G20: Don’t Blame it on the Suits

I’ve been reading about the security preparations for the G20 summit this week and I can’t help but be filled with a sense of unease, despite the peaceful protests in London over the weekend. Perhaps it’s silly of me. After all, for years Londoners have had to contend with May Day anti-capitalist demonstrations and countless other protests. In the past when I worked as a City journalist, often banks or institutions would disguise the name plates outside their offices in the vain hope this would deter troublemakers.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that there’s a very different flavour to it this time around. First of all, there are many more activities planned by the demonstrators – with many of the details published in the newspapers. There have been lots of stories about City workers being told to dress down by their employers, not to mention jokes that by dressing in chinos and golf blazers bankers will probably make themselves even more of an obvious target than by wearing a suit. But even journalists I know have been told to come into work in jeans too. Security everywhere in the City of London is being beefed up because this year there is a very different feeling in the air. Many people – and not just the usual fringe elements – are angry, whether it’s about the banking crisis, job losses, low pay or the damage done to the environment by big business. Ironically this week is also the tenth anniversary of the minimum wage.

Generally we Brits consider ourselves to be a reasonably reserved lot. Some say it’s our ‘British phlegm’ or damp climate that keeps us from getting up in arms about things. But occasionally people do put their ‘phlegm’ aside and go for the jugular. Remember the poll tax riots? I am hoping the protestors continue to make their points peacefully this week and the demonstrations don’t turn nasty. But there are fears that anarchist factions from around Europe are already travelling to London, although the ‘G20 Meltdown’ group led by academic Chris Knight claims it will promote a ‘carnival atmosphere’ rather than violence.

I agree there is a lot to be angry about and that the authorities and big institutions don’t appreciate the strength of feeling out there or the difficulties people are in. But there are a lot of people who work in the City and not all of them are Fred the Shred. Many of them are hardworking people who toil for long hours and are themselves concerned with many of the issues the protestors are angry about. They are facing redundancy themselves and worrying about how they will feed their families and pay the rent if the axe falls. And not everybody working in the City is a banker or fat cat either. There are countless admin workers, secretaries, receptionists, security guards, shop keepers, cleaners, café workers, taxi drivers – you name it – who work in the area. And just because you wear a suit, it doesn’t make you an agent of evil – just somebody trying to earn a living.

Do you support the G20 protests? Are you a City worker concerned for your safety or do you think it’s all a fuss about nothing? Leave a message and let me know.

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12 Responses to G20: Don’t Blame it on the Suits

  1. Bill says:

    The G20 will happen anyway, even if it is a complete waste of space & other resources. It cannot be stopped, or even relocated.Those responsible for handing it into he public domain only have themselves to blame for any signs of unrest. All delegates could in fact stay home, in their various countries, and conduct their "business" together in realtime, by means of modern electronic, at a fraction of the expence. No extra security would be necessary. Such people, and their modus-operandi, are a disaster waiting to happen. If I were one of them, a member of their circus, I woud keep my head down, and my mouth shut.If they had a clean conscience they would never consider any extra security. Gorbaschov travelled around by means of public transport, even as a freebie, much more efficient/economic/ecologic than an armour-plated limo, chaufuer driven, with an army of security in tow. When he needed wheels, he sacked the drivers and drove himself. He also sacked the entire Presidential body-guard as too old, and totally superfluous. He had no fear of the general public, whom he was paid to serve.The only people to profit from such an event are the security industry.It is also a great opportunity for profi agitators, or worse, to infiltrate such a massive peaceful demo, in order to commit an equally massive atrocity, and escape without problem. Do those responsible for the security aspect, really expect us to believe that they have full, absolute, control of the situation?

  2. Piper says:

    The City of London is very much a tourist area actually. You often see tourists wandering about with their cameras and there are historical walks around it – although I doubt anybody in their right mind will be going on those this week. Don\’t forget its proximity to the Museum of London, Mansion House, the Tower and the Thames. I agree there is plenty to protest about and people have a right to do so, but violence isn\’t the answer and people should also have a right to travel to work in safety.

  3. Christine says:

    Lady I said fraught not illegal with regard to the protests. You can\’t expect angry crowds and total peace.

  4. Dot says:

    While I fully understand and support the need for the protest and believe the majority of the organisers plan to make them peaceful demonstrations, it is unsettling the thought of those that may not think that way. Yes there are thousands who work in the City same as across the UK, also students and tourists. I was so concerned I contacted my daughter whos at Uni and has a p/t job in the centre, to tell her to be careful. I think G20 should have been conducted electronically to reduce costs and the high security risks.There is a need for the people of the UK to speak out, theyre angry as they were with the Poll Tax. Lets hope a minority don\’t slip through and create a violent situation. I feel for those who are working in London this week.

  5. Piper says:

    What worries me too is the thought of people coming to the UK to cause trouble who have no stake in what\’s happening here at all.

  6. Michael says:

    What I find rather amusing is the ignorance of the violent protesters, it\’s costing £7.5M for the police to prevent violence, and that is at the moment a MINIMUM COST! Personally I think that the Left Wing Anti-Capitalist rejects can go to hell! I would like to remind people that part of this problem was caused by the abolishment of red-lineing, which was a Left Wing idea from Bill Clinton. He FORCED the banks to accept loans from the sub-prime market, because it was seen as racist, because ignorat inbred brats thought that because they were an ethnic minority and they couldn\’t get a loan that the banks were being racist.Now i\’m not saying that i\’m a racist, fr I am most certainly not I can assure you, but just as black people complain that the police are racist, because more black people are in prison thy complain again because they can\’t get a loan. The reason behind it, is because they just happen to be a greater risk, ethnicity has nothing to do with it!A left-wing regulation caused banks to take on bad debts, but of course times were good then and so nothing was thought of it. As such it became the norm. But now it\’s come back to bite them in the arse!That is my response to the afore mentioned Left Wing Anti-Capitalist rejects. But I also think that the situation has been escalated, because groups of no relevance to the G20 are coming together and making the situation even worse! I understand that the climate is something we should worry about, but one problem at a time please! I also understand that any protests of a peaceful nature are ok, but to be honest the meeting hasn\’t even started yet and already they are storming the surrounding buildings! Tear gas please.

  7. piper says:

    Judging from the scenes at RBS yesterday, many of the protestors looked like professional protestors, not people who have lost their jobs.

  8. Dot says:

    Us JSA folk can\’t afford to get to or stop in London maybe?!! And what they did to RBS was just plain stupid. Gives the genuine a bad name. Just as the workers waving £10s out of their office windows was wrong.

  9. George CA says:

    I agree with Piper Terrett that most of the people working in global finance should not be blamed. However, the global economic system has been badly damaged and not by an act of nature. Real people developed its various parts and they should not be exonerated else no one is responsible!I would blame the Italians who found a way round the prohibition on usury, Adam Smith whose free market principles inverted the traditional morality, the UK that developed fractional reserve banks, the US who insisted on free trade and free capital at Bretton Woods and the recent introduction of capital reserve banks and demand management to control retail price inflation. These have created a system unfit for purpose especially now selfish growth is found to be destroying the environment.I would like to say our leaders have seen the light and have at the G20 taken decisive action to develop a much improved system. But initial reports suggest they are relying on detailed measures of little import and on yet more borrowing. If so, I predict further trouble in due course as the unfit system remains.

  10. Will says:

    Peaceful protests?.Remember Neville Chamberlain\’s peace in our time & where that got us.The humble pacifistic approach works no more,persuasion by show of strength is what the govt\’s of this world understand.Whats gone wrong?Perhaps redundant people losing their homes whilst MP\’S get a supplement for a second home,inflated pensions to people who brought ruin through greed and speculation,expenses to MP\’s that exceed in one year the amount paid out to a disabled person in 10 years,contribute billions to wars that were started on a lie.Peaceful protest!!. Who would listen.

  11. Janine says:

    "Now i\’m not saying that i\’m a racist, fr I am most certainly not I can assure you, but just as black people complain that the police are racist, because more black people are in prison thy complain again because they can\’t get a loan. The reason behind it, is because they just happen to be a greater risk, ethnicity has nothing to do with it!"What exactly has the G20 protests got to do with ethnic minorities? There\’s always one who goes off on a completely irrelevant rant about immigrants and blacks-then hastily adds \’I\’m not racist..BUT\’ well, if you are not a racist, why turn it into a race issue??Anyway, in regards to the G20-I agree it is pointless attacking anyone who happens to be wearing a suit-mindless ignorance if you ask me, but that does not mean the concerns of protesters are not legitimate. There have been widespread reports and video footage of UNPROVOKED police brutality so there was violence on both sides-not just on the part of a minority of protesters.

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