It isn’t often that this blog gets the chance to report on events of national significance, but I thought I must have been in with a chance today.
When I came out of the tube station in the morning there was an impressive array of muscular coppers lined up outside the University opposite. Some of the offices built in the fashionable largely plate-glass style had covered their nether regions in hardboard, as if expecting some kind of assault.
Throughout the day, whenever I popped out for a fag, preparations were clearly being made for the arrival of something monstrous and ghastly – perhaps Genghis Khan and his Hordes, or at least a decent-sized football crowd.
Roads were being closed off, squads of police – half Hoplite, half American footballer – emerged from the police station, as did detachments of cavalry. Plain-clothes men (middle market leisure wear and sensible haircuts) sauntered out to assume their positions.
As the afternoon progressed, if you assumed a high vantage point, you could see the hoplites gathering in alleyways, stamping their feet and touching gloves (as we say in the world of cricket). Overhead, helicopters hovered low
drowning conversation and pumping the adrenaline.
When I left work, I found my usual route to the station blocked by one of the detachments of cavalry (their high-visibility vests shining in the sunlight) – preparing to scatter the enemy if they regrouped outside J. Fox (the ex-umbrella repair shop)
When I had, by a circuitous route, made my way round to the station, I finally got to see this terrible horde that had presumably issued forth from the Gates of Mordor. A long crocodile of children, essentially, looking slightly dazed, cowed and – I think – frankly glad it was all over, trailing hand-written cardboard signs in their wooly-mittened hands.
As a demonstration of who – ultimately – is really in charge, the whole thing was immensely impressive. If you enjoy that kind of thing.
(This photograph appears to suggest that the marchers had just demolished part of Moorgate – but, in fact, it’s just part of the Crossrail Project. The City is perfectly capable of demolishing itself.)