Authorities' impatience with Occupy movement grows

In London, as in New York and California, it seems that the powers that be are slowly uniting against the campaigners. But the real surprise is why it took people so long to protest

The sense grew yesterday that the Occupy movement – for all the evidence supporting its claims about social inequality – is facing increasingly impatient establishments on either side of the Atlantic.

At St Paul's, despite mediation efforts, the standoff between protesters and a cathedral giving every appearance of siding with the status quo continued. Legal moves by the cathedral and the City of London to evict them loom this week. In New York, protesters' plans to camp in a park throughout the city's harsh winter have been dealt a blow. The fire department has confiscated generators and fuel because, it was claimed, they posed a danger. With the first snow falling this weekend, the Occupy Wall Street movement will now lose the generators that have been providing heat, electricity for computers and a kitchen in the Lower Manhattan camp they set up six weeks ago.

In California, the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, who has come under widespread criticism for her handling of the protests, has apologised for a clash between police and protesters during a march on Tuesday night in which an ex-marine, Scott Olsen, was wounded. Mr Olsen remains in a fair condition after suffering a fractured skull – an improvement on the "critical" of the day before. He had served two tours of duty in recent years, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have called for a "full and complete investigation" into the circumstances. Protest organisers said he was struck on the head by a tear-gas canister fired by police.

Occupy protests are taking place in at least 11 other US states, and have been staged in more than 80 countries and 900 towns and cities worldwide. Yesterday, several thousand massed by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Protesters say they are upset about corporate excess and that the billions in bailouts doled out during the recession meant banks resumed earning huge profits while 99 per cent of people suffered.

The wonder is that the revulsion widely felt at bankers' bonuses, bloated salaries and extravagant pay-offs for failed executives has taken so long to reach the streets. Part of the explanation is that only now are the effects of the financial crisis hitting living standards and jobs. Also driving the protests is almost daily evidence that some wealthy individuals seem not only unaffected but also to be positively thriving.

Late last week, the US Congressional Budget Office released figures showing that, while the average after-tax income for the top 1 per cent of households rose by 275 per cent between 1979 and 2007, that of the middle 60 per cent went up just 40 per cent, and the incomes of the bottom 20 per cent crept forward by a mere 18 per cent. The result is that the share of all income earned by the top 1 per cent of Americans is now twice what it was in 1979.

Then, on Thursday, came the news that directors in Britain's top firms have seen their pay grow by almost 50 per cent in the past year, taking their average earnings to just under £2.7m. Research by Incomes Data Services (IDS) among directors of FTSE 100 companies showed that their 49 per cent increase - which covers salary, benefits and bonuses – was higher even than the 43 per cent rise for chief executives.

Meanwhile, an IDS analysis of settlements covering 1.8 million workers showed that workers in private firms received a median pay rise of 2.6 per cent in recent months, while those in the public sector received no increase. Small wonder that the Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank last week reported that Britain now had "a particularly high level of earnings inequality". Only Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Portugal and the US were more unequal.

And yesterday a study from Barnado's showed that, after paying for food and fuel, a typical family with which the charity works – a single parent with two children under five – survives on just over £5 per person, per day. That leaves very little to cover basics, such as the expenses of raising children, buying a new school uniform, bus fares and other costs. Barnardo's chief executive, Anne Marie Carrie, said: "These figures confirm what we sadly already know – life is getting tougher for all families, but especially the poorest."

Glaring geographical inequalities tell the same story. Figures released late last week showed that while house prices across the country fell by 2.6 per cent in a year, they rose by 2.7 per cent in London, where the average home is now worth £349,026, twice the national average. And earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics said that a child born in Chelsea today is projected to live 14 years longer than one born in Glasgow.

And if a symbol of unfairness is needed, it came last week with the story of the late Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft. Unlike the many senior private and public sector executives who have left their jobs under a cloud yet are festooned with compensation, L/Cpl Bancroft's family were told, after he had been killed serving his country in Afghanistan, that he had been overpaid by £433 and this sum would now be reclaimed.

St Paul may have had a revelatory moment on the road to Damascus, but if the protests at the cathedral named after him have had any effect on Church of England bishops, they have not so far given any sign. In all but two cases, their heads remain buried in their mitres. One, the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Alan Wilson wrote on his blog: "Can [the St Paul's clergy] redeem their initial hysterical over-reaction?" He told this paper: "'What would Jesus do?' – that's the banner that's hung outside St Paul's, and I think Jesus would be asking hard questions about what's going on in the City."

But the sense that something is profoundly not right now covers a very broad range of opinion. The motivation of the protesters – that inequality has grown grotesquely, and that there are powerful groups not sharing the pain of recession – has many more sympathisers than activists. They include some surprising ones. This is from one British publication: "When the Institute of International Finance reports that banks are giving out more guaranteed bonuses to newly hired employees than they were before the crisis, it is no wonder that people occupy the public space in protest." Sentiments found not on the pages of some leftist blog, but in the Financial Times.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University, said: "Usually in a recession, the gap between rich and poor narrows. You saw this during the Thirties crash and slightly in the Eighties and Nineties. Now the gap is rising. I can't find a precedent for this situation."

Additional reporting: Lucy Fisher and Ashley Hamer

Those not-so-turbulent priests

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been criticised for making no public statement about the St Paul's protests. But now that he is reported to be thinking of standing down, are any of the candidates to replace him likely to come off the fence and disagree with the Government? We asked them for their views, and give the odds on them taking the top job.

"He isn't available to comment."

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York; 6/4

"If the protesters will disband peacefully, I will... organise a... debate on the real issues here under the Dome."

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London; 7/4

"He will possibly call you back."

Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry; 4/1

"He is away."

Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford; 11/2

"The Bishop is unable to comment as he is in Kenya."

Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford; 10/1

"He doesn't want to comment."

Peter Bryan Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells; 20/1

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone