Are the St Paul’s protesters part time?
A police helicopter hovering over the tented Occupy London protest group outside St Paul’s Cathedral has detected with infra-red cameras that in the early hours of the morning, only one in 10 of the tents had anyone inside. I’m indebted to the Daily Telegraph for this information.
Clearly there is something somehow not quite right about a protest that gives the appearance of 24 hour dedication, but which in reality finds only 20 of the 200 tents actually occupied at 3.00 am. The whole issue somehow feels a little less urgent, a little less committed, than it seemed to boast.
But I’m more intrigued by the position of the church in the matter. The once permissive Dean and Chapter claim it is costing them tens of thousand of pounds a week to keep the place shut for “health and safety” reasons.
Attending a remote village church last Sunday, I heard the presiding cleric expressing her dismay at the attitude of the St Paul’s authorities in shutting the cathedral doors against the protest. She conjured the commandment “Love thy Neighbour”. Indeed the Dean’s initial reaction was to do just that and to tolerate the protest on his forecourt. Later, other counsels prevailed and he had the doors locked.
It begs the question: which neighbour to love? Should it be the banker, the financier, the hedge fundista, down the road in the Square Mile, or the neighbour on your forecourt ?
Christ, we are told, “cast out the money changers”. Have the Dean and his Chapter chosen the “money changer”, over the “common protester”?
On the other hand, when I “sat in” with hundreds of others, in a student protest in 1970, we never left, even for a shower, for six long and increasingly odour strewn weeks.
Now that it seems the protesters are not quite what they seem, is a blur developing with the bankers who claimed to be “doing God’s work?”
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