I was in the UK for a brief visit last week, so I took the opportunity to visit the protest camp installed outside St. Paul's Cathedral. The camp is in danger of being evicted any day now, given the hostility towards it of the Corporation of London (a medieval institution in need of even more reform than the monarchy - see footnote) and the church authorities.
The original objective was to occupy the Stock Exchange, but Paternoster Square is firmly sealed off to all who don't carry permission to enter. It's a good indication of the priorities of our rulers. Oddly, given the claim that this is private land, most of those doing the protecting seem to be familiar looking uniformed public employees paid out of the public purse. I suppose that's what you get when you don't pay much taxes but make contributions to the parties who control the police.
A propaganda campaign against the campers has been carried out which will be familiar to those of us who read similar tales directed against the protestors in Madrid's Puerta del Sol in May and June. They're hurting the local businesses goes the cry. Well in reality the only businesses who might be suffering are those located in the aforementioned private land above. Starbucks beside the camp seemed to be doing very well, and next to it is a shop which sells, amongst other things, camping gear! I bet they're having a terrible time.
The camp seems to be well organised like its Madrid counterpart with an information tent, proper rubbish collection and recycling, and food and cinema organised by the campers themselves. The other ludicrous propaganda act against the camp was the completely unnecessary closure of St. Paul's. The picture below was taken from the steps of the cathedral and shows the distance between the camp and the entrance, there is no impediment of any kind to those who want to enter the building. I attended part of a general assembly held on these same steps, it was just like old times except with less sun and notably cooler.
Updated: Anyone who doubts the medieval nature of the City of London Corporation should read today's excellent column from George Monbiot.