We live in momentous times at the moment, catastrophy or an adjustment of the economic climate - who knows?
But travelling through London yesterday, the day of the first protest against the G20talks I was struck how quiet the tube was. Did not see any police at Paddington, though plenty at Liverpool Street. A small middle aged man handed out anarchists leaflet on the train, and the only t-shirt I saw on the London train was a respectable CND one.
Watching the TV coverage later of the protestors hemmed in by the police at the HBS bank, it struck me that there was not much fire in the belly of the protestors. Most seem to be there for a day out and were taking photos of the whole, that they got trapped by the police for several hours in the 'kettling' or coralling was unfortunate.
Protest has of course gone for the more non-violent carnival atmosphere approach, thereby giving the police little chance of retaliation. Living as I did in the south west, for years we would have the picture of the'star wars' helmetted, batonned and shield bearing police preceding our news. It was a quiet warning to those that govern I suppose that we do not really tolerate violence to our young whatever the cause.
Being an active member of the Green party for some years, I remember the poll tax demonstrations in Bath outside the Guildhall. Chris Patten (middle of the road conservative) was the MP for Bath at the time, and as our party organised the opposition I was there holding the banner. The demonstration was fairly peaceful, but on my drive down through the park, I had seen two coachloads of police sitting there ready for trouble, it was rather nerve-wracking. I had been to the Guildhall Market the day before, and watched in astonishment as plain clothes men checked the security in our very quiet city.