Susan Pearson Gagging Row Update

Catherine McGuinness and those around her who are engaged in a crusade against democracy have ensured that virtually nothing has changed in terms of the feudal power dynamics and secrecy at the City of London council. Potential conflict of interest issues as regards Sir Michael Bear, James Thomson and Chris Hayward aired in the national press still require satisfactory answers, as do many other related questions that local residents want addressed – such the hiring of councillor James Thomson’s Keepmoat company to do housing repairs and the discussions of the Standards Committee on the free and subsidised use of council premises by men only masonic lodges. While Graeme Harrower’s proposals were an improvement on the status quo, for us they did not go nearly far enough in terms reforming the City of London. That said, even Harrower’s attempt at tiny improvements was obviously way too much for the enemies of democracy who control the council. The democratic reform required to enable residents’ voices to be heard is the glaringly obvious one of abolishing the business vote!

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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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The Corporation of London rules by plutocratic diktat!

The City of London has an entirely different system of local government to the rest of the UK; and one that is completely undemocratic. This is unfair to the residents of the borough and requires immediate rectification. The decision of the Corporation’s Planning Committee to approve the demolition of the architecturally significant Bernard Morgan House, and to allow Taylor Wimpey to build an over-scaled luxury apartment block on the site is indicative of all that’s wrong with this council. We have addressed potential conflict of interest issues and the vote rigging implications of this decision elsewhere. What we wish to underline here is that neither the Planning Committee nor the council has a mandate from local people and therefore their decisions are illegitimate. The City of London is the only place in the UK to retain the business vote, and there are roughly twice as many of these as residential votes. The ward boundaries and Alderman system also favour big business over people.

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