London: a trip to the metropolis


So here I am. Trafalgar square. Monument to imperialism, war and the triumph of Graeco-Roman educated northern European stiff upper lip over a small beligerent Frenchman. Le Fox of course, being one of our kir-swilling crepe-eating brethren from the-other-side-of-le-manche isn’t with here with me, taking Nelson’s column as a direct insult to the French red, white and blue. Ok, i made that up, but being avian-averse, she wouldn’t have a particularly good time anyway.

I’ve just walked here from Buckingham Palace along Whitehall, the seat of British power. The palace’s environs are full of well-to-do houses, old world clubs and stretches of green, all ceremonially guarded by soldier in funny hats on funny horses. From these treelined streets, Whitehall seemed most clinical. Security guards and tourists everywhere-imposing white buldings from which one fifth of humanity was once governed. It seemed rather apt that the side entrance to Buckingham palace (through which the scones and crumpets pass, never to return) was relatively deserted with a traffic cone blocking the part of the opening not covered by the automatic barrier.

In comparison, Downing street seemed like a fortified bunker with successive lines of huge railings complicated entry systems and stern looking flak-jacketed police. Is the Prime Minister so unpopular? How sad the Queen must feel, no longer inspiring enough hatred in her subjects to warrant greater protection.

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