An aid agency is trying to achieve what the Luftwaffe and V-2 rockets failed to do: the destruction of St. Paul's cathedral.
ActionAid has submitted an application to the City, requesting the "total demolition" of Wren's 17th century masterpiece, in order that they can search for precious metals underneath. Surely they can't be serious. The very idea! What's yanked the chain of these cheeky chariteers?
The request is actually an ingenious way of calling attention to one of ActionAid's signature campaigns, namely, their opposition to plans by Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite from a mountain in India's eastern state of Orissa. The FTSE 100-listed mining company's scheme would involve heavy deforestation on the Niyamgiri mountain, which is held sacred by the nearby Dongria Kondh tribe who (bear with us) believe it to be the temple of Niyam Raja, a god the animist Dongria regard as "supreme".
All of this may matter little to your average Londoner, so why the beef with St. Paul's? Spokesperson Brendan O'Donnell lays it out thusly:
"Just as Londoners wouldn't tolerate the demolition of their cathedral to make a quick buck, so the Kondh people won't allow their treasured mountain and forests to be destroyed."
Perhaps, but as Wyclef Jean memorably intoned, two wrongs don't make a right, Mr. O'Donnell.
The demolition is unlikely to proceed, but if the 17th century icon is in need of a touch up, we've a suggestion on what should be done.