So what's the legacy of Occupy London?

The tents may be long gone, but Toby Green asks whether the protest had any lasting effect on attitudes ahead of the one-year anniversary


Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral

For London, I guess that the legacy of Occupy depends on who you are. For some it was and continues to be a highly important defining movement, which offered them a way to express and engage with their concerns for our society and the wider world. For many others it will have been an interesting period, but things will have moved on. And for yet others it will have highlighted uncomfortable questions with no easy answers.

My own perception is that the City of London as a key centre of the financial industry continues to grapple with issues of morality, integrity, financial regulation and policy. Occupy has not driven that process, but by its work has and does keep it in the public eye as a priority for policymakers.

St Paul's, as a large and iconic building, acts rather like a screen onto which people can project their negative as well as their positive feelings.

Many of our visitors and worshippers are very positive in their view of the cathedral, but the experience of the camp was that a lot of anger and frustration was directed on St Paul's and its staff.

Some very vocal voices among protesters, people in the City, church people and the media co-opted St Paul's to be a part of their story, in a way which was very difficult for the cathedral to withstand. The fact that, on the one hand, many protestors believe that St Paul's represents the "establishment", and on the other that many City people believe that the cathedral was far too sympathetic to the protesters shows that the reality was much more complex than the simple narratives being told about "what really happened".

Dr Ison was appointed Dean in March 2012, taking over from the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles who resigned in October 2011 following the row over Occupy London camping outside St Paul's

Rich Paton, protester

I went along on the day it happened, 15 October. I popped back on sort of goodwill visits, but what grabbed me was the legal standoff with the City of London Corporation. They were pointing the finger and trying to say "what are these ne'er-do-wells doing in our city", and we kind of felt the same about them.

I then got much more involved and was quite a regular at the camp. It was a fascinating coming together of people. Occupy provided a meeting point, a lightning conductor and a beacon. It began a learning process for a lot of people.

Occupy put our political leaders on the back foot, it put them on the defensive which seems a pretty natural position for them to be in, intellectually. The best gambit on their part was to come back and say, "well you haven't got all the answers" – well, pot kettle.

As to the after-effects of Occupy, it's there, it's in the background at least. It's still in the public consciousness. People are still doing things, making connections, meeting each other and getting projects rolling. Some of it will be called Occupy and some of it won't.

It is still a banner for a very broad-based group of people who are ready to talk to others they might not have met before, but have come to a shared understanding of the bankruptcy of our inherited economic model.

Rich Paton is involved in Occupy Economics, which is holding a panel discussion "Socially useful banking?" on 29 October in London (

Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index

One year on, I think the only thing that's changed is that it's very nice to walk past St Paul's again. Apart from that, I don't think Occupy has changed anything, I don't think it achieved anything and I think most people in the City have probably forgotten about it and don't even realise that it's the one-year anniversary.

While there are certainly things that could be better in the City, it is full of very strong and determined people with high morals and high ethics, and long may that continue.

The Occupy movement was a way of expressing how some people view the City, and I think that sort of sentiment has started ever since the crash and the big banking crisis happened. There's been a general sentiment which has been exacerbated somewhat by the recession and such things as the bonus and Libor scandals – that sort of thing hasn't helped at all. But I think if you ask anyone in the City, when it comes down to it these are direct consequences of the actions of a very small minority of people. It doesn't provide a true reflection of the high morals and the high ethics and standards of a high majority.

I think if the Occupy movement is trying to change the ethics of a minority, then that has to start from the top down, and that happens with the boards and it also starts with the Financial Services Authority, for instance.

Atif Latif, director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers

Since the removal of the protests and subsequent loss of coverage in the news, we have not seen or heard any more detail on the protests and there seems to be no more information on the achievements the protesters have managed to bring.

There is sympathy with the protesters and many in the City agreed with them and the reasons for the occupation. However, much of the frustration was not only towards the financial sector but also regarding high unemployment, lack of housing affordability and availability, and the inability of youngsters to be able to gain employment whilst disposable incomes were decreasing alongside higher living costs.

Many of the press reports were about the financial sector and, in particular, corporate greed. While this was one part of the movement, there were other socio-economic factors that were not covered in as much detail.

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