Occupy protesters accuse Boris Johnson of defending the rich

Demonstrators hit back at London mayor who described them as ‘crusties’ engaged in a ‘thoroughly maddening protest’

Occupy London protesters have accused Boris Johnson of defending the rich

Occupy London protesters have accused Boris Johnson of defending the rich. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Guardian

Occupy London protesters arrived outside City Hall to accuse the capital’s mayor, Boris Johnson, of defending the rich at the expense of ordinary Londoners “through thick and thin”.

The Tory mayor incensed Occupy demonstrators at St Paul’s Cathedral when he described them as “crusties” engaged in a “thoroughly maddening protest against capitalism” and repeated his call for them to be removed.

Organisers hit back, accusing Johnson of spending more time meeting City figures than ordinary Londoners. They pointed out that the mayor – who has called for the 50p top income tax rate to be abolished – has a combined annual income of more than £400,000 a year.

A small group of around 15 protesters left the camp outside St Paul’s to stage a peaceful “thank you party hosted by bankers to show their appreciation for all the support that mayor Boris Johnson has given them over the past year”.

Activists checked Johnson’s official diary, seizing on the fact that, between May 2008 and March 2011, he held 86 meetings with bankers and the financial services industry. In contrast, he held only 15 public meetings with Londoners and five press conferences, they said.

Occupy said the mock party was designed to show the way the Conservative mayor has stood by top earners and has warned politicians not to use rhetoric against bankers’ bonuses.

Protesters wore suits and bowler hats and held a banner saying: “Boris loves bankers.” The event was staged ahead of the London mayor’s monthly public questioning by the London assembly.

A protester who identified himself as Dennis said Johnson’s denouncement of protesters showed he had “completely failed to capture the mood of the country”, saying people from all walks of life felt angry enough to take part in the Occupy London protest.

The protester, a musician, said: “Boris Johnson has totally identified himself as the mayor of the 1%. He is in favour of abolishing the 50p rate of tax but he is going to raise fares that are going to disproportionately impact on poorer people in London.

“It is necessary for people to understand that Boris has spent more time meeting with bankers than ordinary Londoners, and that this is completely unacceptable in the middle of an economic crisis.”

Twelve days into the protest, the London mayor called for laws to prevent tent cities “erupting like boils” across London. On Monday, he used a speech to call on judges to have the “cojones” to rule that the protesters were “restricting the highway”.

Johnson told the Norwood Annual Dinner, at the Grosvenor House hotel, in Park Lane: “The world sees a city where you protesters have the right to make your point, whatever it is, until such time that parliament passes a law … or until a judge frankly has the cojones to decide that they are indeed restricting the highway.”

Read original story from guardian.co.uk : http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/nov/16/occupy-london-boris-johnson-defending-rich


This Roiting Mess

I’ve been asked to describe the UK now, as opposed to six months ago, when I was last home.
The country is a little fragile right now, there has been several incidents of murder recently and crime seems to be on a high.  The police and government are being very strict with these offenders though it’s about time we started to crack down of these people. I still believe the police should have real fire arms as I saw everyday in the states. (Another issue I’ll deal with later.)
Additionally, the London stock market fell below the crucial 5000 mark on the worse day of trading for three years. It’s strange though the housing market is predicated to boom in the next 4 years.
I can’t understand it.
Times couldn’t be more perplexing.  I predict more chaos in the next few months.
The gap is growing.  Is this where the US is headed?

Can economic policies explain the social unrest?

Cameron: Pockets of our society that are not just broken, but frankly sick.

By Steve Tolley

The political argument over whether Government cuts fuelled the violence seen in London and across the country in the past few days has begun in earnest.

In a heated exchange on Newsnight last night, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman told Education Secretary Michael Gove that “short-sighted” Government policies like “cutting” the Education Maintenance Allowance, the trebling of tuition fees and closing job centres were adding to a situation where young people feel they are not being listened to.

Gove said it is “ludicrous” to claim people looting shops and burning down buildings were concerned about the “reform” of the EMA. He accused her of “speaking out of both sides of her mouth” for blaming Government policy after saying she wanted to elevate the debate above party politics.

Harman said: “The truth is the Government should be on the side of young people. And you are not…We want people to have opportunities although nothing justifies people who have not got opportunities taking and robbing.”

Gove responded: “I do not want any more of your double dealing, out of one side of your mouth saying you are going to show solidarity with the Government and with legitimate forces of order and on the other side try to make partisan points.”

There was widespread rioting, looting and arson in London on Sunday and Monday night and while 16,000 police on the streets last night meant the city was relatively quiet, trouble flared up in Manchester, three men died in Birmingham and a police station was fire bombed in Nottingham.


In his statement yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said the “sickening scenes” were “criminality, pure and simple”. During the election he spoke about failures in education, political disenchantment and social breakdown leading to Britain’s being a broken society, although he dropped the leitmotif over fears the negative message would turn off voters.

Alongside Cameron’s strong rhetoric against the rioters, he has today also acknowledged that social problems have played a role in creating the violence that has exploded over the past few days. “There are pockets of our society that are not just broken, but frankly sick,” he said. An interesting map on the Financial Times’ website contrasts the areas of London that have seen the worst violence with youth unemployment figures and high deprivation levels.

Nobel Prize winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz was among the first to wade into the debate in an interview with Channel 4 news. He said when people see nothing but long term unemployment they lose faith in society. He suggested that while a contributing factor, the picture is more complex than simply cuts leading to violence.

He said: “Our market economy is not working and our Governments are not succeeding in helping the market do what it has to do. In too many countries they are going in the opposite direction showing very little compassion. I worry the UK is one of those countries and that is very much connected to some of the scenes in London.”

On Thursday, a recalled Parliament will be the stage for a tussle for the public’s hearts and minds over links between economic policy and social unrest. The civil disorder will be debated and George Osborne will give a statement on the economy in the midst of volatile stock markets, falling growth projections, the Eurocrisis and the US credit rating downgrade.

The Government’s understandable hard-line could give way to ’Broken Society’ thinking if and when the violence recedes. Neutralising Labour’s line of attack will not be easy without finding other factors to pin the violence on, whether that is dissatisfaction with the police, poor discipline at home or other long-term social problems. But as a political historian, Cameron will know that a Prime Minister not in control of the streets does not remain PM for long, so for now he is showing his teeth. His top priority is ensuring and convincing people they are safe in their communities.

Gove told Harman the argument she was making was below her and the Labour Party. If Labour are careful, they could capitalise politically. But the party must be sure that in looking to explain the violence it is not accused of political opportunism with even Labour bloggers on Labourlist calling on the party to put politics aside and get behind Cameron until order is restored.

If the party can convince voters Government policy has in any way contributed to the violence, the days of the nasty party could return to haunt the Conservatives, adding extra stress to the coalition. But it will be a very difficult political move to get right. With emotion running high, get it wrong and the wrath of Michael Gove will be the least of Ed Miliband’s worries.