The creation of the Greater London Authority is the latest chapter in a long history of metropolitan reform and change. The relationship between the national government and the capital city has been complicated and difficult for centuries. Because of the concentration of population, economic activity, politics and culture in London, central governments have always been concerned about the potential and actual threat of London self-government. Almost since Edward the Confessor founded a new palace at Westminster in the eleventh century, there has been a struggle between the political power of central government at Westminster and the independent economic power of the City of London. London played a crucial part in the Roundhead victory in the Civil War: ‘but for the City the Parliament never could have made the war’ wrote Thomas Hobbes.
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