Monbiot reads Shaxson and it\’s not a pretty sight.
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.
Complete bollocks. The easiest way to become a Freeman of the City of London is to live in one of the wards of the City of London. Agreed, it\’s a slightly strange historical overhang that gets us there.
Yes, it used to be that you had to be approved as a Freeman by those you might be voting for in order to get the vote. When everyone thought that this is ridiculous (sometime around the extension of the mandate to the Great Unwashed) they changed the system. Yup, there\’s still a business franchise, but all and any residents of any ward of the City have the vote, just like residents of any other council ward in hte country do (OK, excepting the insane, minors etc).
However, instead of changing all the rules about what only Freemen of the City could do they just changed the definition of Freeman. Any resident is a Freeman. Renting a flat in the Barbican and paying your council tax makes you a Freeman of the City.
The City of London is the only part of Britain over which parliament has no authority.
Complete and total bollocks. Sandwich shops in The City obey the same health and safety laws passed by parliament as any other sandwich shop does. Traffic laws are the same, the FSA does not have two parts to it, one authorised by parliament to look over Canary Wharf, the other authorised by The City to look over the Square Mile. This is pure lunacy.
Shaxson shows how the absence of proper regulation in London allowed American banks to evade the rules set by their own government. AIG\’s wild trading might have taken place in the US, but the unit responsible was regulated in the City.
Jesus. AIG wasn\’t a bank it was an insurance company. It didn\’t do any wild trading. It wrote some (admittedly, very stupid) insurance contracts. What killed AIG was that companies with AAA credit ratings didn\’t have to pose collateral. Until they lost their AAA rating and they had to find $180 billion of collateral overnight.
It\’s SFA to do with either banks or trading.
Shaxson just isn\’t a decent guide to The City. Sorry folks, but he\’s just not. Damn, at one point he was adding up how much the Corporation got in rent. Failing to note that they only get ground rent, not full rent. On such stupidities are public campaigns made.