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All Gas and Gaiters : BBC

I had imagined that the days of internecine politics in old English cathedrals were long gone, remnants of the works of Trollope or consigned to the archives of old BBC sit-coms such the classic 1970’s comedy of the Cathedral close “All Gas and Gaiters”.  But no, the Occupy World movement has thrust the arcane establishment of St Paul’s Cathedral in London centre stage and for all the world to gawp at.  If for no other reason than to marvel at how otherwise  subtle and intelligent men and women of the world can be quite so leaden footed and media blind.

My contacts in the Church of England however are less surprised.  “It’s fairly easy to see yourself and your bit of Christendom in fairly feudal terms” writes one, adding that his great worry in all this debacle “is that the traditional image of the C of E namely being the Tory party at prayer is reinforced by this sort of behaviour”.  Thoughts that wiser voices in the Church would intervene are expressed with rather more hope than expectation “Of course Rowan (the Archbishop of Canterbury) should get involved but I suspect that’s why you shuffle him off to Canterbury and he probably knows which fights to pick”.

Others with more knowledge of Cathedral life, a living which is entirely different from the life of the average parish church, commented that “Giles (Canon Giles Fraser who initially allowed the protesters to pitch camp) is a lovely chap – but I suspect he did not clear his warm welcome with Chapter”.  The politics of Trollope live on it seems.

But, we might wonder, who are these dark figures lurking in the cloistered background who can overturn the generosity of the good Canon?

St Paul’s Cathedral Foundation’s list of trustees are an impressive, if insensitive and unaware lot.  Allow me to introduce you.

Chairman Sir John Stuttard who is a partner at PwC, a large city accountants and a former Lord Mayor of London.

The Right Revt. Graeme Knowles, Dean of St Paul’s, also Dean of the Imperial Society of Knights Batchelor, President of the College of St Barnabas and Vice President of the E F Benson Society.

Dame Helen Alexander DBE, Deputy Chair of the CBI and a director of Centrica plc.

Lord Blair, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Roger Gifford, Investment Banker and a big noise in the City.

John Harvey.

Joyce Hytner OBE, Theatre Director.

Gavin Ralston, Global Head of Product and leading International Asset Manager at Schroeder Investment Management.

Carol Sergeant, CBE Chief Risk Director at Lloyds TSB and formerly Managing Director for Regulatory Process and Risk at FSA!

John Spence OBE, former Managing Director of Business Banking with Lloyds TSB.

Not many natural allies with Occupy London I think.  I wonder if they will release the “independent” report on the risks that the camp pose the great cathedral?

Nope me neither.

Copyright David Macadam 2011