Friday, October 5

Nice balloon picture (Jupitus 1, Hoon 0)

Spent a few hours in Bournemouth the other day on the last day of the Labour party conference.

According to the Dorset Echo, "£5.3 million Operation Pegasus ... involved more than 400 officers, 140 police staff and more than 150 civilian security staff."

I don't know if the Labour Party head honchos had got Bournemouth mixed up with Brighton in the summer, but that's a *lot* of security for a smallish seaside town in Autumn. As I wandered around the seafront, the police seemed to outnumber members of the public two to one. A dozen police loitered around the entrance of the near-deserted pier, desperately looking for something to do.

Walking around with a largish camera I felt liable to stopped and questioned at any moment. Possibly my paranoia had been fuelled by reading this report in the Bournemouth local paper

Bournemouth Echo

where two disabled men drinking outside a pub overlooking a hotel where delegates were staying were apparently searched, questioned and had their homes searched for variously "looking at a police officer" and "opening an electricity bill" in a public place.

In the end, rather than risking any people photography – which, let's face it, is a lot more of your typical evildoer activity than opening an electricity bill – I took a few photos of a balloon on the pier.

On a related note, on the way to the town centre from the train station I pass a curry house that has a display of photos of the famous(-ish) people that have eaten there. It always makes me smile that they can put a name to comedic DJ Phil Jupitus but they can't conjure up Geoff Hoon's name. The best they can do is "House of Common (sic) MP". Clearly, slippery Geoff didn't make a big impression.

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