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Occupy London asks St Paul’s – which side are you on?

 

On Tuesday 7 December, just before representatives from Occupy London were due to meet the FSA’s CEO Hector Sants, the City of London Corporation delivered a set of documents to the legal team representing Occupy London. [1] These documents were released on the Corporation’s website and it appears that media were also alerted.

These documents were the witness statement (dated 6 December) of the Registrar of St Paul’s Cathedral, Nicholas Cottam, together with supporting evidence, all of which Occupy London’s legal team will contest at the High Court in the hearing that begins on 19 December.

Present at the FSA meeting were the Bishop of London Rt Rev Dr Richard Chartres, Robert Gordon of St Paul’s Institute and Ken Costa, former Vice-Chairman of UBS Investment Bank and Chairman of Lazard International. Indeed, they had brokered the meeting to bring the FSA and Occupy London together as part of the St Paul’s Initiative.

Ken Costa describes the Initiative as “an attempt to listen to public frustration and broker a dialogue between City and protesters and the wider public, concerned with connecting the financial with the ethical.” [2]

The St Paul’s Initiative, now dubbed ‘London Connection’ was announced at the same time the Cathedral pulled out of potential legal action while recognising the right of the City of London Corporation to take such action on Corporation land. [3]

Since this date, representatives of Occupy London have been meeting regularly with the Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral and dialogue has been positive.

While the developments with St Paul’s Initiative and the meetings with the Chapter are to be warmly welcomed, Occupy London must question the actions of St Paul’s Cathedral in its submissions to the Corporation’s legal case via Nicholas Cottam. Most of the concerns in those submissions have, in any case, already been dealt with, as we trust our legal counsel will demonstrate in due course.

We remain to be convinced that St Paul’s Cathedral is not actually engaging in legal action – legal action that could potentially lead to the violent eviction they have consistently said they do not want to happen. While we understand that there continue to be internal differences within the Cathedral, we feel that now is the time for St Paul’s to clarify its position to the outside world.

You can see a video of representatives of Occupy London’s press team below which comes a few minutes after the media asked them about the new legal documents. [4]

We invite you to decide for yourself.

Occupy London has learned that the Cathedral is telling journalists that they would be willing to submit a witness statement for Occupy London’s defence case. The Chapter has been asked and Occupy London is currently awaiting its response.

 

Notes

[1] Occupy London meets FSA and engages with the City; First statement of Economics Working Group http://occupylsx.org/?p=2204

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/8944911/Were-finding-common-ground-between-the-City-and-Occupy-activists.html

[3] St Paul’s suspends legal action against protest camp http://www.stpauls.co.uk/News-Press/Latest-News/St-Pauls-suspends-legal-action-against-protest-camp

 

 

 
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