Bishop Of London Delivers Confused Message To Occupy London Stock Exchange Protestors: Photos
AT the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest the Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral Graeme Knowles have been talking to protesters at the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Independent has a story entitled
Cover-up at St Paul’s – Clerics suppress report on bankers’ greed to save church embarrassment
The story reads:
A highly critical report into the moral standards of bankers has been suppressed by St Paul’s Cathedral amid fears that it would inflame tensions over the Occupy London tent protest. The report, based on a survey of 500 City workers who were asked whether they thought they were worth their lucrative salaries and bonuses, was due to be published last Thursday, the day that the Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s, Giles Fraser, resigned in protest at the church’s tough stance. But publication of the report, by the St Paul’s Institute, has been delayed in an apparent acknowledgement that it would leave the impression that the cathedral was on the side of the protesters.
The Rev Andrew Studdert-Kennedy, the Rector of Marlborough, who produced a series of reports on the financial industry during a sabbatical at the institute in the summer, said he had been asked to write a piece accompanying the launch of the survey results. He said last night: “I can see why they chose not to publish the report last week. It was going to get swallowed up by the other things that were happening. I watched it all with absolute dismay. The thing that really bothers me is when people say the church should be engaging in these issues, because that is precisely what the institute was set up to do. It has done an enormous amount of work.”
Mr Studdert-Kennedy, who refused to comment directly on the survey findings, said he had been “astonished” by the attitudes some City workers displayed towards the financial crisis. He said: “I did speak to many people about morality. I was amazed by how many banking crises there had been and how sanguine people were about them. A number of people said ‘this is just what happens – it’s the nature of banking, it’s the nature of capitalism’.
“It’s one thing having a historical perspective, but I was astonished that people didn’t try to learn a bit more. There is a recognition that there is something wrong, but a reluctance to admit that they are part of the problem. They can be good at criticism but not so good at self-reform. What we have got there is so much that is human nature, related to how they behave in groups.” He conceded that the publicity surrounding the camp had been “awful”.
He added: “There may have been a very good reason to close the doors, but the way it was going to be seen by the outside world was terrible. It looks as if the church has come down on one side of the argument and the protesters on the other.”
Says Chartres on the matter of evicting the protestors:
“I don’t myself subscribe to the idea that it’s instantly going to lead to violent confrontations … a prudent organisation has to be prepared and we just don’t know what’s going to happen. Nobody knows. The camp could be taken over by people who are very different from the ones who are in charge at the moment. I think it is a prudent measure.”
The Guardian hears from one protestor with a fruity vocabulary:
Johnny Remlap, a student at the camp, said: “For all the sophistry and rhetoric about avoiding violence, how can they reconcile that with being OK with evictions? They’ve given their tacit approval to it. They’re giving de facto licence to violence because there will be violence. I’m not violent. But I’ll get hit by a baton.”
“There is nothing that could rubbish and distract from the very important issues that you are raising better than violence…’If we are going to make any changes we have got to move beyond slogans.”
So. What now? And why blame the protestors for violence when they have not been violent?