Why Do The City of London’s Senior Councillors Exclude The Public From Their Meetings?

The City of London council has yet to evolve from its feudal form and is still divided into three chambers. At the bottom is common hall made up of unelected livery company members who pretty much rubber stamp what the upper chamber tells them to do when electing lord mayors and sheriffs. Then there is the court of common council and an upper chamber called the court of aldermen. The councillors who sit in the courts are ‘elected’ rotten borough style by tiny numbers of people most of whom don’t live in the City – but who under the business vote system are allowed to vote where they work as well as where they live. Obviously this charade is in urgent need of democratic reform and questioning every aspect of the council’s arcane practices can contribute to that – which is what Graeme Harrower, a rare sane voice at the Guildhall, is doing. Here Harrower draws attention to a meeting on 8 December 2020 at which the aldermen will be discussing why they meet in private (and doing so in private).

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Vincent Keaveny & The City Of London’s Instrumentalisation of ‘Diversity’

Like many members of the City of London council, ‘alderman’ Vincent Keaveny clearly finds it politic to make the right noises about diversity but at the same time his actions not only speak louder than his words, they also tend to contradict them. For example, on 6 February 2019 in his then role as City of London aldermanic sheriff, Keaveny attended the annual Founder’s Day celebration of slave trader John Cass. By way of contrast, Keaveny also tweets reasonably frequently about diversity. He tweeted on 30 June this year about a Power of Inclusion webinar featuring lord mayor William Russell and stating: “Difficult questions already flagged up.” However the difficult questions didn’t seem to include why almost every City of London lord mayor and most sheriffs – including both Russell and Keaveny – have for hundreds of years attended the annual celebration of slave trader John Cass.

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The Corporation Giving £30 Million From City’s Cash To The NHS Is The Best Way To Honour Captain Tom Moore

Our local council has decided to ‘honour’ Captain Tom Moore with a Freedom of the City of London ‘award’. The Freedom is hardly an ‘honour’ given that paedophiles like Hubert Chesshyre and Keith Harding have also received this ‘award’, not to mention disgraced politicians like Ian Paisley Junior. In the long run the best way to fund the NHS is through ending the tax breaks and tax avoidance schemes for corporations and the wealthy which the City of London council lobbies for under the guise of neo-liberal ‘light regulation’. In the short term if the Corporation really wants to pay tribute to Captain Tom Moore then it should match his charity raising feat and donate £30 million to the NHS from its sovereign wealth fund City’s Cash. It could easily afford to do this. Instead the City prefers cheap publicity from doling out its dubious ‘honours’.

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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.

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Graeme Harrower On The City Tinkering With The Rigged ‘Election’ Process To Become Lord Mayor of London

An unnamed spokesperson for the City Corporation was quoted as saying that “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers to any member of the community standing for the elected office of Lord Mayor”.The word “elected” was added before “office of Lord Mayor” presumably to “enhance” the impression of democracy, but there is nothing democratic about the Lord Mayor’s election. The Corporation’s website specifies that a candidate for Lord Mayor should “have a significant track record and be recognised as a leader in their field” (typically in the financial City) and “have an extensive network”. Here’s a translation into truth of the sentence in the press release, with added words: “We are determined to ensure there are no barriers except status and connections to any member of the community standing for the undemocratically elected office of Lord Mayor.” The press release proves the equation that PR + HR = nonsense. It also proves that adapting a feudal system of local government to the modern world is impossible. It’s time for the Corporation to be disaggregated.

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City of London Nervous The Public Is Learning How Lord Mayors Like William Russell Are Elected

Lord Mayors are chosen in private sessions that are conducted by Guildhall heavyweights. Some members of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Alderman believe the current process inhibits diverse candidates from being selected. In nearly 800 years there have been only two female Lord Mayors.

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More Uncontested City of London Council Seat Sham ‘Wins’: This Time For Peter Estlin, Jane Gowman & Vincent Keaveny

With a residential electorate barely large enough to make up a small ward on any normal London council, the City of London attempts to bridge the gap by providing undemocratic business votes to non-residents. By any reckoning there is no need to divide this local authority into 25 wards with 125 councillors. Two councillors ought be plenty to cover the residential population, while wards with virtually no residents and only a few hundred business voters are ripe targets for anyone interested in election rigging – if they are able to get nominated. Without connections to the legal and finance industries it is difficult to get nominated in many City wards, and so alarmingly often there are uncontested ‘elections’. Anyone with views at odds with the finance industry is unlikely to find 5 people on the register of voters in business vote dominated wards who would nominate them.

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‘Election’ of William Russell As Lord Mayor of London Totally Rigged

Explaining how the Lord Mayor is elected, Livery Committee chair Nigel Pullman said there are three candidates voted for by by about 1,000 (unelected) liverymen. “It’s a strange system. Everyone knows before the vote who is going to win,” said Mr Pullman. “The winner’s name is read out first, and he is voted for by a show of hands. Then when the second candidate’s name is read, everyone shouts out ‘next time’. And when the third candidate’s name is read, they shout ‘later’.”

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City Of London Still Feudal In Both Business & Politics

Recently the media has been covering sexism in the City of London, with many women in the finance industry suffering harassment in the workplace and being held back by a glass ceiling that prevents them getting top jobs. What is true of the firms given the business votes that enable them to control the City of London council, is also true of the local authority that works on their behalf and against the interests of those who actually live in the UK’s last rotten borough. We have posted repeatedly about the fact that top jobs at the council are monopolised by the men only Guildhall Lodge 3116 of freemasons, who are allowed to meet for free on the local authority’s premises despite this being a class ceiling issue – since only two women have ever been Lord Mayor, while more than two thirds of the men holding this top post since the founding of Lodge 3116 in 1905 have belonged to it. For now let’s focus on media coverage of sexual harassment in the finance industry, knowing it won’t be long until journalists wise up to sexism and glass ceiling issues in City of London politics too.

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