There are a lot of people in the UK who bear a grudge against the bankers in the City of London. Even if the majority of people don’t actually have much of an idea of what they do, it’s more the fact that we hear stories in the press of massive great bonuses and immediately that very instinctive reaction of jealous resentment causes us to look on them unfavourably.
But the vast majority of people do not have time to give much consideration to this resentment, they are struggling to make ends meet in this harsh economic climate. In doing so, they are putting money back into the economy, helping it grow and doing something far more productive and practical than the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) could ever achieve. Am I the only person to wonder whether any of the protesters have jobs? Where do they get their money from?
…our imperial past still haunts us…
Calling for a banking system that has stronger ties to ethics and morality is a noble act and something that can only be seen as a positive step towards a liberal and accountable society. But what will this occupation actually achieve in the long run? The end result will still be the same: there will still be the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and bankers will still be collecting their bonuses, their profits may just have been gained in a less risky way.
The harsh reality is that Britain has a shrinking significance on the world stage, we have no world leading industries, no real assets in natural resources, our imperial past still haunts us and the only reason why we have a permanent place on the UN Security Council is because of our close ties USA. The City of London is one of this country’s biggest assets; regardless of how ethically moral the bankers are, the success of the City is vitally important to the economic prosperity of this country.
The only reason St Paul’s can survive is…
The politicians can get good poll ratings by slamming the bankers ever so often in a speech or interview, but fundamentally, they know how important the City of London is. Project Merlin, apparently the government’s response to the irresponsibility of the banks leading up to the credit crunch was always going to be a flop. Making the City unappealing to foreign investors is equivalent to the proverbial shot in the foot. A successful City is a necessity regardless of whether the majority of us would agree directly with this statement
The role played by the church in this whole episode adds a fascinating dimension. The only reason St Paul’s can survive is from the £20,000 or so it receives from tourists every day. This immediately makes it difficult for statements from the church condemning capitalism, something that we have been close to seeing in the past few weeks. It’s a Catch 22 for the church really: they have to stay on side with the City who actually contribute sums of money to the cathedral every year, but cannot be seen to be forgetting original Christian doctrine of helping the poor. No wonder there have been so many resignations.
These two powerful tectonic plates, God and Mammon…
Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, the former cannon chancellor of the Cathedral, who resigned last month summed up the dilemma well on BBC’s Thought for the Day when he said, ”On the one hand it’s set within the boiler room of global capitalism, and on the other it proclaims a theological story that has some pretty fierce things to say about money and wealth… These two powerful tectonic plates, God and Mammon, meet right under Wren’s magnificent baroque masterpiece.“
The protesters have reportedly been granted permission to stay camped at St Paul’s until next year, so they have at least 8 weeks. Let’s hope in that time they can come up with some solutions to the problems they lament, something productive, as thus far, they have been hardly convincing.
Images courtesy of St Paul’s Cathedral