St Paul’s to reopen – for all the wrong reasons

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I am well aware some have not appreciated my dedication of space to the issues ongoing at and with St Paul's over the last week or so. I admit I am unrepentant.

I was not convinced by Giles Fraser's approach right at the beginning of the occupation that accidentally alighted outside St Paul's door. We now have likely insight that he worked against considerable constraints and that all the suggestions I have made of City influence on a Dean and Chapter overall receptive to their overtures look likely to be accurate.

The result is the Cathedral will reopen tomorrow having agreed with the protestors that a few bikes chained to some railings and a tent can be moved - something I suspect that would have been readily agreed last week, and which reveals this whole closure has been a politically inspired farce. That's confirmed by the Fire Brigade publicly confirming they have no concerns about the camp.

So how to sum up the mess St Paul;'s has made. This quote form the Guardian does it rather well:

The impasse is perceived to be damaging the reputation of the cathedral and the Church of England at home and overseas in a way that internal squabbles over gay bishops and female bishops have not. The publicistMax Clifford said it was a PR disaster..

He told the Guardian "It's not a good advert for Christianity for a church to be shutting out people who aren't causing problems to anyone. It's a very well-organised protest. It's peaceful. I was brought up to believe that a church was a place where people would find refuge. It's a very damaging stance they're taking."

Quite. With their tails now firmly between their legs the Cathedral have had to admit they dug a big hole and jumped right in it on this one and did a great deal of harm for themselves and others on the way.

Now let's move on and get back to the core issue - which is why the camp is there and what to do about it.