THEY say there's a president in this town. Having spent a day looking for the man, I can't be sure. Presumably he was the grey figure one could almost make out in the morning, being greeted by an old lady at the front of Buckingham Palace. And after that? Who knows? Convoys came in, convoys went out. He must have been in one of them. Mustn't he?Will he ever appear in public again? Who knows, maybe they're playing an elaborate Weekend at Bernie's joke on us all with stunt doubles and computer graphics?
Outside the palace, Constable YE 369 wasn't so sure. "No telling where he is. Got to watch his back though, eh? Book depository? Grassy knoll? That'd be a lark, wouldn't it?" Perhaps. But it seemed unlikely. By my calculations, there were roughly 13 million policeman milling around the capital.
When Bush (or at least his car) entered Banqueting House at lunchtime, a sniper could be seen, resting his rifle on the parapet and eyeballing the meagre crowd across the road. To be part of this lucky few you had to be frisked, a process from which the lunch in my pocket ("Half a chicken salad sandwich, officer. No, please. Don't squeeze …") never quite recovered. But it was worth it. This was the closest to our guest any "civilian" would get all day. As night fell outside the palace, the mood changed. Numbers swelled and the smell of burning filled the air. A US flag was torched. Minor scuffles broke out between protesters and police. It was all rather grubby.
Perhaps that old lady was up there, at one of the darkened windows, sadly regarding the angry mob that her house guest had brought to her gates. Assuming, that is, that she actually had one.
Naah. Nobody in this administration has that much imagination.