Two blogs on the same subject – sorry. I see both Finsbury Park and St. Pauls on the daily commute to work so it really interests me.
The people at Finsbury Square, St. Pauls and most recently the abandoned UBS buildings have a cause and a cause that at heart I really agree with. But is there not a more effective of making difference to the lives of those that need help the most? The takeover of UBS’s vacant offices has provided a rejuvenated focus on the ‘Occupy London’ movement, which in my opinion is much needed if this movement is to avoid sinking to below the press attention that it badly needs to sustain itself. But our planet is huge, and millions of people in Africa live in poverty far worse than the most disadvantaged in this country.
One of my biggest qualms is that the aims these people set out are so disjointed. It’s a group of people who have a likeminded aversion to inequality, but they don’t seem to have a realistic idea of what can be done by sitting in tents and protesting peacefully. David Cameron doesn’t really care; he has more important groups of people to please. The Metropolitan police do care, however. The protest movement unfortunately doesn’t really scratch the surface of the sheer workload all members of government have to put up with on a daily basis.
To make this even worse, they are camping outside a church in the centre of London, claiming that we as a nation need to reclaim public space. It would be satisfying to see one of the spokespeople say that instead of the ideological aim of ‘reclaiming public space from the state that oppresses us’, the aim is to gather as much publicity as possible. Plus, Parliament square has already been done. St Pauls is a good second place in terms of London Landmarks. Buckingham Palace? Naahhh…
This is what they need badly, they probably know it and they’ve also probably admitted it on TV or on the radio – I just don’t read the news enough. People who occupy hard-to-find public places are squatters – and I wholeheartedly agree with their cause (in most cases) because they are taking advantage of disused homing in a time where there is a significant lack of affordable housing. We get fed that line repeatedly by Mr Cameron and his bunch, so recent policy proposals that curtail the rights of squatters is a contradiction of policy, and one that must be fought.
And now to my biggest disagreement. Why would any serious person try and promote Marxism and overthrow the current (sorry state to be fair) of Capitalism? I’ve heard this first hand from more than one person talking at either Finsbury Square. This is unworkable, surely? I’m not going to go into it and write an essay – mainly because I would fail – but Capitalism seems to work well enough to fend off a group of crazed socialists completely rewriting the rules that has a part in governing nearly everything that humans do on this planet. Communism went wrong in a big way; I think it’s premature to advocate a return to an attempt to implement Marxism in the UK. It’s a recession, not a famine, and although I’m fully aware that the most disadvantaged in the country are finding it hard to even balance rent payments with food for their kids, that’s not the fault of Capitalism, it’s the fault of the past government, the present government and indirectly due to other deep financial problems in the Eurozone, the US and the fact people are used to spending their money in Western Countries, not saving it.
Like I said at the top of this post, I feel that the people at Finsbury Square, St Pauls and now the UBS buildings near Liverpool Street have a cause that needs to be championed. I thoroughly agree that things need to change, but I also think that the aims of their movement are not clear enough. The spokesmen for the St Pauls bunch said that it’s “about reclaiming public space.” Come on, mate. I mean, it’s all well and good to say that but it’s not going to help people who can’t feed their kids. I don’t believe any politician is going to see a cluster of tents outside a church and instantly think, “Crikey, let’s pull the troops out of Afghanistan and put the money into making sure the most vulnerable get the benefits they need so that we don’t have such a high child poverty rate! Quickly now Georgie!” It won’t happen, admit it. To make a difference you could work in a cafe for a year, save money and go to a country like Darfur, the Congo, the Gambia or even India and teach kids English. That’s making a difference. I’m being a slight* hypocrite in this post (I usually am), and I think the system is struggling. But I also think things will get better – I’m an optimist when it comes to this sort of thing.
Check out Ed Miliband’s policies. Capitalism can work, and this guy doesn’t look like a leader but watch this space. He’s an interesting and very articulate guy, but most importantly its obvious he has true values, values that include equality of opportunity, fairness and a more “responsible” and “gradual” capitalism. I know who I’m voting for when the time comes around.
*I’ve worked for a month in an orphanage in Madagascar, so I’m not that much of a hypocrite!