I have been watching the BBC coverage of the Royal Wedding build-up. Try to put aside all of the hype, and look carefully at the actual crowds. They are not actually that deep, there is no sense of crush – people are standing with a reasonable amount of space when they go in for their crowd interviews – and there is plenty of space on the pavements to pass behind those people ranked behind the barriers. The crowds are much, much smaller than they were for Charles and Diana’s wedding (I was in London that day). Despite an obvious BBC policy of interviewing lots of token black guests, the crowds are also overwhelmingly white and, judged by the crowd member interviews to date, composed of embarassing simpletons.
Like many of my readers, I was on the demonstration against the Operation Cast Lead Israeli attack on Gaza, which went from Hyde Park along Bayswater, down Kensington Church Road and along Knightsbridge. It was crushed, twenty abreast, and the tail was still leaving long after the head had arrived at destination. That was a longer route than this royal procession. It undoubtedly had more people than this event, and the Metropolitan Police put the number at 40,000.
If today’s event was an anti-war demonstration, the Police would tell us it was 30,000. As it is a royal occasion, I have no doubt they will claim 3,000,000.