I went for a lunchtime walk today in the City of London; and I went to see the early stage of the G20 demonstration, disguised in my chalkstripe suit.
It is a warm sunny day. Every open office block has at least one security guard, often in yellow Hi-Vis tops. Most looked bored, but a couple had a clear "bring it on" manner. One short-ish guard in leather gloves was clearly up for it.
Outside Liverpool Street station, the crusty protesters were emerging, sometimes gaping at all the tall buildings.
Most of the shops were still open, sometimes with an anxious manager or two at the front door. In one McDonalds the managers handed the serviettes and straws to people as they left, protecting from harm the dispenser behind them. Other shops were closed or even boarded up. One expensive clothes shop had removed all its window displays.
I walked around freely until I got to the Bank of England. There, the drums were beating and whistles were being blown, the fabrics were bright and the faces earnest: all the carnival cliches of an English demo.
However, already the police had formed a cordon and I heard a protest that those inside were "trapped".
On Threadneedle Street, I saw the row of British Transport Police (I wonder what their arrest powers are away from train stations?) blocking the entire road clenching each others' belts. There really was no reason for such an aggressive posture, and of course it was stressing both the police and the protesters caught behind them; as always with "public order" the police were making things worse.
And it was still before one o'clock on this warm sunny day: one can see how good tempers may not survive much longer, let alone into the evening.
This is not the first anti-capitalist demonstration I have seen in the City. But it is of course the first one where it is clear that capitalism is already undermined by all the wallies and nasties at desks and in meeting rooms just yards away from the waving placards.
I wonder if any protester gave this commercial lawyer in a rumpled suit a second glance? In any case, my silent sympathy was with them.
And, before I got caught up in any cordon and forced to be civilised to some dim-witted police officer, I escaped back to my desk to listen to the sirens and helicoptors.