Jan Prost, spokesman for a group of residents at the St Paul’s tented village and a former classmate of Charlie Gilmour’s, has confirmed that a temporary ‘tent swap’ has been arranged with a similar camp in northern France. While news reports have yet to confirm the French site’s existence, Mr Prost says he has been assured it is in the grounds of Lille Cathedral and that the inhabitants are very excited about the swap.
Prost said that while the St Paul’s thing was very worthy, it did become a bit ‘samey’ after a while, and that a capitalism-free foreign break would be welcome. ‘Besides,’ he said, ‘the council has put us down for a move to the new Finsbury Square overflow site, which just doesn’t have the amenities of St Paul’s. Apparently Lille even has Millets in the Beaux Arts Gallery, which must be the local mall, so we’ll be able to upgrade if their tents aren’t up to scratch.’
Discussions almost foundered when some St Paul’s residents objected to the capitalist concept of a holiday, sitting around in a campsite doing nothing, but it was pointed out that despite France’s socialist leanings a meaningful protest could be continued while in Lille.
‘People also objected to paying for the crossing and having to submit to passport controls ,’ said Prost, ‘but Lille’s representative, who didn’t give his name but said he had run a protest camp at somewhere called Sangatte, said it wasn’t a problem.
‘Apparently you just hitch a ride in the back of a lorry or stow away on a Eurostar train, and job done. We’ve arranged to travel out in the normal way, lend the guys our passports to give them some cred in London, and then sneak back through those pathetic border controls for a laugh coming back.’
The only thing niggling Mr Prost about the exchange was that someone had said the Lille residents were pro-capitalism and wanted to reap its benefits. ‘Something must have got lost in translation,’ he said. ‘They had very strange French accents.’