James Thomson Becoming Chair Of City Of London Police Authority Board Further Undermines Public Confidence

A news splash on the City of London council website yesterday announced that James Thomson has been elected as chairman of the City of London Police Authority Board. While this will surprise few who follow City of London politics – since Thomson has been on the board for the past five years and has occupied the post of deputy chairman for the past three – it will nevertheless further undermine public confidence in the City of London Police because of a series of controversies that continue to swirl around this councillor.

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City of London’s Policing Fail

One reason for the disproportion number of attacks on City of London Police would seem to be a lack of public confidence in this rather anachronistic force. In our view the biggest problem is having the Court of Common Council acting as the police authority for the City of London Police. If this was changed to a more regular form of oversight, then police officers in the City would be both safer and better able to carry out their duties because people would have greater faith in them. While the Court of Common Council is elected this is mostly on undemocratic business votes, rather than by residents, something very different to how police and crime commissioners are chosen elsewhere in the UK. The current deputy chairman of the council’s police committee is James Thomson and there are questions still to be answered about his vote – and that of Christopher Hayward also on the police committee – in favour of granting planning permission for Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen on the site of Bernard Morgan House, a City of London Police property sold to developers at what many see as an inflated price. Aside from the potential conflict of interest over attempting to fix a blown police budget, Thomson and Hayward – and another councillor Sir Michael Bear – also have yet to explain why they felt able to vote in favour of planning permission for The Denizen despite roles at firms who worked with Taylor Wimpey.

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The City of London Electoral Farce Rolls On!

The fact that a Lib-Dem such as Patrick Streeter and Labour Party candidates function as anti-establishment figures within the City of London says a lot about the cosy and anti-democratic political set-up in this rotten borough. Another indication of what’s wrong is the fact that Karina Robinson has been openly campaigning to become Candlewick alderman prior to there being any official announcement of the election on the City of London council website. Knowing in advance of the rest of us exactly when elections are coming up gives insiders and establishment figures yet more anti-democratic advantages.

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Banksy Murals & Golden Lane Ghost Homes

We have absolutely no problem with Banksy’s PR work on Basquiat’s behalf – because we like the artist he’s paying tribute to! Likewise Banksy was almost certainly unaware of how Taylor Wimpey – with help from the least democratic council in the UK – are planning to screw over local people with their Denizen development blocking up to 70% of light from our local flats, schools and park; but nonetheless if he’s serious about being a ‘street artist’ then Banksy should take a stand against this project since he’s installed his new murals right next to its proposed site. Less urgently we’d also like Banksy clarify his position on the Culture Mile, yet another cynical City of London project we oppose.

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Denizen Property Investors Go To Hell!

Fraudulent Denizen promotional blurb aimed at residential property investors: “The Barbican is the ancient heart of the City of London, a place steeped in history. During the 17th century, it attracted the entrepreneurial, the conspiring and the artistic. In the area’s many coffeehouses, plans were laid, and great minds met. William Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and John Milton all worked here. It’s a legacy we see today in the Barbican Centre and the City’s enterprising spirit.” The Barbican Complex is actually a world-class example of brutalist architecture built around fifty years ago. It is located in a neighbourhood called Cripplegate, and it lies beyond the original city wall; obviously this is not ‘the ancient heart of the City of London’ because it was not actually a part of the original city at all, it lay outside it! Likewise, in Shakespeare and Johnson’s time the area was notorious for its brothels. This is why Johnson among others refers to the place as Pict-hatch; which was also the name for the studded split entry doors that were a feature of bawdy houses of that time. Taylor Wimpey should be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority for their blatant misrepresentation of Cripplegate Without’s location and history!

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