|Hard day's night outside St.Paul's|
The chapter of St.Paul's has put out an open letter, addressed mainly to the huddled masses outside protesting about greed and filthy lucre laundering, asking for the tented tribe to "windraw peacefully" so as to let the cathedral carry on as usual. A lot of waffle was included about evacuation and fire hazards. Health and safety regulations reared their heads. One has to wonder what the dean was thinking. Is it the case that, in the event of a terrible catastrophe in the inner sanctums of the cathedral, visitors, worshippers and clergy alike all swarm out and are expected to rush down the flights of steps to supposed safety? It beggars belief, and a belief not promoted by the Apostle himself.
These protestors are camped in a fairly decent Millets style way. They might make the boy scouts proud. Most seem to be quite posh. One alluded to the fact that he worked down the street somewhere, so could not take up permanent residence. If I wanted to worship in St.Paul's (and I'd be thinking about it for doctrinal reasons rather than fear of a clerical stampede) I would simply walk past the group. How many people is the dean reckoning on evacuating? Surely we're not talking thousands. In the unlikely event of his vestments catching fire, all that is required is to form an orderly queue.
Now if the legal eagles of the church have concluded that "the legal requirements placed upon us by fire, health and safety issues" mean the cathedral closes for a while, so be it. Frankly, I'm surprised that the dean, a former bishop of Sodor & Man, thinks that a lofty approach is going to improve the image of the Church of England in public perception. Surely he must realise that people from across the political spectrum are grievously concerned by the financial situation of this country. He implies that the protestors have made their point and should leave. But that is a naive opinion. Savers and pensioners see their nest eggs plundered and the financial institutions continue to ease quantitatively and squeeze with little or no impunity. Does the dean think Fred the Shred did us proud? Are the one hundred and ninety-eight FTSE 100 companies that evade tax by washing cash through tax havens any better for Britain than the tented ones outside St.Paul's? Perhaps the dean could speak to the nation with an even bigger open letter?
This is not a left/right issue anymore. It is simply a matter of saying that we don't want the present casino cash banking business to carry on ruining lives. Lives of conservative people, liberal people, all sorts. Christians, Muslims, atheists and whoever.
If the Church of England is to regain some credibility in this the clergy should engage with the people instead of shutting the doors in the name of some politically correct notions about health and safety.