I stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral this morning. Not to see St. Paul’s but to see the Occupy St. Paul’s Movement. And I must say I was impressed. All was ship-shape and orderly. The initial complaints that the occupiers were disrupting traffic and access to commercial establishments in the area… that is not an issue.
The tents are in a close surround and the walkways are clear. Despite its down-and-out appearance (tenting in bad weather on pavement does have that sort of look… if you have ever tented in the rain, you know that from personal experience), the site is well under control. During just a brief visit, I saw participants distributing large jugs of water, collecting trash and taking it to the appropriate recycling bins. Litter was not an issue.
The encampment is an odd assortment of tents – very un-corporate. Many of the tents are on pallets. It is hard to say whether it is warmer sleeping in on a pallet or warmer sleeping on the granite pavers. Hum.m.m.m. Neither sounds comfy especially in the winter. Porta-potties stand sentinel at the face of St. Paul’s.
Porta-potties are certainly at odds with Sir Christopher Wren’s vision. Built between 1675 and 1710, St. Paul’s was the first cathedral built after Henry VIII split from Rome. If you are a tourist, you are not going to get inside, at least not today. If you have never been inside, you should really take a look. You can do that by going to http://www.stpauls.co.uk and once you are there click on the virtual tour. Amazing! Be sure to check out the geometric staircase, the Whispering Gallery, and the view of London from the very top.
The St. Paul’s website claims that the cathedral “is a place for protest against injustice and for the public express of hope for a better society.” It sounds good, but if this is their mission statement, why is St. Paul’s closed to the public? You would think that in keeping with their mission statement, they would promote the encampment.
A large corporate sized tent claims the center of the encampment. A small lending library is in the corner. “Staff” are on hand to chat you up and pass on literature. But more than that, the space is home to Tent City University. To read all about it go to
Want to learn how to start your own credit union? Tent City University is the place for you.
What if Welfare were spelled WELLFARE? Would you think about Welfare in different terms? Not judging, just asking.
Have you ever been involved in a march or a sit-in? Write about it.
If you haven’t been involved in a protest, you must have reservations about the effectiveness of protest. Write about your reservations.
Today, 30 January, Stephen Hester, head of Royal Bank of Scotland, caved in to public pressure and waived his one million pound bonus. He was concerned being thought a “pariah.” Certainly the debate over bakers’ bonuses played a part in his decision.