The City of London Council Motion On Hong Kong

At its most recent meeting, the City of London council passed a motion which welcomed Hong Kong residents pursuant to the British Government’s offer to them of extended resident rights in the UK, and criticised China’s imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong. Will the Lord Mayor and Chair of Policy and Resources respect the will of the council by ceasing to deal with China in a way that avoids criticising it for human rights abuses? As part of that new approach, will they take the lead in reversing the decision to exclude Taiwan from the Lord Mayor’s Show, which was made on political grounds to appease the People’s Republic of China?

Read more "The City of London Council Motion On Hong Kong"

Graeme Harrower On Proposed Postponement Of City Elections

The City of London council is proposing to postpone the election of its 100 common councillors from March 2021 to March 2022. What little democracy there is in the City shouldn’t be postponed by a year for no good reason. The bill that will be presented refers to a 14th century statute of Edward III as giving authority to postpone council elections, on the basis that doing so is “profitable to the King and to the citizens” and “agreeable … to reason and good faith”. There is real reason to doubt that this statute provides authority to postpone these elections but postponing them is in any case undemocratic and unreasonable.

Read more "Graeme Harrower On Proposed Postponement Of City Elections"

Cripplegate Councillor David Graves Unilaterally Extends His Own Term Of Office

David Graves, the alderman (a councillor) for Cripplegate Ward reached the end of his six year term of office on 17 June 2020. The archaic conventions that govern this archaic public office require that upon the expiry of the term of office of an alderman, he or she submits a “letter of surrender“ to the lord mayor. When asked, Alderman Graves explained he had not submitted his “letter of surrender“ because: “given the current CV-19 concerns and limitations, I decided that to trigger a 42 day electoral process now would be inappropriate and unsuitable for the good conduct of a fair election.” But his submitting a “letter of surrender“ would not have triggered the 42 day electoral process. The letter would first need to be “received” by the Court of Aldermen. The Covid crisis is one of the few situations imaginable in which the Court could justifiably defer the start of the electoral process – but for no longer than necessary. Should not the time at which the electoral process starts be a matter for the Court of Aldermen to decide, rather than the alderman whose term of office has expired and who seeks re-election?

Read more "Cripplegate Councillor David Graves Unilaterally Extends His Own Term Of Office"

The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1

When discussing English slave trading the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company are key reference points and both have deep roots in the City of London. Many of the individuals implicated in the black holocaust through their involvement in these two slave trading entities also played key roles in local government in the City of London including as lord mayors, sheriffs and members of livery companies. Some of these slave traders are still memorialised in the City of London. Memorials tend to erase the complexities of history through simple celebration, which is why their removal from public spaces generally enhances historical understanding. That said, the undemocratic and still in many ways feudal local government machinery of the City of London is also in its contemporary form a product of the slave trade and it is more important that this is dismantled than that statues are removed and streets get renamed. It would, however, be ideal if both the governance of the City was democratically reformed and its problematic memorials removed.

Read more "The City of London & The Slave Trade Part 1"

COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City

The failure to suspend construction work on the City of London’s COLPAI project during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown has generated enormous anger among residents of this local authority’s Golden Lane Estate. This is hardly surprising given these residents found themselves stuck at home a few metres from non-essential but ongoing noisy building work. Critical blogs on the subject by local councillors Sue Pearson and Graeme Harrower have been avidly read. Some of the comments beneath them are heart wrenching, such as one written by the father of a sick child undergoing treatment for cancer. This entire family must remain in isolation due to the high risk the pandemic poses to its youngest child. while the mega-rich City of London council turns a deaf ear on their plight.

Read more "COLPAI Construction Work, Lockdown & The Democratic Reform Of The City"

Abolish The Business Vote & Solve City Election ‘Conundrum’ At A Stroke!

The Covid 19 lockdown is causing a variety of elections to be held up and My London News reports this has caused a conundrum for the City of London, since its delayed common council elections may clash with the put back Greater London Assembly elections. As might be surmised from the My London News piece, 80% of City of London councillors are elected on undemocratic business votes given to bankers and lawyers who work in the City but who don’t actually live here. This feudal voting system is crying out for reform and if business votes were abolished there would be no need for City of London elections that clash with GLA elections – because City resident voters only exist in sufficient number to make up a small ward within another local authority. There is only an election conundrum now because of the out-dated political system in the City; modernise by incorporating the square mile into a neighbouring local authority (or two or more)  and the difficulty no longer arises!

Read more "Abolish The Business Vote & Solve City Election ‘Conundrum’ At A Stroke!"

City of London Shows Contempt For Its Residents & Democracy With Covid-19 ‘Civic Leadership’ Claims

It was announced yesterday that William Russell’s term as Lord Mayor of the City of London will be doubled to provide ‘continuity’ and ‘civic leadership’ through the current pandemic. Civic is usually understood to mean relating to a city or municipality, whereas Russell’s Covid-19 statements are mostly about the global financial industry. Russell is the fifth member of his family to hold the top council job of Lord Mayor in just over 100 years, this nepotism will be compounded when he gets his second term. As we’ve already reported, the ‘election’ in which he gained office was rigged and the one that will allow him to remain in post will be too.

Read more "City of London Shows Contempt For Its Residents & Democracy With Covid-19 ‘Civic Leadership’ Claims"

Tim Hailes, Edward Lord & The City Of London’s Twisting On Equality & Diversity

Taken out of the broader context of their City of London political activities and affiliations, the arguments Tim Hailes and Edward Lord make for equality appear very reasonable; closer examination shows they’re pushing an agenda of paying lip service to diversity and making concessions that are hard to avoid, while attempting to preserve a patriarchal status quo whose main interest is defending the privileges of a super-rich elite. Both appear incapable of pushing beyond their current agendas to a more inclusive vision of equality that is critical of male privilege and class privilege in all their forms – including men only masonry.

Read more "Tim Hailes, Edward Lord & The City Of London’s Twisting On Equality & Diversity"

Graeme Harrower’s City of London Corportation Xmas Quiz

A significant part of the financial City lies outside the City’s boundaries: banks and professional services firms in Canary Wharf, and fund managers in Mayfair. There are no  business voters in these places, or in any other financial centre, like New York. No-one  complains that the absence of business voters in these places affects business. So why are business voters needed within the City’s boundaries?

Read more "Graeme Harrower’s City of London Corportation Xmas Quiz"

City of London Residents Battle Their Council To Save The Barbican

A City resident obtained, through a freedom of information request, the following information about Michael Snyder, a supporter of the proposed expansion of the City of London School for Girls. I thought you might want to have it by way of background. He became a City councillor in 1986. He has been a member of the Policy and Resources Committee for 22 years. He joined it in 1997, and was Chair from 2005 -2007 and Deputy Chair in 2008. He has been on the Board of Governors of the CLSG for 29 years, from 1989 to 2013 and from 2014 to the present. He was Chair from 2014 -2016 and Deputy Chair in 1990. I have checked with the Town Clerk’s department on whether there is maximum period for which a member can sit on either of these bodies. The answer is no. In fact, there is no maximum length of service on any City committee or board except the Audit and Risk Management Committee and the Standards Committee, which have a regulatory function, and the Barbican Centre Board and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which are “high status” appointments that many members covet.

Read more "City of London Residents Battle Their Council To Save The Barbican"