Last Sunday I was at Westminster Abbey for the annual dedication evensong, in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London, and most of the mayors of the London boroughs. As the choir gave voice to various Herbert Howell’s liturgical pieces an external antiphon was provided by the anti- capitalist demonstrators outside. Although I heartily supported the occupation of Wall Street, and am glad someone is not allowing us to forget who really brought the world economy almost to its knees, I suspect that those protestors would have had a distorted idea about the people they had seen enter the Abbey. The exotic costume of the mayors and the deputy lieutenants, not the least that of the clergy, must have given a strong impression that here was a gathering of the ‘ social elite’ that was the enemy. The mayors were in actuality far from monochrome. Amongst their ranks were women and people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. They appeared to be much more representaive of the progressive politics of the capital than either the clergy in the sanctuary, or indeed the protesters outside!
My highlight of the week so far, apart from the above, was hearing Steven Pinker rubbishing the notion that violent and oppressive individuals suffer from low self esteem. On the contrary, he insisted, it is the narcissistic types with a sense of entitlement who cause all the trouble. I could imagine the dismissive wave of his hand as he derided that particular bit of ‘ 90′s unscientific nonsense’. I always thought that it was weird that people would shake their heads at bullies with barrage balloon sized egos, and proclaim- it‘s just his low self esteem. Imagine being robbed by somebody and putting it down to their generous disposition?