Occupy London responds to the Evening Standard


Since the City of London Corporation published its legal bundle over the weekend – an account of its case that naturally gives a rather one sided picture of Occupy London Stock Exchange and its camp at St Paul’s Churchyard – there have been a series of stories in the media which give an account of the allegations in that bundle.

We are not afraid of criticism and negative news stories are something we expect. In the usual scheme of things, we would see no need to make a particular comment on those stories. But sometimes you need to take a stand.

Last night the Evening Standard ran a front page story (“Needle bins at St Paul’s camp to beat junkie health hazard“) that we think oversteps the mark. We have never sought to hide the fact that some of the more vulnerable members of our society have sought solace at our camps, not so much for the food and shelter we provide as for the sense of community we have established in contrast to their experience in wider society. [1]

Feeding prejudice and stigma
Feeding prejudice and victimising vulnerable members of our society, as the tone and placement of this article did, is not a hallmark of quality journalism. To invoke the spectre of an AIDS scare on the basis of unsubstantiated speculation is as unprofessional as it is inappropriate, coming as it does just a few days before World AIDS Day on 1st December.

Many of these vulnerable groups who have been included in press reporting – including the homeless, those with mental heath issues, drug and alcohol addictions, those living with HIV and others – are already being victimised by the government via cuts to vital services. Reporting of this nature only serves to stigmatise people that are part of our society, however much discomfort that fact may cause to some.

To see the Evening Standard perpetuating this social division is particularly puzzling in light of their ‘dispossessed’ campaign. [2] Occupy London wonders what it might be that makes some of the dispossessed more deserving of sympathy than others.

Fighting for a more just society
Occupy London is a place where everyone is valued for what they contribute to our society and everyone is encouraged to participate in that society to the best of their ability. We are very clear about the standards we expect but we are, above all, inclusive. That is something to be proud of.

Some of those who have come to join us at Occupy London bring their pre-existing problems with them. While we freely admit that some of these problems are beyond our capability to solve, we owe it to all members of our community to do what we can and not abandon those who seek refuge with us.

We are proud that campers and supporters at Occupy London have been proactive in dealing with potentially challenging situations. A responsible approach to reporting what happens in our community needs to recognise the difficulty of some of the situations facing us, as well as the efforts we are making to ameliorate those situations – efforts which are greater in many instances than those of the bodies which have the statutory duty to do so.

The less responsible approach to reporting these difficult situations is to condemn those in our society who are least able to exercise their right of reply. Not only does this badly misrepresent the actual prevalence of addiction and mental health issues in the vicinity of the London Stock Exchange, we are not even sure it makes for good copy. [2]

A call for calm and responsible reporting

While we understand the imperatives of the news cycle, we would like to renew our call for calm and responsible reporting. [3] We ask that the media give everyone involved in the camp fair representation. We are not the only ones to have recognised this need, as when the London Central Branch of the National Union of Journalists recently came out in support of Occupy London, it stated that ‘Fox News-style coverage is not acceptable in Britain’ as well as reminding its members to push for fair and accurate reporting. [4]

To reiterate: we are not afraid of difficult questions – in fact that, in a fundamental sense, is what we’re about. Occupy London is a diverse group of Londoners and supporters who have come together to open up a space for dialogue challenging social and economic inequality in the fight for global democracy. Therefore it is important that we address the allegations and issues that have been raised in the media in relation to the City of London Corporation legal papers in a full and open manner.

Meet the welfare team

We have always held that the best way of understanding what goes on at Occupy London is to come down and see for yourself. To that end, we invite members of the press to meet members of our welfare team and others across the camp including our health & safety and sanitation working groups, to ask the questions they feel need answering. Do contact the press team to book a one-to-one interview.


[1] November 3 – Important Occupy London call for welfare assistance
[2] Evening Standard’s Dispossessed campaign  / Also see http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/advertorials/dispossessed.do
[3] Cocktails and cocaine clubs are becoming commonplace in the Square Mile
[4] Occupy London Statement on #9Nov and the Right to Protest
[5] NUJ Solidarity motion


45 Responses to “Occupy London responds to the Evening Standard”

  1. A good and well-considered response to scurrilous reporting by the Standard.

  2. I hope, in the interests of balance, the Standard publishes the aforementioned. Well done. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you Occupy for standing up for real people with real issues, and absorbing this sort of biased prejudiced criticism with such dignity.

  4. It doesn’t surpass me that the City of London and mainstream press have resorted to these dirty tactics.

    It is well noted that the City of London is rife with another class A drug, cocaine.

    Here are some links which corroborate this:




    Perhaps a more pertinent question, in relation to the Evening Standard article is where did they get their drugs from?

    Opium production in Afganistan has rocketed since the U.K and U.S invasion of Iraq:


    And thanks the Iran-Contra affair (also well documented) we know that the CIA has been involved in drug trafficking:



    The British Establishment also have a murky past when income to drug trafficking. Look up the East India Company, one of its major exports was Opium:


    Do some research and good luck Occupy!!

    • What exactly does this have to do with the drug taking at the camp?

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  5. sorry for the typo surpass should read surprise!

  6. and “income” should read “it comes” – Dyslexia is a pain!!

  7. Really good article guys, keep on this way !

  8. Just can’t fault this.

    Don’t ever stop the honest engagement you constantly exhibit in word and deed – it is the most radical ‘salt and light’ we have seen for decades. Once again, we, our society, are/is indebted to you.

    You wrong-foot the detractors at every turn with your persistent dealing with what is before you/us; the ACTUAL REAL issues at the heart of the sickness we have accepted as inevitable for so long, and with your patient determination and Hope.

    YOU HAVE ALREADY ACHIEVED THE UNIMAGINABLE – and the tables of the heart are turning – don’t ever think it wasn’t worth it – the results, the repercussions will flow on and on.

    THANK YOU FOR THE ‘LAYING DOWN OF YOUR LIVES’ that you are engaged in at this pivotal point; for sacrificing your time, comfort, reputations, livelihoods, material resources. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Love is supreme

  9. I am a person with long-term mental health difficulties, under the care of a psychiatrist. I have spent time occupying at St Pauls and camping there whenever i felt able to. I have felt less lonely and isolated during my stays there than i feel most of the time in this ‘atomised’ society where i live the rest ofthe time. Those i met who were clearly vulnerable also expressed similar views. We feel INCLUDED in the society of the camp. On an equal footing with everybody else there. The Tent University and library is excellent for the mind too.
    Clearly the camp cannot provide for all the needs of all the people all of the time. And speaking personally, i felt a need for proper loos and washing facilities. But as soon as i am able,i look forward to returning to my friends there at St Pauls.

    • That is really inspiring to read Anna-Rose. I was at Greenham Common many years ago and we also showed that it was possible to be inclusive to people with different experiences. Since then I worked on and off in psychiatric institutions which are definitely not the ideal place when you are suffering mental distress – but worse is the attitude of so many in society who would rather the problem was taken far away out of sight, out of mind.

      • I am glad that others feel the same as me and that workers in the profession are speaking out too. I hope this will lead to real change. I am someone that is hard to reach because I was caused more trauma on top of an existing trauma, on purpose to get rid of me.

        I was told to go back where I came from and that I wouldn’t get anything. This was by a psychiatrist, in front of the team. The team I know get bullied. I know what the staff have to deal with.

        It is very important that more people speak out and not leave just a few to expose and so to get the brunt of repercussions. It is a form of occupy to speak out about things.

  10. Well done guys really well done.

  11. Great response. Especially: “We have never sought to hide the fact that some of the more vulnerable members of our society have sought solace at our camps, not so much for the food and shelter we provide as for the sense of community we have established in contrast to their experience in wider society”

    This is spot on. Last time I was at the camp I saw a few homeless people dancing around having a good time, I wonder what they would be doing if the camp was not there? I doubt they’d be somewhere where they felt socially accepted.

    I found that piece in the Evening Standard disgusting. The camp is trying to support some of the most vulnerable members of society, and this has been twisted by the ES to create fear and breed predjudice.

    Since the evening standard is a free paper, am I allowed to take as many copies as I want and put them straight in the bin? 😛

    • Do recycle! Wasted words shall not also wasted paper be.

  12. I can only presume that the Evening No-Standard prefer the City workers who take their recreational drugs in private.

  13. Thanks for putting this up. I saw the article and, being on the front page, was clearly trying to suggest it as a big big story that was aimed to alert society and cause to stimulate fear, which would stimulate prejudice, which would cause harm, to the people the article directs towards, in the short, and worrying, the long term. What I mean by this is, when the camp is not there, the stigma will remain. The press do have a responsibility and hope they change these conditioned behaviours they have that seem sometimes to just publish to satisfy their hidden ‘clients’, just to influence a court case outcome. This seems a form of addiction itself that they have.

    reporting articles that help society to understand why we reach such levels of needs, would be a more fulfilling story, surely. If you could all see below the ‘thing’ that was being the focus here (the condition), you would see ‘human beings’. If you start seeing us as human beings, this might make you understand more about what has led us to this level in the first place.

    Failures; trauma; neglect; loss; being excluded; no guidance/protection, are just a few causes that could lead to the vulnerabilities seen, that are being indicated here as the person being the ‘problem’, rather than a problem with society that causes it.

    To gain self value, self respect, focus, sense of belonging, feeling of having a future, has to come from society. You can build up self value, but would be very quickly destroyed by continued exclusion, suppression, or negative targeting, for us to never be able to see our own worth, so would return to old comforts or ill health. You can blame a person for their addiction or mental health issues till the cows come home, but it is a societal problem and until this has been improved the human being with conditions will always have severe difficulties to ever gain improvement. So Journalist out there, kick your own habit, by starting to educate society to help them include us, instead of inciting exclusion and making society think it is ok to do so.
    Now for another part of the article in the same paper, I was happy to see reported that Jenny Jones, a london assembly member, actually did make an effort to see for herself what it was like to stay at the camp and the report showed the true experience of someone that made that effort. This reported in the same paper, shows contradictions and puzzled me why they would be so harsh on the front page, when a true experience is so different.

    I see it now as a psychological tactic to imprint the front page report to society’s memory that would then make them disgard other reports that are positive, again for clients that have requested the article, which I know happens.

    Not clear how the journalist mind works probably yet, but I am learning…. ….er, unfortunately, the hard way. 🙁

  14. Are you going to warn the parents who bring their children to the camp of the potential risk of needles? As there is an obvious problem of people not making the effort to use the portaloos and urine everywhere. What is to suggest that the needle bin will definitely be used?

    I am sure it is very easy to be blase, and say it is prejudiced, but there are those who have a genuine fear of scratching themselves on sharps, and quite reasonably so.

    I genuinely think you do not realise the seriousness of this situation. Yes these people may need help, but why does it have to be where there are significant numbers of children in and out of the site. A scratch from a needle would mean a terrifying wait for anybody to see if they had caught something, would it not? Could you not provide this welfare elsewhere or direct them to the correct professional services?

    You cannot control many of these ‘vulnerable’ members of the site (in particular the hardened drinkers), and citing them as vulnerable is actually a bit of PR misdirection. Many of these so-called vulnerable are actually those who have been cited as intimidating and threatening.

    On a separate note, I noticed just walking back to the office that there is incredibly loud music being played during St Paul’s evening service. How is this being allowed to happen? I think its incredibly unfair that you spout how virtuous and caring you are, when you are punishing the worhsippers with some absolute racket.

    • Hi Bored of waiting. There will be a further update coming on what has actually been done on camp in terms of welfare. At the same time, we’ve had parents and guardians contacting us complaining about the media articles received this week as it doesn’t reflect the reality of the camp. In terms of the music, this is already being dealt with – we have worked very hard and schedule events around services in the cathedral. it is a case that some newer people haven’t been so aware, but they are being made aware of timings.

    • Thank you for reading my post. No one will agree with everything I say, not even fellow sufferers, because we are all different. It dismays me though to read your response and that you show to be closed on this situation, to see just what the media wants you to see and feel. It actually proves my point which I was expressing. Thank you for responding to make me see that.

      Definitely no one will be able to convince you, and I am not trying to convince you about the camp, but hope you try and see the good too rather than seeing it as just bad, one day. There are always positives, even in things that people become so closed so not to be able to see through negatives. Opening your mind is the only way that this will occur. It is quite an enlightening experience and hope you can find within yourself to attempt trying one day. If people that allow themselves to always think the same are just making themselves vulnerable to be led, by people that are able to convince those so easily. One day you may realise this.

      nothing is plain sailing and it needs committment to change what you say you do not like regarding the article. No one is saying that some of the behaviours are acceptable, that you have identified as your dislikes. But It will not take eviction to remove what you don’t like. No one says the conditions are plain sailing and easy to treat, but if people start to see us as human beings then we would not get much of this problem in the first place. The response and decisions to ‘out’ these people, will always cause it to stay in a catch 22 situation. The people that do end up suffering for this catch 22 is society itself, not just the people with the conditions that are excluded, so by including them is what will lead to improve this.

      I do not have addictions, but will always see all as human beings rather than conditions. Some will be ex-soldiers that fought for this country, and many are hidden lives that once had a life and that deserve their life back. It is one of the hardest things for some to accept what they do not understand, which takes a lot of energy, effort and patience to do such a thing. We know that and so we will always appreciate any support and acceptance from society we can get, because we will never get the real therapy we need from statutory services, which is a sense of belonging. We just hope it becomes more normal to see, than being abnormal so we can feel we belong, permanently, so we can improve our conditions.

      Thanks for listening.

      • This was meant to be attached to ‘bored of waiting’ post. To respond to their comments.

    • I’ve been working with people with mental health issues for quite a long time now. I see why you think ‘vulnerable’ is a PR misdirection……. but it’s really not! These people really are the most vulnerable in our society. I’m not part of the camp so I don’t know what goes on there, but the people you appear to be describing sound very similar to people I’ve worked with. Most of the time, these are people crying out for help, but it’s quite a lot of hassle figuring out what help they need so it’s often easier to pretend they don’t exist- and it saves money too (can’t have shareholders going hungry now, can we?). When nobody bothers to help you, eventually you find your own coping stategies. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks “Hmm, I think I’ll develop a heroin addiction today”.

    • Good balanced post bored of waiting. Suprise, surprise your main points are over looked…

      • I hope from seeing some of the below posts, shows that it is definitely not overlooked by the camp. It is the complete opposite.

  15. Just writing with a big thank-you to everyone at Occupy London from myself and all my family. Your ideals of inclusiveness, equality and fairness to all should be a beacon for the Labour party in opposition. They need to come out in total support of the occupy movement and realise that the people in this country have had enough. They must know that popular support for the occupy movement is growing. Keep on keeping on and I hope to see you all soon. Keep safe. Mark

  16. Here is a post I created on Facebook and emailed to the media yesterday. It speaks for itself, I think…
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    After a number of attempts to get a response from St Paul’s Cathedral, regarding their financial interests, apparent un-willingness to help the people when the people cry out to them and a number of other points including appearing to support (through its silence) the manhandling of the public out of the Cathedral just because ‘Royalty’ were inside, I have finally received a response!

    It would appear, after all this time, that St Paul’s Cathedral is either unwilling or unable to answer legitimate questions from the public. It appears to have chosen, instead, to hide behind a very short statement that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to them. They did not even have the good manners to explain why that might be, just denied they were subject to it. In fact, they have not even seen fit to apologise for the delay in responding nor for denying some members of the public to use the Cathedral on Remembrance Sunday 2011 for the purpose it was – allegedly – built for… that being; the worship of God. Charming!

    There now follows the chronological sequence of ‘one-way’ emails to St Paul’s, ending with their eventual response, received today (Wednesday 23rd November 2011).


    From: Ian McFerran
    To: reception
    Sent: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 23:20
    Subject: Request for information

    Dear administration staff at St Paul’s Cathedral,

    I am contacting you in respect of the Freedom of Information Act and request that I receive frank and honest answer to the questions I have listed below. However, I do not know if the Freedom of Information Act actually applies to the Cathedral, which is one of my questions. Therefore, if the Freedom of Information Act does not apply, I would ask that you still reply to this request for information, in the light of recent events directly outside the Cathedral’s doors and the three resignations in as many weeks that have occurred. If the Cathedral is not able (or not willing) to comply with my request, I would ask that I be provided with the reason why this might be the case.

    Does the Freedom of Information Act apply to St Paul’s Cathedral – if not, why not?
    Who owns the actual building known as “St Paul’s Cathedral”?

    Following on from question 2, when did the current ownership of St Paul’s Cathedral take affect?
    Who owns the ‘land’ that the building St Paul’s Cathedral is situated on?
    Who owns the land immediately surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral within the demarcation of the bollards?
    Who owns the land immediately surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral outside the demarcation of the bollards?
    Please list all current financial sponsors of St Paul’s Cathedral.
    Following on from question 7, please indicate the level of influence the above-named ‘sponsors’ have on the activity & decision making process within St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Please list ALL business interests linked with St Paul’s Cathedral.
    Is it still the case that, if The Church hears a cry for help from the people, it is obliged to ‘throw open its doors’ and offer ‘sanctuary’ to the people – in compliance with the underline moral compass taught by Jesus Christ?
    If the answer to question 10 is ‘Yes’, will St Paul’s Cathedral offer sanctuary to the people currently occupying the land, immediately outside the Cathedral, if violence is visited upon them at any time in the future – irrespective of who orders, carries out or agrees with the violence?

    Under normal Freedom of Information Act requests, 20 consecutive days would be allowed for a full response to these questions. However, as I do not know if the Cathedral is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, plus given the current negative PR issues being experienced by the Cathedral, I ask that these questions be answered in full – and as fast as is humanly possible – to assist in clarifying the Cathedral’s position to the people and also going some way in re-establishing a positive image for the Church of England. Naturally, refusing or failing to answer these questions will only add to the speculations surrounding events unfolding outside the Cathedral’s walls.

    I should point out that, as this email is being presented to the Cathedral as a ‘Freedom of Information Act’ request, it has been made public knowledge at the same time as being submitted to the Cathedral, as will any response I receive.

    Thank you for your time in reading this and I look forward to hopefully receiving your full response shortly.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ian McFerran

    From: Ian McFerran
    To: reception
    Sent: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:20
    Subject: Fwd: Request for information

    Dear St Paul’s Cathedral staff,

    You will see from the email below, that I contacted you on 31st October 2011, regarding questions that I required answers to under the Freedom of Information Act. Since then, I have established that St Paul’s Cathedral ‘is’ subject to the Act. Therefore, this email constitutes a polite reminder to the Cathedral that I am still waiting for a full reply (required by close of business Sunday 20th November 2011).

    In addition to this reminder, I wish to raise a formal complaint about an incident that occurred this morning, inside the Cathedral, which I would like a response to immediately, please.

    Today, as you are well aware, is Remembrance Sunday. The Bishop of London previously confirmed, in a public address to the occupiers, that the Church belongs to God and, as such, everyone is welcome to worship Him inside the building itself. The Bishop’s statement was crystal clear on that point. However, today, it has been established that Royal Security Officers frog-marched members of the Occupation out of the Cathedral for nothing more than wishing to take part in the public ceremony being held in that public building. I understand that a couple of people had previously been legitimately removed earlier. However, when I spoke to the Police standing guard at the various entrances to the house of God, I was told that only those two individuals were banned as they had been a disruptive influence. That seemed fair enough to me. I was also informed by the Police that there were no restrictions in place as to who may enter the Cathedral as long at they acted responsibly and respectfully. Again, this seemed to be a very reasonable and justified answer.

    However, some 20 minutes later, I personally spoke to an individual who had just been forcefully ejected from the Cathedral after the two disruptive people. It turned out that she wasn’t the only one, either. She was devastated and in floods of tears that she could not honour her late relatives who had fallen in recent wars. She told me that the Royal security detail had informed her (as they were frog-marching her from the premise) that she had to find another church as she was not welcome in St Paul’s Cathedral… because Royalty were in there. When she asked why and suggested that it might be because the Occupiers were seen as less important that the Royal attendees, the officer’s reply was allegedly “Yes”.

    This is an utter outrage against man and God!

    I am not a religious person, but I respect the right of those who are to practice their faith wholeheartedly wherever and whenever they wish to. I therefore DEMAND from St Paul’s Cathedral a public announcement condemning the actions of the Royal detail against the innocent worshipers. In addition, I DEMAND that the Church of England utterly distancing itself from such obscene actions against our fellow brothers & sisters in humanity – and further reiterating the Bishop of London’s comments about who can and cannot access “The House of God” and when.

    The reputation of St Paul’s Cathedral is already in tatters over its poor handling of the Occupation (the intended location being the London Stock Exchange) and for failing to provide documentary evidence to support its allegations of Health & Safety issues being the reason for closing the Cathedral temporarily in the early days of the occupation. So, if I may offer a word of advice to the Cathedral, the sooner it makes a swift and uncompromising response in condemning these actions by the Royal detail, the better it will look for its PR. I would also suggest that those wrongly ejected from the service be offered a private service so that they may honour their own fallen, just like everyone else was allowed to today.

    I await your immediate reply to my complaint and look forward to receiving the answers I requested to my Freedom of Information Act request when you have them, but no later than 20th November 2011.

    As with my previous FoI email below, this reminder/complaint is ow public knowledge.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ian McFerran

    From: Ian McFerran
    To: reception
    Sent: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 20:20
    Subject: Fwd: Request for information

    Dear St Paul’s Cathedral staff,

    I note that you have neither addressed the unjustifiable removal of worshipers from the Cathedral during the Armistice Day Service on the 13th November by the Royal security detail nor offered answers to my FoI (for which you still have time to do).

    Today, one of the Cathedral’s financial benefactors, The Corporation of London, issued eviction papers against the peaceful people outside the Cathedral, requiring them to be gone before 18:00hrs tomorrow (18th November 2011). Naturally, no such move will take place until the issues being raised at an International level have been addressed to the satisfaction of ‘the people’! This is something I would have thought the Church of England would have supported, given the teachings and actions of of its Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Or does having a member of the 1% (The Queen of England) negate the responsibility of the Church in times like these?

    On LBC 97.3FM (http://www.lbc.co.uk/) this morning, a representative for the Corporation of London stated that; if all legal means failed to get the peaceful people outside St Paul’s to move on, RIOT POLICE may be used to forcible evict them in a move akin to the violent scenes witness in America recently! Therefore, I ask St Paul’s Cathedral – AGAIN – for the third time – to answer the legitimate questions posed in my Freedom of Information request, below, as a matter of urgency. I ask that St Paul’s Cathedral respond to the matter of the elitist “1%” Royal detail throwing members of ‘OccupyLSX’ out of the Cathedral for no valid reason, allegedly telling one of them that they aren’t as important as Royalty!!!!! I also request that the Cathedral confirm or deny that it will honour its historical position in English society and ‘offer sanctuary’ to those who call out to it in times of need… such as during violent evictions in the middle of the night! Will the Church of England fulfill its social, moral and Divine duty to the people?

    Today’s date is Wednesday 16th November 2011, the deadline for an answer to my Freedom of Information request is close of business this coming Sunday 20th November 2011. I trust that the people can expect a full and detailed response to ALL the issues being raised here, as your website is noticeably lacking of information on these points and no one has come forward from the Church to speak about them of late.

    Finally, I must say that I was socked to hear a caller this morning to LBC 97.3FM, stating that the Cathedral has cancelled a children’s concert at the Cathedral on December 4th 2011… “for Health & Safety reasons”. Again, no evidence has been supplied by the Cathedral to support the Health & Safety concerns it speaks of in respect of the people outside (who are currently in full compliance with all required UK Health & Safety regulations as well as UK Fire regulations). Part of my dismay stems from the fact that I personally witnessed school parties of around 50 children at a time, over the weekend of 12th & 13th November, going in and out of the Cathedral, having spent some time wandering around the tents outside, without issue – some of whom even stopped to have their photos taken, especially with the Anonymous (UK) members.

    The ongoing silence of the Cathedral, given the PR disaster it experienced in the first week of peaceful people being kettled by Police and forced to locate outside the Cathedral rather than their intended location of the Stock Exchange and this recent decision to exclude children from a prearranged concert, is staggeringly illogical, to say the least. I have to wonder if the decision to cancel the children’s concert was exclusively that of the Cathedral or whether other interested parties (perhaps with financial interests?) have played a part in it. A full & frank response to my FoI would, hopefully, dismiss that growing suspicion.

    As always, this email is now public knowledge. I also now encourage others to place St Paul’s Cathedral under social pressure to answer the FoI questions and account for itself in these matters.

    I await the Cathedral’s response and, to coin a phrase being used at Occupy Wall Street and across America now… “The Whole World Is Watching”. Or perhaps a more apt one might be… “What would Jesus do”?

    Yours, growing ever more disappointed at the deafening silence echoing from within the “Holy” walls of St Paul’s Cathedral,

    Ian McFerran

    Sent to:

    For the attention of the FoI Staff at St Paul’s Cathedral,

    Further my my three emails, copied below, I can inform you that I have received nothing by way of a response and the deadline has now expired. Therefore, in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act procedural requirements, I now request that St Paul’s Cathedral conduct an internal review of this matter and respond to me within the next 14 consecutive days. Therefore, the new deadline is close of business 4th December 2011. As per procedures under such circumstances, failure to comply with this final request for the Cathedral’s compliance under the Freedom of Information Act will result in the matter being referred to the Information Commissioner.

    It is worth bearing in mind that, should the Commissioner instruct the Cathedral to comply but the Cathedral continues to fail to do so, St Paul’s Cathedral may be found to be in Contempt of Court! I make this fact known now as I have recently become aware that one of the Cathedral’s financial benefactors lodged a request for information to the Cathedral on 11th November 2011. The Cathedral answered that request, in full, THE SAME DAY! I find this particularly frustrating as my FoI was submitted to the Cathedral before the 31st October 2011.

    I await the Cathedral’s full, frank and detailed answers to my questions. As always, this email is now public knowledge.


    Ian McFerran

    From: registrar@stpaulscathedral.org.uk
    “Thank you for your note. The Cathedral is not classed as a public body to which the freedom of information act applies. You are welcome to confirm this with the Information Commissioner if you so wish.
    NJC – Nicholas Cottam CB OBE”

    • Oh right,

      So Occupy LSX is actually against the Cathedral. Thanks for clearing that up, Ian.

      That’ll explain the disruption to services!…it’s being done on purpose, because the Camp doesn’t like the Cathedral.

      Well, with investigative geniuses like this on board, the global financial system is doomed. Once of course, Ian has achieved what the Nazis couldn’t and brought down St Paul’s. They don’t even have Churchill to try and stop him.

    • I can understand why they chose not to answer those “over-the-top” e-mails, I can’t see any good manners on them, just demands, demands and demands, instead of asking for things nicely.They are agressive e-mails. If someone you don’t know sends you an email DEMANDING all your details, your family particulars, the name of your employers, and your last 2 years bank statements …Will you reply promptly and sweetly?Maybe it is not the content you demand, it is just a matter of manners asking for it?

      Let me get this right…are you seriously THREATENING St Pauls?With bad publicity? And if they had replied to you, will you start making a press release saying how nice and helpful they were?I mean, they let you stay there even though they clearly have a loss on revenue and popularity…Why are you attacking them? Aren’t you suppose to attack London Stock Exchange?

      Have you sent a complain to St James Palace about the royal security? Why St Pauls is to blame about something they don’t have control over?if 99% is more important than the 1%, and i agree with that, why is 5 people more important than the 3000 that might fit inside on a service?

      And what will happen to the vulnerable once you leave the camp?

      On top of that, if you are choosing freely to ignore an eviction note with the risks of violent measures by the police , and you want a 300 year old building , symbol of a nation, place of worship and visiting, to be your hiding spot?Seeing the way you’ve mananged the camp, do you think they will risk the building because you have decided not to respect the law?

      Why are you asking St Pauls and not the head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II, or the Arch. of Canterbury?

      And as Holly walls of St pauls are we talking about the same ones you are chaining your bicylcles to, attaching signs, those sacred steps where you play football?

      I did really supported this movement but I think it is getting too radical and there is no unity. Can’t fight the system without unity.

      • Mary
        I think the path to equality and fairness is littered with side roads and diversions,
        some have left the road and never come back, the 1%
        and the rest of us struggle !

        • Beautiful worlds but I don´t see any reply to any of my questions there…Are you creating a road of fairness and pushing people who don´t agree on the sides as litter? Never been good with poetry or grand words, sorry. Maybe the 1% will return to the fair road if we deal with them in a proper way with actions like occupying the UBS building, and not camping with homeless people outside a church and threatening it with bad PR?

  17. Thank you, again, to our great press team. This is exactly the right response, not just to the Standard, but to all the mainstream media who go out of their way to find the negative aspect, or someone with a negative view of Occupy LSX, to interview. I have spent most of today in the Info tent at St.Paul’s, person after person (different ages, race and gender) came in to ask relevant questions, congratulate us on the superb way the camp is organised and offer their support and good wishes. That’s the real story.

  18. Thanks for responding so swiftly and comprehensively to the appalling Evening Standard headline article. It is another case, I would think, that deserves to be raised with the Leveson Inquiry. Though I believe they are not accepting new evidence, it might, seriously, be worth submitting.

  19. You are leading by example – excellent.

  20. You are making a massive impact on the ‘authorities’ the UK media seemingly have a total news BLACKOUT on all aspects of OLSX.

    • I think this is because most people have forgotten about it – other than the hearing on Wednesday nothing newsworthy has come out of the Occupy “camps”

      • Exactly Graham.

      • You haven’t forgotten about it have you? You know exactly what is going on don’t you?

  21. I have been unhappy abouth the priorities of St Paul’s Cathedral since I visited it one Christmas as one of two support staff for a man with severe learning disabilties and poor sight. I could see the Christmas display without paying to go in [no concessions for disability, poverty or carers] but our friend could not. I asked if we could go in for five minutes to show him what we could see from the barrier, but the cathedral helpers refused. On the other hand we have always been warmly welcomed in Southwark Cathedral, which does not charge. Southwark Cathedral also has a chapel dedicated to people affected by HIV where I light a memorial candle.

  22. An excellent response. The problems of society are already there, we are trying to demonstrate a better vision of society through our actions and inclusiveness. The Evening Standard is well known for being a biased irresponsible rag with little regard for journalistic ethics. However do not allow yourselves/ourselves to be distracted from the broader issues of social and economic injustice of which substance misuse is a mere symptom. Occupy is seeking solutions, and we will find them. Solidarity

    • It is not just the standard that is like this, you see this in all papers, and the TV news coverage, to some extent. I have just done a test on my local papers to see how it responded, although it was actually a genuine enquiry. The next additions showed in one paper a certain authority getting the main air time and in the other seemed a response to try and counterbalance any evidence that I had just found out. So these are articles they write and send in to the paper, as a client.

      There is no doubt that the levenson inquiry is the tip of the iceberg and they still are continuing such practices, even on the vulnerable public, what we see with the occupy news coverage.

      Many are seeing through it now though and are starting to speak out and hope more will continue to speak out. The snowball is rolling. The bigger it gets, the stronger the voice.

      Merry Christmas, Mr Scrooge 😉

  23. Some of the people helping out at the St Paul’s welfare tent sent the following letter to the Evening Standard yesterday. Great to see OLSX’s own response here, including the link to ES’s own recent report on cocaine use by City workers.

    It comes as no surprise that the media will engage in a smear campaign against the Occupy London camp at St Paul’s. (Needle bins at St Paul’s camp to beat junkie health hazard, Evening Standard, 23 November). But what a sad and telling state of affairs that St Paul’s and the City of London social services, in their witness statements last week supporting the Corporation of London’s eviction plans for the protest camp, evoke the ‘shocking’ spectre of ‘street life’ emerging in their wealthy, virtually resident-free backyard. Two institutions of the Square Mile, supposedly sharing a vocation of care and support for the most socially and psychologically vulnerable in this disgracefully unequal society of ours, cannot wait to clear their doorstep of one of the most thoughtful and inspiring challenges to global greed and corruption in decades – by demonising the most disenfranchised of the protest camp’s community.

    Can it really be any surprise to eviction supporters Nicholas Cottam, the registrar of St Paul’s, and Joy Hollister, head of the City of London social services, that a community offering companionship, free food, conversation and a message of hope for a more caring society would be attractive to the homeless, to alcohol and drug users, to the psychologically vulnerable – and to the owners of three dogs? Shock horror! Urinating in alleys, alcohol and drug abuse, excessive noise and threatening behaviour on the streets at night? Have Nicholas and Joy never ventured out to a City pub on a Friday night? Any and every Friday night?

    Meanwhile a growing group of volunteers – counsellors, psychotherapists and psychiatrists, mental health and youth workers, GP’s and social workers – have been working with some of the protest camp residents to provide a service that aims to support the social and psychological welfare of the whole tent community. We suggest the church and the local social services might consider coming along and working with us, rather than conspiring with the privileged of Treasure Island to sweep its social conscience once again into the City sewers.

    Paul Atkinson
    Suzanne Keys
    Nick Totton (chair)
    Susie Orbach
    Andrew Samuels
    Aida Alayarian
    Ruth Calland
    Jocelyn Chaplin
    Nick Davis
    Janet Haney
    Adrian Harris
    Martin Hempel
    Mary Hill
    Jean-Francois Jacques
    Riva Joffe
    Susanne Levin
    Beatrice Millar
    Chip Ponsford
    Chris Robertson
    Tony Slater

    for Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

    • This has made me quite tearful, for a number of reasons. First, to see that St Pauls have put themselves as a witness for the corporation, which means they are part of the violent act. Second, I am someone who has not seen my family for 6 years. I am trying everything to try and get to be well enough to show them that I am ok. I can’t get to a level to show this. I have not celebrated Christmas all that time, because Christmas is nothing without family

      I stay away, because I feel absence is better than seeing them suffer from seeing me suffer. My family did show their suffering when I have seen them, from not knowing how to relieve my torture. I saw one family member become unwell trying to help me. I can’t have that happen again.

      I really hope that the scrooge story that saw a happy ending can become true in our own society.

      Thirdly, I feel humbled to here of so much support from professionals at the camp. I wouldn’t go to the welfare tent. Will never go to any one that is within this system. I just don’t want others to get as traumatised as I am by the system, so all those involved that are showing true support within the camp to people that do build up courage to go to you, thank you.

      You are showing bravery to ever be associated as part of the camp, so this is recognised. I hope that more will be brave to start my dream of my snowball effect, so seeing change within the systems by transferring the good within the camp into the services and society that is not there. This would be my ultimate occupy.

  24. The Evening Standard article was extraordinarily paradoxical when seen in light of their rather remarkable campaign and Disposessed Fund, which people should really take time to have a look at: http://dispossessedfund.communityfoundations.org.uk/
    How could the editor and professional journalistic staff have permitted such a nasty, malicious and twisted article to appear on their front page? Was Janus at work yesterday?
    By contrast the response delivered by Occupy is measured, commendable and mature, and is a credit to the activists’ wordsmiths.
    There are some extraordinary dilemmas faced by the protestors on a dynamic and daily basis, but their reponses in facing up to these difficulties have been outstandingly courageous and humanitarian.
    A number of those now being drawn to the camps are the very Disposessed the Evening Standard has campaigned for. Can we hope for an apology from the ES or retraction of the article?


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