It's Time for the Occupy St Paul's Protesters to go Home

05/11/2011 21:39 GMT | Updated 04/01/2012 10:12 GMT

I believe the Occupy protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral in London have now made their point and should go home and allow the Cathedral to be able to function normally again. I have quite a bit of sympathy for their cause but, ultimately, there comes a time when such protests wear a little then and start to lose public support.

I think that time has now come and that the protesters should return to the beds a number of them have been returning to overnight anyway (rather than staying in the tents) on a permanent basis.

Whereas the Occupy Wall Street protesters in the US appear to have a clear vision of what they want to see changed, the UK version seems to almost exist for its own sake.

I've heard various people taking part being interviewed on TV and radio and very few of them have been able to clearly articulate an over-arching theme about what they'd actually like to see changed in the way we run our country and society.

All you get are the same whines about capitalism you find at most far-leftwing rallies.

I'd argue, as Vince Cable did at this Autumn's Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham, that what we need is not an end to capitalism (that idea's just plain nonsense) but, rather, responsible capitalism.

I was at the Conference and was interviewed by John Harris of The Guardian and asked what I thought 'responsible capitalism' meant.

I replied thus: "Trying to control the markets to a certain extent, to ensure that those who are the poorest aren't affected by changes in the market."

I stick by those words. Not easy to achieve, I grant you, but that must be our aim.

I admit that, at a time of austerity for the country, trying to sell the idea of a 'responsible' form of Capitalism is pretty tough but I, as a Social Liberal, believe that-as soon as we've got the country on a sound financial footing again-we must be restoring investment and much-needed services.

All those people who look to Labour on this issue are clearly barking up the wrong tree.

As Lib Dem President Tim Farron has put it: "I'm angry about the cuts. I'm angry about the reason we're making these cuts. Labour's enduring legacy-far worse even than the Iraq war-is their decision in 1997 to de-regulate the banks, to out Thatcher Mrs Thatcher, to idolise the markets."

"They made greed a virtue, they stoked up a fake boom and then they left office and changed their tune.

"Labour spent 13 years in power behaving like Tories and now (more than a year) in opposition behaving like Trots and they deserve to be derided and ridiculed for both."

Tim was spot on with those comments. Labour have no credibility on the economy.

Of course we need to see further action to ensure the big banks behave ethically and, of course, we need further measures to ensure tax avoiders are caught and forced to pay the money they owe.

But the idea that we can somehow change our whole financial and political system because of some utopian idealistic version of reality really is a nonsense.

The Occupy protesters in London have made their views clear, they've been given coverage by virtually every media outlet in the English-speaking world, Government ministers have heard their collective voice.

I'd suggest that now is the time for them to go home, sign up to a political party and start effecting real, lasting change.

They may be against 'The Establishment,' but-sometimes-it is only by joining that 'Establishment' that lasting progress can be made.