Labour Party policy towards to the City of London as a local government unit pre-1997 was simple and straightforward - abolition. At least that is how some of those who were prominent on the left at the time remember matters. Under former leader Tony Blair that policy was abandoned in favour of an renewed licence for the City continuing to run its local affairs as set out in the City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002.
I should declare an interest, I have lived in the City of London since 2004 and am secretary of the local Labour Party branch. Rather than taking our lead from Labour in government, branch members took a tactical decision to fight the 2009 Common Council (local government) election as Labour candidates. Our manifesto recognised the role of City luminaries who are either elected as Aldermen or Common councillors in sustaining neo-liberalism, banking excesses and corporate greed. We sought to make an impact by exposing the City of London Corporation's failure to pay a London living wage to hundreds of its own contract staff i.e. people whose employment contracts were administered by the City rather than third-parties.
Today I was asked in the Twittersphere to conjure figures about the number of business voters are enfranchised to take part in Common Council and Aldermanic elections, while Labour Representation Committee chair, John McDonnell MP reminded his followers of Labour's policy pre-Blair. It has taken #OccupyLSX to stir the abolitionist into remembering.
It would be easy to jump on the bandwagon. But rather than abolish the City of London Corporation as a local government unit, my personal view is that this democratically elected entity is a vital tool for the global demos seeking a new settlement between the 99% and the remainder. A theme for many more posts. But first of all, I have been charged by my branch with designing and conducting a City of London Labour Party membership survey about whether we should run a slate in 2013, and if so whether the Labour Party hierarchy will let us, as they did in 2009.