I fully support the principles of the Occupy movement, and I will always defend their right to protest. However, I do feel that occupying parks in Tower Hamlets such as Mile End Park, to build and extend their project is unwise.
Since the first tents were pitched at St Paul’s Cathedral, politicians (including those within the Labour movement) who initially ridiculed Occupy were forced to eat their words as Occupy made a real impact, putting individualism and capitalism’s flaws well and truly on the agenda and winning popular support for doing so from senior members of the Church of England itself.
But Mile End Park is in a predominantly residential area, not a financial district. Overcrowding is a serious problem, and it’s tricky enough for local mums to go about their daily business, taking their kids to school and going out to work, on the best of days.
In such a dense urban environment, we have very few green spaces and they’re needed for our local residents.
I feel Occupy will do their movement a disservice, by occupying a local park where local kids play football and senior citizens walk their dogs.
To those protesters in Mile End, I say this: Don’t think for one minute that I don’t stand with you shoulder to shoulder in your rejection of widening inequalities and the worshipping of a glitzy financial elite, and in your strife for a fairer alternative. But remember that East Enders are the epitome of the 99% – don’t inconvenience the very people whose corner you are fighting.