Sally Bercow’s thoughts on the City of London Corporation.@occupylsx @occupylondon

Sally Bercow  (wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons has a column in the “Star on Sunday” (lowbrow Tory rag), so it won’t be widely read, but I think this extract deserves a bigger audience.

(I think the Lord Mayor’s procession is the day after Remembrance day.)

Thanks to the Occupy London Stock, Exchange protest, I now think differently. Because of its moves to evict the campers at St Paul’s (now put on hold), the spotlight has swung firmly on to the City of London Corporation,  the organisation with the Lord Mayor at its head.

And what a bizarre and rotten institution hides behind all the ceremony  and flummery!  The Corporation may be the  local council for the City of London but it’s a council like no other.

Firstly, it’s a long way from being democratic. It’s dominated by the financial elite and very much geared towards the interests of our bankers and brokers.

How? Well, the voices of the city’s 9,000 residents are drowned out by the 32,000 business votes that go to City companies. Yes, that’s right, companies get a vote.  Lots of votes,  in fact.

What’s even worse is these companies can vote without consulting their employees — so it’s not as if the tea lady even gets a say.

Secondly, the Corporation is staggeringly rich and controls an enormous pot of money — “the – City’s Cash – much of which it uses to lobby for (surprise, surprise!) the financial services industry. 

No one knows just how enormous ‘ the Cash is — but it must be truly massive because it’s said to bring in a few hundred million quid –a year in investment earnings alone and, handily enough, the Corporation can spend it how it likes’….

Thirdly, and most importantly, the whole City of London is one great, big feudal fiefdom with special privileges that date back to time immemorial. And these allow it to play a big part in the whole grubby business of making sure the wealthy pay as little tax as possible and certainly don’t have to answer too many questions about what they’re up to.

As well as having its own Lord Mayor (poor Boris Johnson, the plain – old democratically-elected Mayor of London, ‘doesn’t get a look-in), the City’s even got its own police force (er, why?). And some other very odd officials, including a “Remembrancer , who “ensures the City’s rights and privileges are protected” in the House of Commons. He’s a lobbyist at the very heart of government, there to push the interests of the financial services industry.


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