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.
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’"
He may not have been to Eton or have a great grandfather and grandfather who’d been Lord Mayors of London like William Russell, but Tim Hailes is another perfect candidate for top office as far as the City of London establishment is concerned. Hailes has worked for J P Morgan since 1999 where he is a Managing Director & Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department. He’s also a liveryman, a freemason (most Lord Mayor’s belong to this men only club) and no longer a Tory student activist (he was as a young man). Since conservatives in the City stand as independents, and not all of them want to overtly display any political colours, those who don’t belong to the Tory party – even if they once did – can group around The Royal Society of St George. Timothy Russell Hailes, alongside quite a number of his fellow City councilors, is a member of this ‘minor English institution’.Read more "Tim Hailes & The Bizarre Twists & Turns of ‘Patriotism’ in the City of London"
It is rather rich of Charles Bowman to speak about the ‘democratic process’ in Nigeria when he and most of his colleagues in the City of London are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and treat the actual residents of the local authority they administer with complete disdain; all the while gallivanting around the world promoting the interests of the finance industry and ultra-high net worth individuals at the expense of local people in the City of London and billions more around the globe. We’ve already made it clear we don’t trust Charles Bowman and we think anyone who does must be deluded. Shortly before Bowman headed off to Nigeria even the Financial Times was pouring cold water on his Business of Trust agenda.Read more "Trust: The Foreign Office Hums It & Charles Bowman Fakes It"