royal Africa Society during the entire history of this slave trading operation, just its earlier phase.

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Rogers Report On City Governance Says Our Council is ‘Sclerotic’, We’d Call It Toxic

Abolition would actually be the best way to deal with the City of London, but even if that does not happen the business vote must be abolished and the number of councillors reduced in line with councillor-resident ratios in the rest of London. Around two councillors, down from 125 (100 common councillors plus 25 aldermen), would make things proportionate – although two councillors does not really justify the existence of a City of London council. On the basis of the figures Rogers reproduces in his report it is clear that City of London councillors need only a handful of votes to get elected and even Rogers admits the system can be easily manipulated by small cliques. This isn’t democracy, it is a sham and the reason why the City of London has quite rightly acquired the nickname the last rotten borough.

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Self-Styled City Diversity ‘Champ’ Edward Lord Champions Slave Traders

We’ve written in the past about how City of London councillor and self-styled ‘diversity champion’ Edward Lord has a less than stellar record when it comes to the matters of inclusion and intersectionality. Therefore we weren’t surprised when we came across a two year-old tweet in which Lord boasted about attending the annual celebrations of slave trader John Cass. But John Cass isn’t the only transatlantic slave trade figure Lord seems to venerate. In a speech at the City of London council’s Guildhall HQ on 10 October 2019, Lord cited William Beckford Senior as a historically inspirational figure. Beckford was the richest man in the world in his time because of the huge number of slaves he owned. Lord apparently thinks this is a mere detail that can be glossed over.

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Mark Field & the City of London’s Culture of Misogyny & Entitlement

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.

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Ian Paisley Jr, Aung San Suu Kyi & Paedophile Keith Harding All Awarded Freedom of the City of London

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.

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Officially It’s The Denizen But To Locals It’s The Turd!

Central London is full of developments known by ridiculous names like The Shard, The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie and The Cheesegrater. Many of these monikers are informally conferred on the buildings. While not yet built, The Denizen’s nickname The Turd is fitting because it absolutely stinks that the site was flogged off to Taylor Wimpey by the City of London, and then granted planning permission by the same local authority. It simultaneously underscores that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris broke the rule that architects shouldn’t shit on their own doorstep. That’s exactly what AHMM have done with The Turd, the site is a short walk from their Old Street office. The Denizen’s design makes it look like a toxic crap from another unloved local ghost home complex, The Bum, officially TP Bennett’s Bezier apartments on Old Street roundabout.

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Chris Hayward: Clockwork Tory

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.

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Social Housing Not Social Cleansing! Stop The Gerrymander Mansions Luxury Development In Golden Lane!

The residential electorate in the City only numbers a few thousand, so unfortunately it’s easy for entrenched interests to game the system by uprooting relatively small parts of the population to change the social composition of Wards. Thus the status quo’s response to growing dissatisfaction and self-organisation is to shift as much social housing as possible outside the tiny borough and increase the overall percentage of compliant rich living within its boundaries. One manifestation of this was the decision to shut down the police section house on Golden Lane, which was built to put a roof over the heads of around 110 people. At the time of its closure Bernard Morgan House was housing not just cops but nurses as well; whether it had become surplus to police requirements is a moot point, but it was certainly still needed for NHS staff and school teachers.

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