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Leading article: Beware the loss of the moral high ground

Love them or loathe them, the Occupy protesters at St Paul's Cathedral did at least have the benefit of the moral high ground.

Their economic arguments may have tended towards idealism rather than practicality. But, in the aftermath of the worst banking crisis since the Depression, it was more than just the usual, disaffected few who identified themselves as the 99 per cent paying for the excesses of the 1 per cent. But for how much longer?

According to a dossier of evidence put together by the cathedral authorities, the camp's activities have resulted in the "desecration" of St Paul's: its historic building daubed and scratched with graffiti, its precincts used as a lavatory, its neighbours disturbed by rowdy behaviour.

Occupy's strongest weapon was its moral position. If that is squandered on carelessness and petty vandalism, there is little left.