Well the Bilderberg Conference, at the Grove Hotel in Watford is all over now and what an experience it has been.
Firstly what was it? Until I was briefed by the police I only knew it was a controversial meeting of big wigs but beyond that nothing more. The importance of it was clearly rammed home to me when I had to sign the official secrets act before I could be briefed. It was then revealed that the police would have to be prepare for all eventualities from a full blown terror attack (so many world VIP’s in one place together) to potential disruption from protestors who may or may not cause trouble or who may or may not be provoked by saboteurs and infiltrators!! They were well prepared and they were great.
In the end the protestors did their protesting and all went well. It is to the credit of the 2000 protestors (at the peak on Saturday) and to the style of policing. All too often incorrect policing can itself cause problems.
Several protestors got in touch with me about my comments in print, regarding my concerns about trouble. They put me right about anti-Bilderberg protesters not being violent !! Some even spoke to me on the phone from far flung corners of the country and others e mailed me from all over the world, one even came in person to reassure me all would be well.
It is apparent that the protestors are fiercely proud of their legitimate peaceful protest and having now “hosted” them can I say a big thank you for visiting us and showing the world that we do need to heed what our political masters are doing and whilst I don’t quite share their level of concern I wholeheartedly believe it is their right to protest. They do serve as a real reminder of the potential abuse of power when concentrated into only a few hands.
Local residents to start with, like me, were also concerned. Meetings were held by the police, which the protestors also attended, and they went really well. Fear of what you don’t know is the worst kind. Their concerns about where people where going to park, camp, go to the loo etc were legitimate though ridiculed in one “quality” paper! All was sorted and the event passed off well. So my advice to any town hosting in the future is talk talk talk , listen, include everyone.
Final PS – still no true reflection of costs and who pays, but will press our new PCC for an answer on this one.