The City must embrace inclusion

City Matters_Racism Issue Coverage_21 Sept_v1

A few weeks ago, I told my peers at the City’s Court of Common Council of the appalling and blatant racism I experienced when applying to be a member of one of the City’s most prestigious social clubs.

In my question to the Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, which was fantastically covered in issue 049 of City Matters, I pointed out that it was unacceptable for the City of London Corporation, the centre of democracy in the City, to be affiliated with a club that practices racism.

I argued that despite the social club being an independent entity from the City of London Corporation, the two organisations are in fact bedfellows, as the Lord Mayor is their Patron and the Club President is invited with dignitary status to the Lord Mayor’s parade.

I am grateful to the Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee for acknowledging the issue and stating that the corporation would consider imposing sanctions on committees and clubs that fail to embrace diversity and inclusion. However, actions to address the City’s lukewarm record of inclusion need to happen now.

Sadly, many leaders in the City have a tendency to ardently preach inclusion, while at the same time ardently practicing exclusion. It is not just BAME individuals that are routinely being excluded from the City’s civic activities, but also women and white people from working class backgrounds.

In order for the City to address these issues, I propose the following:

  • Influential Councilmen and Alderman should use soft power to ensure all organisations in the City (including the Corporation itself) actively embrace diversity at all levels, especially at the top.
  • The City of London Corporation should impose sanctions and, if necessary, immediately divorce themselves from clubs and organisations, independent or not, in the City that fail to practice inclusion.
  • The City of London Corporation should set aside a good proportion of tickets for social events paid by City Cash to go to women, ethnic minorities and white people from middle and lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The City must act now to become champions of diversity and inclusion.