Protester unfurls flag on Buckingham Palace gates

Besieged by Bush

London in lockdown

The city is in a tizzy over the impending arrival today of Our President, The Shrub. Some 14,000 extra policemen will patrol the streets, the city has been declared a no-fly zone and fighter jets will be ready to shoot down errant aircraft, snipers are positioned on rooftops; combat units are stationed strategically in the city. News reports are that a Secret Service contingent of 250 will accompany W. Words like assassination attempt and terrorist attack are being bandied about.

In the midst of this surfeit of security, a protester managed to climb without interference the front gate of Buckingham Palace, where George will stay, unfurled an upside-down American flag with an unfriendly message, and chained herself to the gate.

The symbolism of the picture of the protester on the gate notwithstanding, the Guardian's headline over the picture read, "Protests begin but majority backs Bush visit as support for war surges." The Guardian cited a new poll indicating "62% of voters believing that the US is 'generally speaking a force for good, not evil in the world'," and only "15% of British voters agree with the idea that America is the 'evil empire' in the world'." Tony Blair is enjoying a slight resurgence in the polls as well, with the percentage of Britons unhappy with his performance dropping to 52% in the latest Guardian poll.

I say, damned by faint praise.

The Guardian included a special "Dear George" section, in which they asked 60 Brits and Americans to write a personal message to W. The tenor of the remarks ranged from:

Dear president Bush,
I'm sure you'll be having a nice little tea party with your fellow war criminal, Tony Blair. Please wash the cucumber sandwiches down with a glass of blood, with my compliments.
— Harold Pinter, Playwright

to:

George,
Great job, keep it up!
— Julie Burchill, Writer

and everything in between.

The section is online at guardian.co.uk. It is definitely worth a quick read.

But wait! There's more

The Daily Mirror revealed Wednesday morning to great eclat that one of its reporters had managed to get a job at Buckingham Palace as a footman two months earlier and had had free range of the palace. Oh, my! Scandal, indeed!