Today I walked by the river past the Tower of London to take a brief tour of the HMS Belfast which is fascinating and I highly recommend. A battle ship that is no longer at war, although this weekend London seemed to be in the midst of one. This wonderful city can be a lovely, very interesting and dynamic city. In places obscenely expensive but then in truth only the obscene can afford to live and go there so perhaps that's for the best.
I have enjoyed living on the outskirts at the SW side, driving in along the river on the occasions I have worked on radio and been blessed with a night slot so avoided the Chelsea tractor driving plummy mummies picking up their Cordelias and Arabellas, and the road rage that ensues. The bridges are beautiful, the architecture fascinating and we have some of the best arts and theatre in the world, and wonderful street markets. The river running through it is the pulse and increasing the developers thank goodness are making sure that everything turns towards it rather against it.
It was an interesting weekend. Full of extremes of conspicuous wealth and conspicuous resentment. I watched the Oxford Cambridge boat race. Wanted Cambridge to win, Oxford won, but they both won really. They took part. Then up to town narrowly missing the march and the riots to see Aida at the ROH. I think I was supposed to feel sorry for the heroine wailing her heart out about a man who loved her but also wanted to be with her father who was the enemy of the man she loved. Any way, there was not enough jeopardy, she looked as though she'd had more than three good meals a day, and I didn't care about any of them. I just wanted to slap her and tell him to get a life. But the dancers were absolutely incredible and the singing sublime and as opera tickets are ridiculously expensive unless you get standing room I was amazed the rioters didn't target the ROH instead of Fortnum and Mason and the Ritz. But I suppose they deduced the ROH pay their taxes.
Any way, after returning home, I watched the march on TV and looked at the faces of those who quietly protested. They were good people I saw, with honest faces. Something ironically I would never describe the likes of Bob Diamond nor the former chief of RBS as having, but hey, appearances can be deceptive. Speaking of which, I felt for the police who were being attacked in the riots. They are just doing their jobs. They are being impacted by the cuts as well. They are in debt, their livelihood and families.
What I suggest, and it is only a suggestion mind you, is that we get those who work in the City (traders, only top level who made the decisions who assisted in the financial crisis. And ideally their CEOs and MDs) and the politicians who allowed them to get away with it. And next time there is a march we put them in the front line. They don't have to say sorry or be forgiven (as Bob Diamond was asked to do at that ridiculous inquest not so long ago by the politicians trying to 'speak for the tax payer', and they don't even need to say sorry). Words are meaningless and the banks will always find a way to claw in the money they are being asked to pay back. No, I feel these people should stand in the front line. Then the rioters would be attacking the right people. Of course they would fight dirty as they always do but perhaps we could do what we did in Libya and declare a no fly zone to back up the rebels. Did they but know it, by attacking the police, the rioters yesterday were really attacking one of their own.