'I don't think they appreciate what the City contributes'
It was the day protesters and bankers met. Tim Hume reports
Tuesday 18 October 2011
Financial workers returned to their offices in the City of London yesterday to find the hardcore remnants of a global anti-capitalist movement camped on their doorstep.
Police described the atmosphere as calm and there were no arrests on the first business day since hundreds of demonstrators occupied the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral, next to the London Stock Exchange. The demonstration began on Saturday as part of a global wave of protests inspired by the month-long Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.
Financiers were seen hovering on the fringe of the protest camp, reading their placards and trying to understand their demands. The bolder among them, such as financial recruitment company director Matthew Clapp, wandered through the occupation engaging the demonstrators in what he called "healthy debate".
"There's a lot of protest, but there doesn't seem to be much of a solution," he said. "What are we going to do, barter cows and donkeys again? They say capitalism is bad: okay, what do they want to do about it?"
Thomas Luccin, a banker, added: "Capitalism makes the world go around, to be honest. Look what happened with communism. There's always going to be greed in the world."
Mr Clapp said he had enjoyed a brief discussion with one of the demonstrators, but that neither had understood the other's argument. "They don't seem to appreciate that the City of London is an enormous driver of revenue for the Government," he said.
Financial adviser Gideon Greenberg said he supported the group's right to protest, but thought their vilification of capitalism was simplistic. "These people don't accept they have what they have because of capitalism," he said. "Renouncing it without anything better is wrong."
"There's a poster over there about stopping poverty," said his colleague, Steve Cruden. "You need some sort of capitalism to get rid of poverty." Demonstrations and general strikes were not going to pull the country out of recession, Mr Greenberg added. "More than ever, we need to pick up productivity, we need to get the economy moving. I don't think this is going to help."
But not all the men in suits disagreed with the occupation. Surrounded by an appreciative crowd, chartered accountant Tim Sanders cut an incongruous figure as he railed against the financial "gambling houses which have bankrupted the world".
"I want to show it's not the non-suits against the suits," he said, decrying an economic system that had produced a "lost generation". "There's a lot of well-educated people here," he said, gesturing at the protesters. "You get a great education, and then you're chucked on the dung heap."
Lawyer Justin Hudson said he supported the protesters, before adding: "I did wonder if I shouldn't have worn my suit out, but there doesn't seem to be any hostility."
South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness 'unqualified' to testify
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete's version in new blow for defence team
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
iJobs Money & Business
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...