Bank of England director tells Occupyers: ‘You are right’

Oct 30, 2012

But Occupy London responds: ‘We don’t need a banker to confirm that the system is unjust’

Getty images

THE Occupy protest received an endorsement from an unexpected corner yesterday as a Bank of England director proclaimed: “They are right”. Andrew Haldane also credited the protestors, whose occupations began on Wall Street last year and rapidly spread around the world, with spurring a fledgling financial reformation. 

Speaking at an Occupy Economics event in London, Haldane, who is the executive director of financial stability at the Bank of England and also sits on the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee, praised the movement for their “loud and persuasive” voice, arguing that policymakers have listened.

He drew on the Occupyers’ own terminology, referencing their slogan “We are the 99 per cent” and saying, “Occupy have touched a moral nerve in pointing to the growing inequities in the allocation of wealth and incomes globally. The 99 per cent certainly agrees. But so, more interestingly, do a high and rising share of the one per cent.”

Who agrees with Haldane? The Guardian has offered its readers a poll asking just that. At the time of posting, their percentages looked somewhat different to Haldane’s assessment: 81 per cent had voted in agreement, with 19 per cent rejecting his claim that “they are right”.

However, Haldane’s remarks have received a mixed response from within the Occupy camp. A spokesperson for Occupy London Stock Exchange told The Independent: “It’s good to hear more voices like Mr Haldane’s coming through. His comments are definitely welcome. They could have done something about this a lot faster.”

Others were more cautious. Another Occupy protestor, Richard Paton, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: “I’m not entirely optimistic... there is a gap between what senior technocrats believe is necessary and what political leaders are prepared to accept”.

On Twitter, @OccupyLondon seemed to reject Haldane’s extended hand, tweeting: “The current system is unsustainable, undemocratic and unjust. We don’t need a banker to confirm that and we won’t trust a banker to fix it.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter