The Unelected Banker Sitting in our Parliament to Make Life Easier for Banks

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The Remembrancer is the only non-MP or civil servant with a seat in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  He sits to the right of the Speaker in every session of parliament.  His sole purpose is to scrutinise and influence legislation in the interests of the banks. Nobody elected this representative into our parliament. What kind of democracy allows an unelected lobbyist for a wealthy elite to sit in its parliament to write laws in their own interests?

Who is the Remembrancer?

The current Remembrancer is Paul Double, a former barrister, and he has been in the role since 2003.  In that time, he has not provided a single interview to the media.  He has a budget of £5.3m, and a £500,000 staff which included six lawyers.

The City of London Website describes his activities and duties as thus:

“The City Remembrancer’s Office is one of the City’s traditional offices and dates from the reign of Elizabeth I. The Office holder is one of the City’s Law Officers as well as being a Parliamentary Agent and its Head of Protocol. The Remembrancer is charged with maintaining and enhancing the City’s status and ensuring that its established rights are safeguarded. As long ago as 1685 an order was made for the Remembrancer “to continue to attend Parliament and the offices of the Secretaries of State daily, and acquaint the Lord Mayor with the public affairs and other business transacted there, relating to the City”. In the contemporary context, this work encompasses day to day contact with officials in Government departments responsible for developing government policy, the drafting and promotion of legislation and responsibility for relations with both Houses of Parliament and their Committees including briefings for debates in which the City Corporation or its associated bodies have an interest. The Office also tracks the work of the GLA Assembly, and the GLA’s associated bodies.”

In short, while having no vote, the Remembrancer is granted direct access to decision makers and legislators in order to lobby for the interests of the City.  Nicholas Shaxson, author of the definitive investigation of the City of London ‘Treasure Islands’, refers to his role as the “world’s oldest ­institutional lobbyist”.

What is the City of London?

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While many will have never heard of the role of the Remembrancer, just as many will probably have no idea about the City of London Corporation he exists to serve.  The City of London (The Square Mile) is the only area of the UK over which parliament has no authority.  Instead, it is the Corporation that imposes on Parliament, with the Remembrancer.

There are 25 electoral wards inside the boundaries of the City. In four, the 9,000 people living there are permitted to vote. In the remaining 21, the other 32,000 votes are controlled by corporations, mostly banks and other financial companies. The bigger the business, the bigger the vote: a company with 10 workers gets two votes, the biggest employers get 79. It’s not the workers who decide how the votes are cast, but the bosses, who “appoint” the voters. As George Monbiot argues: “Plutocracy, pure and simple.”

The Corporation consists of four levels of elected representatives rising through common councilmen, aldermen, sheriffs and topped by the Lord Mayor.  Election to these positions is contingent upon you being a ‘Freeman of the City of London’, and to be one of those you must join one of the 108 City Livery companies.  You do not have to be a British citizen or a member of the Commonwealth to obtain these roles, you just have to be initiated – and how that happens is anyone’s guess.  It’s masonic in its secrecy and reliance on wealth and privilege for access.

R3The Lord Mayor acts as the President of the City.  The current Lord Mayor is Roger Gifford – pictured left, in his gilded carriage.  His role as described by the Corporation’s website: “a dedicated ambassador, supporting and promoting the City”.  He is principally the winer and diner of UK and World political leaders, in order to remove any pesky regulations which might dint the profits of the City of London.  He enjoys an £11.5m budget to blow on this specific purpose.

Father William Taylor spent several years between 2001 and 2008 as a City of London Corporation Common Councillor.

‘You are getting in a room all the powerful people you want to influence,’ he said. ‘You are getting them handsomely drunk. You are applauding them. It’s literally intoxicating. The amount of booze consumed is vast if you wish to. It’s the way power operates. It’s probably underestimated as a tool for cementing consensus and support for the Corporation.’

The Lord Mayor is also the Trustee for St Paul’s Cathedral, which goes some way to explaining the collaboration between the Cathedral and the Corporation in removing Occupy London.

R5The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Corporation acts as Prime Minister for this autonomous region within our country.  The role is currently filled by Mark Boleat – pictured left, declaring the Future of Banking on CNBC.  His predecessor Stuart Fraser was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list – for services to the Square Mile (The City).  He was granted contact with George Osborne, Treasury ministers and senior Treasury officials 22 times in 14 months – in just two months he sent the Chancellor three letters and received a personal response from Osborne.

This autonomous region of the UK is outside the control of parliament, is run by an old boy’s network of medieval privilege, has its own police force and holds huge sway over our democratic process.  We have no representative in their closed system, but they have representation and influence over ours.

We Have to Kick Out the Bankers

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The City has resisted all efforts at democratisation for more than 1,000 years, through lobbying, bribery and threats.  Post War Labour Prime Minister Clement Atlee, father of the Welfare State, said “”over and over again we have seen that there is in this country another power than that which has its seat at Westminster.”  But neither Atlee nor any subsequent government have laid a single glove on this corrupt protectorate, quite the opposite.  Until shortly before 1997, removing the Remembrancer was a Labour Party pledge – then even that paltry, unmet promise disappeared.

The impact of this has been the erosion of our democracy as it was twisted to serve the needs of this despotic island of ill gotten gains.  The dramatic cuts in taxes paid by corporations and the wealthy, the absence of regulation which led to the Financial Crisis, the refusal to punish a single member of the City for the actions which led to the crash, the Bank Bailout, the ideological austerity which has seen the taxpayer foot the bill for the Financial Crisis while the City retained the profits – these are the fruits of our bastardised democracy.

If we stand even the smallest chance of transforming our country through this parliament, we are definitely not going to do it while it is in hock to The City.  We must kick the bankers out of parliament.

Take Action

Avaaz launched a campaign earlier this year to Kick the Bankers out of Parliament.  Sign the petition and get involved.

The Green Party are the only party with a sitting MP who have promised to abolish the role of the Remembrancer. Caroline Lucas MP called on Speaker John Bercow to remove the Remembrancer as recently as this April.  They have also called for the abolition of the City of London Corporation itself.

24 thoughts on “The Unelected Banker Sitting in our Parliament to Make Life Easier for Banks

  1. It’s just the Parliamentary Agent system, there’s 7 others (other than City of London) and they can only observe on Private Members bills, a tiny % these days. If the government of the day introduce legislation they’re not even allowed in the chamber as far as I’m aware.

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  4. I am reminded of Adam Smith’s cautionary note in his Wealth of Nations; “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order (viz. the mercantile class) ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same as the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it”

  5. It’s allowed because of Clause 9 of Magna Carta, one of only 3 Clauses still in existence. Until this is repealed & not replaced with comparable modern legislation the City of London will continue unchanged.

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  8. I just wanted to thank and congratulate you on your excellent, level-headed and investigative blog. I wish there were more people like you which I could meet and get involved with. I live as a benefits claimant in a tory stronghold in a wealthy catchment of Essex and would seriously like to meet responsible citizens like you who believe that there is more to life than work, TV and getting drunk. I once went to a local Green Party gathering locally and I try to vote Green whenever I can but the reality it is like pissing against the wind – it makes absolutely no difference. I volunteer for two local charities and my local non-for-profit cinema. I strongly believe in getting involved with organizations that provide a corrective to the general human law of “might makes right” and offer something tangible to the community as a whole and vulnerable sections of the population.

    If my personal experience is anything to go by, once one has freed oneself from the lies and propaganda of powerful mainstream interests (which in my case took years) and popular bigotry, it is equivalent to learning the answer to the question “what is the matrix?”. You start seeing the world with fresh eyes and no longer hate yourself for being “different” and a “misfit”. A big thank you. I have added your blog to my favourites, whatever GCHQ may think about that!

    • Thank you for that wonderful acknowledgement. Put a big smile on my face. Really pleased you’ll be sticking around for more. And yes, I mentioned that ‘Matrix’ experience to a friend just the other day, I have the same feeling. Keep up the good work! As you say, making a difference locally in tangible ways is absolutely the way forward.

  9. In this wonderful country of ours, politics is often a spectacularly successful exercise in propaganda, sleight-of-hand and doublethink. So while we’re all exercised by the usual liberal hobbyhorses of ineffectually thumping the Monarchy and other establishment punchbags, we don’t even notice or are told about the real offences that directly affect our lives and that are being carried out daily right under our noses. If you want to find the centre of economic power in this country (behind the Monarchy for example) and to some extent the world, go to the City of London. A place where no-one who doesn’t actually live or work within its square mile gets any say at all.

  10. hidden from media,as always,we shall keep on scrutinizing and digguing till we have the financial systems we the electorate can control.

  11. I am an NRAM mortgagor in a complex dispute with NRAM PLC, UKAR, the FOS, and the OFT. I am being forced into paying a government subscription scheme to repay debts to Northern Rock (which collapsed in 2008) against my will and without my consent and I am being subjected to harassment and intimidation on a regular basis. Please read my notices and help me to circulate this information. I need to get in touch with other NRAM mortgagors as I believe we are being duped.

    The Economic Secretary of HM Treasury MP Sajid Javid claims no responsibility for NRAM and refuses intervention based on preserving a “principle of independence” in its relationship with government but Mr. Jim Waddle is a director of HM Treasury and Head Of Mortgage Collection. MP Javid was a senior director at Deutcshe Bank until 2009 and President Of Chase Manhattan Bank before this. He left his banking role to “give something back to politics” and has major control over the public purse. He is largely unknown in the media. Please research further and help me to raise his profile.

    I have declared that I will not be forced to pay NRAM’s Contractual Subscription under further duress. I am seeking negotiation for myself and over 700,000 other NRAM “customers” who are unaware of of their entitlements. NRAM are public servants and their CEO earns around £500,000 a year.

    NRAM mortgagors are being lied to on a massive scale. We have massive collective bargaining and legal power as we are vast in numbers. Please contact if you have any information. Make your own inquiries and decide for yourself. NRAM, whilst claiming to be operating under commercial principles, are operating under full government authority and control.

  12. Great piece. The Remembrancer is a ghost-like figure in British history, absent from almost all histories. The City’s power really became influential to ‘our island story’ from the point they did a deal with William the Conqueror. Those ultra-capitalist bastards have never had it so good as under the current reactionary ConDem government.

  13. Another great article which signposted me to another petition on AVAAZ where I have taken the suggested action and contacted the Speaker. I hope you don’t mind though I used your second last paragraph (The impact of this…) in the personal message area as I felt it summed up the situation perfectly, again. Thanks.

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