Politicians have been running around today. I have bumped into several Liberal Democrat peers. Several broadcasters are still stationed on Abingdon Green – just across the road from the Palace of Westminster – tracking events and interviewing the band of academics, politicians and commentators that form the usual suspects, myself included. Whether we add much, if anything, to the sum of human knowledge is another matter.
The day has not been without its public events, some at times slightly surreal. I heard loud noises this morning and thought there may be a demonstration. When I looked out the window, there was a troupe of Morris Dancers performing in front of the Lords. They formed a somewhat noisy backdrop to the broadcasters across the road before moving on and performing again in Victoria Tower Gardens. Later in the day, there was another loud group, this time several hundred protesters who wanted to argue the case for electoral reform. They had banners saying ‘fair votes’ but I am fairly sure they were campaiging for a new electoral system. They kept chanting, very loudly, and although chanting in unison I could not make out a word they were saying (apart from one, ‘Clegg’). They marched down to Smith Square, where Nick Clegg was holding his discussions with colleagues. I saw Simon Hughes’ yellow taxi parked on the corner. They blocked the square while they held their demonstration.
Later in the afternoon, a lone demonstrator appeared on Abingdon Green, held up a placard and started shouting – he clearly had a gripe about a particular television presenter. I wouldn’t have minded so much had he not started his shouting just as I was being interviewed. I gamely ploughed on, not least on the basis that the directional microphones would pick up easily what I was saying but not what he was shouting. My only concern was that what he was shouting may have been more interesting than my profound words of wisdom. He certainly kept some passing tourists entertained.
Over the past couple of days, I have done several interviews on Abingdon Green. While I have been waiting, it has not been unusual for someone to come up to chat, either a member of the television crew or someone from the security team. Today, while waiting for one interview, someone walked up and started chatting about the political situation. I assumed he was from the security team. He chatted and then picked up the newspapers at the bottom of the television platform, had a quick look through and then said ‘bye. I watched him as he left, walking up the road and disappearing in the distance. No one had any idea who he was.