Earlier this month the City of London publicised the extremely deceptive claim that the finance sector made a massive tax contribution to the UK economy; this was then picked up from their press department and uncritically run as a story by various tame media outlets. We’d planned to write a blog countering the blatant manipulation of statistics involved if no one else did. However, Prem Sikka stepped forward and did the work for us, so all we need to do here is reproduce his piece from Left Foot Forward.
Given that the electorate in many City of London wards only runs to a few hundred business votes with residential voters often hovering somewhere around the single figure mark, the opportunities for insiders to manipulate the system are extensive. With such an absurdly small electoral franchise it is difficult for those who aren’t insiders to find five people to nominate them so that they can stand for election. In business vote wards such as the one in which Michael Mainelli was just re-elected unopposed, the voting process is stitched up, having been loaded in such a way so as to make it extremely difficult for those who aren’t of a right-wing and neo-liberal political persuasion to even be able to stand, let alone win an election. Broad Street is too small an area and doesn’t have enough residents to justify it electing a single councillor on its own, let alone the 4 it currently has!Read more "Michael Mainelli’s Broad Street Re-Election A Farce!"
Leaders at the City of London Corporation have been criticised after the prestigious Mansion House was used to honour the “humanitarian” work of the wife of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has thrown thousands of his own people in jail. Emine Erdoğan was given an award by the Global Donors Forum at the prestigious venue “in recognition of her humanitarian service”. Her husband’s regime in Turkey is seen by many as brutal and dictatorial, increasingly run by a clique of his close family and friends.Read more "Alison Gowman, Emine Erdogan & The City of London’s Vested Interests"
The City’s representational role for the finance industry brings with it the cost of it failing to perform its representational role for those who live in its local authority area; we seem to be viewed as an inconvenience. Much needed democratic checks on the City’s neo-liberal propaganda activities are thwarted by a council election system dominated by business votes. The City needs reforming and this should begin with the abolition of business votes. One person, one vote, is the basis of all truly democratic systems. Those awarded business votes in the City get to vote both there and where they live. Most people having one vote, with a handful getting two, is fundamentally undemocratic.Read more "Mark Boleat On The City & Anti-Democractic ‘Representation’"
“Democracy is not enough. We need to hold corporations to account,” says Billy Bragg. While democracy may or may not be enough, contra Bragg, in the City of London –where the Bank of England is located and Bragg is set to deliver a speech on accountability – democracy would make a huge difference not just to the residents of this rotten borough, but the entire world. It isn’t clear whether Bragg doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the 80% of City of London councillors are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and that local residents have virtually no say in the running of the area. Bragg implies we already have democracy when we don’t. It’s also significant that the rotten borough Bragg’s being feted in is the power base from which the finance industry plots its course of state capture and tax havenry around the world. Establishing democracy in the City of London by – among other things – abolishing the business vote, would do much to curb the unchecked power of the wealthy elite’s financial lobby.Read more "Bank Of England & Billy Bragg, A Marriage Made In Heaven?"
In recent days the press have been reporting on Robert Davis as a ‘councillor under fire over ludicrous levels of hospitality’ entailing ’60 visits to the theatre, 10 foreign trips, 296 free meals’. One of Davis’s former Conservative colleagues on Westminster City Council, Alastair Moss, is currently deputy chair of planning at the neighbouring City of London council.Read more "Alastair Moss: The City Of London’s Putin Of Planning"
The ‘culture’ corporate funders like the City of London back impoverishes us and the world. Rather than understanding culture as a living and evolving part of our community, the City and its friends want to impose their vapid tastes on us. The aim is to displace living cultures with a dead one based on consumption, where the bottom line is coldly calculated in cash. For us what must always come first are the social relations that create cultures; in stark contrast the ‘City of Culture’ model is based on the commodification and reification of human activity. City of London artwashing is both an attempt to throw a cloak of respectability over the money-grabbing activities of the rich, and a continuation of these activities by transforming what were truly human activities and relations into economic calculations in which objects and balance sheets are valued over what really matters – the people!Read more "Boycott City of London Artwashing"