The City of London has been playing a confidence trick on people in the UK and across the world for years with its claims of generating wealth for everyone when it actually impoverishes most of us. Should the City’s financial power dry up it will no longer be able to keep up the charade of pretending to benefit anyone beyond a tiny rich elite, nor fund its glossy and expensive PR campaigns on behalf of the wealthy few. It’s high time the City of London as we know it became history and this local authority was replaced with democratic institutions. Right now everything is coming together very nicely to make such change not just possible but likely.
If the City of London and its spokespeople wished to be taken seriously by those it fails to serve and in particular the many Cripplegate ward residents who signed the petition calling for reform of its Standards Committee, then they would have addressed the issues that led to this blog being started – potential conflicts of interest – instead of brushing them off. In the same manner and with the same disdain, this utterly undemocratic local authority brushes off the gagging of councillors who attempt to represent the views of local people as ‘justified’ by rules that apparently don’t apply to the majority in its chambers who speak on behalf of the finance and legal industries.Read more "City of London Gives Its Residents The Finger In Ongoing Gagging Row"
The City of London is the largest financial centre in the EU and one of the biggest facilitators of tax havens, tax avoidance and so on. What will Brexit mean for financial sector regulation, for our efforts to, for example, close down tax havens or stop tax-dodging by multinational corporations? How much will the EU take aim at the City of London after Brexit, and what does that mean for UK actors trying to influence those discussions? The EU may try to minimise the role of the City of London and all the problems it causes in the global economy. If the EU uses its power to cut off access to the EU financial sector from the UK, it could have a major impact on the UK’s ability to continue to be one of the leading global financial sector players.Read more "Brexit ‘could benefit overseas development by curbing City of London’s power’"
Hiscox insurance boss Bronek Masojada was elected to the post of Billingsgate alderman with a grand total of 52 votes on 31 January 2019, after controversial hard-right City of London councillor Matthew Richardson stood down. 108 votes were split between five nominally independent candidates; a sixth candidate, Social Democratic Party representative Jonathan Bergdahl, got no votes. Since Billingsgate ward has three councillors to represent an electorate of just a couple of hundred business voters, 108 votes represents a respectable 46% turn out. Influence is easily wielded when there is such a ridiculous small electorate and this is something that raises suspicions that the entire City of London council is not only completely undemocratic, but possibly also deeply corrupt.Read more "Bronek Masojada Elected As Billingsgate Alderman With Fewer Votes Than He’s Had Birthdays!"
Overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. “Too many” is subjective but it can be defined in different destinations by key stakeholders; and in the case of residential areas such as Cripplegate it is the needs of local residents that should be prioritised. When rent rises push out local retailers to make room for bars, restaurants and shops selling luxury goods and trinkets to tourists, that is overtourism. When you can’t get around because walkways are jammed with sightseers and visitors attending middle-brow ‘art’ events, that is overtourism. When tourists cannot view landmarks or transient cultural manifestations because of the crowds, when fragile ensembles of listed buildings become degraded, when street art is being commissioned by the local authority and covered with Perspex to protect it, when there are huge signs installed on walls to inform passersby about public art, when accommodation for key workers is replaced by luxury apartments aimed at property investors who’ll leave them empty and bank on a overheated housing market to reap them a profit – these are all signs of overtourism, as well as gentrification and social cleansing. And these are all things currently happening in Cripplegate and Aldersgate and which the City of London’s Culture Mile strategy is designed to exacerbate.Read more "Cripplegate Is Not Disneyland! Stop Culture Mile Overtourism!"
We have previously addressed the opacity of a couple of council register of interest entries. Here we will deal with the same issue as regards Giles Shilson, a councillor for Bread Street ward. Despite the fact that he would appear to be a high flying freemason, Shilson failed to make an appearance in a recent Barbican Talk discussion that among other things attempted to work out the percentage of councilors who are masons – we suspect the figure mooted there is an underestimation. That Shilson is a freemason was not apparent to the City residents involved in this discussion because the way this is indicated on his register of interests is not transparent to many of those who do not belong to The Brotherhood, and will be seen by some as disingenuous.Read more "Giles Shilson, Freemasonry & Democratic Transparency at the City of London Council"
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’"