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

Share

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 (sociallyusefulbanking.com)

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.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

Government hails latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little