It's that special time of the year again, when death-dealers descend on Newham to enjoy the 'Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition'.
It's an arms fair.
In Newham of all places.
I'm always worried that the local gangs are going to storm the fair and loot it of some 'interesting' souvenirs. Then for the next couple of months I find myself dodging cruise missiles and landmines rather than the usual broken bottles, knives and dog turds…
Both the mayor of Newham, and the mayor of London want the exhibition to stop coming here – but it still comes, bringing with it massive disruption for the people of Newham.
So there will be lots of demonstrations (some have already taken place, such as a street party), but as the exhibition starts tomorrow we are expecting things to start warming up a bit. I haven't seen any
soap-dodgers protesters yet, but I'm guessing that tomorrow will see the banner wielding population of Newham increase a thousand-fold. At the moment it seems that a lot of their tactics involve blocking various roads that control entry to the exhibition.
So far I have seen a veritable army of police arriving, shields at the ready (4,000 police taken from other duties to cover the event). Obviously this leaves the rest of London a bit short on policing. I've seen convoys of riot police making their way to the area, and this morning there appeared to be random vehicle checks.
On our part, the LAS have manned an extra ambulance or two for the duration of the exhibition. Sitting in the sun watching people shouting seems like an easy way of getting some overtime. We are also doing other things, but it's probably not a good idea to tell the world and his wife about it. I just hope that the exhibition organisers are paying for our services, after all, it's not like they are short of money.
It might be interesting to print out a spotters card of dictators, warlords and despots just to see how many you can catch turning up in unmarked limousines
I must admit I'm torn. I like the police, they are always helpful, they do a job that is remarkably difficult and when I've needed help they've always turned up and been very useful.
I really sympathise with the protesters, and if I wasn't working, then I'd probably be there amongst them waving a banner and trying not to get stood on by a police horse.
So I'll sit on the fence and say that they are both going to be a huge pain in the backside because they are both going to block roads, probably injure each other and will cause traffic jams when I'm planning on going home.
The philosophy of Reynolds – 'balance through the dislike of everyone'.