Are Ladies frightened of Church Mice?

Posted: 12 November 2011 in Understanding Others
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Or in particular, The Old Lady frightened of one mouse? Is The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street really frightened of the church mouse lurking at the gate of St Paul’s Cathedral?

Business took me on Thursday to “The City”. So I popped down to St Paul’s to see The Occupy London Exchange, that massed encampment of the “dirty and dreadful” occupying the Cathedral grounds, generating squalor and damaging local business. Well – that’s what I was told.

The reality is less, both in size and fetidness. A modest group of tents, well compressed together on one side to allow ease of access for commuters between Paternoster Square and Ludgate Hill. And on the other side to allow tourists to get nice pictures of the main entrance of the great Cathedral. How polite. Wheelie bins stand in the centre to allow all sorts of refuse recycling. The site canteen is busy with lunch prep. A guy is sweeping the right of way of rubbish (who from – protesters or commuter litter bugs?). The site “University” has quiet discussions, but the Info Tent is congested and busy with enquirers.

I chat to a few folk and ask what I’d need to do if I wanted to stay the night. Sharing tents was discussed. The problem of drunks turning up at night, violent or distressed was considered a modest problem. Perhaps I could get a space in a tent if I was willing to help this chap with cleaning the portaloos. Indeed – someone has got to do it!

It was all very low key. Modest. Small even. So why all the fuss? Why the threatened court orders? Why did the English Defence League plan to attack the site? WHY THE BOTHER? Is The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street (The Bank of England and allied financial institutions) really that frightened of this mouse at the gate of St Paul’s Cathedral?

That the strength of reaction is seemingly so disproportionate to the size of the action suggests real vulnerability. Matthew Parris (Times columnist, ex-Conservative MP) is right. For every one person at the site strongly opposed to current capitalism, there are hundreds out in the suburbs, who are uncomfortable with the current state of affairs.

Mouse keep squeaking. Then perhaps the rest of us will help The Old Lady to amend her ways.


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