Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Journey from St Paul

Two have accepted responsibility for the crisis and have done the honourable thing – gone. No, not politicians, but church leaders.
The resignations are not to the economic crisis, but the crisis for the church in having the Occupy London Protest group camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
The latest to hand in his dog collar is the dean of St Paul's Cathedral, the Rt. Rev Graeme Knowles. He follows in the footprints of the Cathedral’s canon chancellor the Rev Giles Chancellor. They both went because they could not associate themselves with the likely use of force to evict the protesters.
Now whilst the occupation of the precinct of St Paul’s has dominated the headlines, this is a sideshow to the real issue. The issue that should concern, is how to get out of crisis that the bankers plunged Western economies into. And part of that concern should be with the seeming ineptitude of politicians in getting the mess cleared up.
Bankers are still getting their bonuses; politicians are still in post the only once to go are those that focus on the next life rather than on this.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, whose intervention was rather a long time coming did acknowledge the protesters were raising some important issues. He said "The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul's remain very much on the table and we need – as a church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed."
What are these larger issues? Well, the first are the perceived excesses of the global finance system. The crisis was caused by irresponsible lending on almost worthless assets in the search of maximum profits. 

It was the twenty first century’s equivalent of the south sea bubble, easy money schemes built on a very slender foundation. When the bubble burst it undermined completely the banking and financial system, which in turn affected the real economy.
The latest figures on the UK economy underline yet again the dire state of the UK economy. The current figures show that the wider economy has only just grown by 0.5%.  

Worryingly, the construction industry grew by 8.2% and 3.2% in Q2 and Q3 of Summer 2010 but by 1.1% and -0.6% in Summer 2011. The state of the construction industry is a good barometer to the health of the economy. This fall doesn’t bode well for the future.
But alas today’s figures are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the United Nations International Labour Organisation that it could take until 2016 for global employment to return to the levels of three years ago. But they further warn that the resulting anger could result in more street protests.
Without a plan “B” from the UK government called for by a hundred leading economists recently and without the G20 leaders coming up with decisive action on Thursday many will be out of work facing an uncertain future.
St Paul’s today, but who knows where the protest will be tomorrow.


  1. I rejoice at the fact that at long last ordinary people are beginning to realise that apathy is not an option in the present crisis. The "Creed of Greed" has proved to be a cul de sac in terms of a sustainable, decent example of Human Society.

    There are examples of the sort of "Caring Capitalism" espoused by Keynes and others in Countries like those of Scandinavia that we could and should emulate as an example of best practice. But as we are seeing from the reaction to the Occupy London protesters, the corrupt vested interests that want to maintain the status-quo will not be easy assuage.

  2. Best to focus upon what we here in Wales can do about matters. Yes, it would help if we had tax raising powers (so that we could lower taxation) but it seems the Assembly does not want the responsibility.

    But have no doubt about it, the Assembly and Welsh government will determine our future, not Westminster. It is this Cardiff based institution that we voted for that now has the responsibility for our present and future.

    It is time we recognised this.