In the Livery Hall

One of the sitting members for the Ward of Bedspread was on my table at the Policy and Resources Committee dinner in honour of Stuart Fraser. You might have expected him to have been downhearted but I found him enthusiastic and ready for a fight. I looked for him yesterday, but he was out campaigning, meeting the electorate, and not being put off by the seemingly impenetrable offices. “I cannot understand,” he said, “why some of these firms bother to register voters, because they then stop us sending them election addresses and they disguise their email addresses too.”. He explained that his grandson experimented for him in trying out possible addresses. First name and surname as one without gaps. Surname with initial before. Surname with initial after. But then they even use odd versions of the company name. There was huge delight when he cracked one and the election address got through to the electors.

“I have taken a simple approach,” he continued, “nothing flash, nothing glossy. I may have been on the Court for more than thirty years, but they want to know what I have done since they elected me in 2009, and what I will do in the next four years.” I asked him about the other candidates – and I haven’t looked at them all yet – and he said that electors were getting cross. “They are not fools. If someone claims that they got rid of Occupy, the electors, who walked past the camp every working day know that it was the court order and the bailiffs that got rid of them, not someone posturing. Some of the electoral material contains, well, if not actual untruths, then at least exaggerations. It does none of us any good. Look” he continued, “we are politicians and people don’t trust us; when some people claim to have done things they didn’t do or claim to be able to things that they simply can’t do, we all suffer. I wish I could sort out the street works, make all cyclists stop at the red traffic signal and stop taxi u-turns, but I can’t. I can speak up in the Planning Committee and I do and it must have some effect, mustn’t it?”

At that point Mark Boleat rose to praise that most avuncular of chairmen, Stuart Fraser. Stuart reminisced about fifty years of working in the City, and four unbelievably hard years in which he chaired Policy. He stressed the dangers of being politicised, in the party political sense, and said that we need not defend everything the City does, indeed we must be openly critical of those who have brought he City into disrepute. And after that we listened attentively to Greg Clark MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

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