Bank of England director admits Occupy was right

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The Independent Online

The Occupy movement was vindicated by an unlikely source last night, as a senior executive at the Bank of England credited it with stirring a "reformation of finance".

In a glowing appraisal of the movement's achievements, Andrew Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank, said Occupy protesters had been "both loud and persuasive" and had attracted public support because "they are right".

"Some have suggested rather little, that Occupy's voice has been loud but vague, long on problems, short on solutions. Others have argued that the fault lines in the global financial system, which chasmed during the crisis, are essentially unaltered, that reform has failed," Mr Haldane said in a speech last night.

"I wish to argue tonight that both are wrong – that Occupy's voice has been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault lines. In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir."

Mr Haldane said that Occupy had been "successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason: they are right".

He said the movement had "touched a moral nerve in pointing to growing inequities in the allocation of wealth". The senior executive ended his speech at an Occupy Economics event in London by calling for the Occupy movement to continue to pressure the financial system to mend its ways.

"If I am right and a new leaf is being turned, then Occupy will have played a key role in this fledgling financial reformation. You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate. And policymakers, like me, will need your continuing support in delivering that radical change."

Mr Haldane's comments were welcomed by Occupy activists last night. Ronan McNern, a spokesman for Occupy London Stock Exchange, said: "It's good to hear more voices like Mr Haldane's coming through. His comments are definitely welcome. They could have done something about this a lot faster."

Occupy protesters first descended on the London Stock Exchange on 15 October, 2011, in a copycat demonstration of other protests around the world calling for action against economic inequality.