The importance of a vote in the election for non-Aldermanic Sheriff

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As many of you already know, I have spent the last nine months (longer, really), preparing for, thinking about and ultimately putting my candidacy forward for the High Office of Non-Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London in the upcoming Common Hall Elections on the 24th June.

When the Nominations Period closed at the end of April, it was confirmed that I have emerged as the sole candidate this time around. However, there is still an election, and I want to take a moment to explain why it is still vital for all those Liverymen who are eligible to vote, even when the candidacy is ‘uncontested’, to be seen to turn up and exercise our franchise as we have done for the past 550 years.

Thank you to those who have registered support

The role of Sheriff is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and take very seriously. I have been part of the City for my entire working career (30 years and counting), and have been committed to the Livery for just about as long. So, in many ways, it’s a role I have been preparing for. 

The Non-Aldermanic Sheriff is a position for which you have to ‘emerge’ from the livery over a number of months. The process has included attending more than 150 events and a great deal of thought, reflection, planning and perhaps most important of all, listening. The time commitment for the role will require putting aside much of my own work and personal endeavours in service to the City, and that's something I am only too happy to do. 

I have been humbled by the level of support I have received - more than 900 individuals representing 109 livery companies, all the Guilds and all the City’s Livery institutions have registered as pre-supporters. This is not to mention the many messages, galvanising conversations and constructive communications I have had with so many livery peers, as well as those in the wider City’s business and charitable communities and with international colleagues and friends.

Why turning up to vote matters

Given the election is uncontested, it's easy to think that turning up on the 24th June to actually cast one's vote is an inconsequential formality. It isn’t. Since 1467 this free vote has served an important function in the City. It publicly demonstrates the collective will of the Livery.

Today this free vote is unique to the role of the Non-Aldermanic Sheriff. Whereas the other representatives of the City's Civic Team (the Lord Mayor and the Aldermanic Sheriff) are these days, selected by and recommended to the Livery by the Court of Alderman, the non-Aldermanic Sheriff is not pre-selected. Thus it is arguably the last genuinely independent vote for a member of the Civic Team and is part of a franchise for the Sheriffs that has existed since 1199, and for a Lord Mayor since 1215.

The Livery of course is so much more than the members of a number of trade based groups engaged in good works. The 50 or so Modern Companies are, for example, defined by their membership restrictions, and nowadays represent the modern professions upon which the commercial activities of the City are based. Let us not forget The Livery consists of some 50k individuals who are themselves largely engaged in, and representative of, the businesses of the City.

So, perhaps more tangibly in our modern world, for me this role is about actually doing things for the short-, medium- and long-term benefit of the City and its community. To do that you need a mandate from the people involved (in this case the liverymen and women of London). 

This is where the numbers who turn out count - they are a barometer for the faith that people have in you. By extension, I am sure you will also let me know what I am getting right or wrong as things go forward. We know that in any election, it is not merely enough to win the position - the strength of the mandate given is essential to the collective confidence with which you can proceed. 

We live in a time of great challenges for many, but as a powerhouse for the UK, the City of London has a crucial role in moving things forward and in supporting this in a positive and productive way. 

I am truly and unequivocally thankful for those who have registered their early support for me, both formally and informally, to date. Please, let's not neglect that next hurdle on the 24th June, so we can get down to business with confidence thereafter.

Add the Common Hall - Election of Sheriffs to your calendar