The City of London is ruled by a plutocratic government, not a democratic one

Most parts of the United Kingdom are divided up into territories, which are governed by a Council, whose members are elected from a list, which anyone can put their name down on to, by the people living in the area, which the elected persons are expected to serve and govern.
In contrast to this arrangements, the city of London is governered by a body called The Corporation of the City of London. The process through which the Corporation is constituted is different to the manner in which the House of Parliament and locl authorities and Councils are constituted. Whilst the membership of the Corporation is constituted through a vote, to be able to stand for the Corporation you must have be accepted by people awho have already been elected to the Corporation. To be precise, and to quote George Monbiot, “There are four layers of elected representatives in the Corporation: common councilmen, aldermen, sheriffs and the Lord Mayor. To qualify for any of these offices, you must be a freeman of the City of London. To become a freeman you must be approved by the aldermen. You’re most likely to qualify if you belong to one of the City livery companies: medieval guilds such as the worshipful company of costermongers, cutpurses and safecrackers. To become a sheriff, you must be elected from among the aldermen by the Livery. To become Lord Mayor you must first have served as an alderman and sheriff, and you “must command the support of, and have the endorsement of, the Court of Aldermen and the Livery”. You should also be stinking rich, as the Lord Mayor is expected to make a “contribution from his/her private resources towards the costs of the mayoral year.” Another aspect of the process through which the Corporation of the City of London is assembled, which makes the city of London different from most local authorities, is that the principle of one man one vote does not apply in the city of London. Instead, besides the residents of the city getting a vote, the heads of businesses located in the City of London also get votes. To be precise, there are 25 electoral wards in the city of Lonfon. In four of them, the 9,000 people who live within its boundaries are permitted to vote. In the remaining 21, the votes are controlled by corporations, mostly banks and other financial companies. Furthermore the number of votes available to the heads of the businesses located in the City of London, far outweight the one vote that is afforded to each resident, and the number of votes available to the heads of businesses dwarfs the votes available to the people who live in the City of London. George Monbiot explains, “The bigger the business, the bigger the vote: a company with 10 workers gets two votes, the biggest employers, 79. It’s not the workers who decide how the votes are cast, but the bosses, who “appoint” the voters.” George Monbiot therefore reasonably argues that the City of London is a plutocracy rather than a democracy, i.e. a system whose politics are controlled by a small group of wealthy individuals.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: