We all saw the glorious pictures from the NATO summit, accompanied by the usual ponderous words meaning nothing much at all except ‘it’ll cost you, tax payers’.
You may even have seen a glimpse of that security fence …
Here is a report of what it looked like from the other side of that NATO prison fence in Cardiff:
The centre of town, where the Castle is, was fenced in with that Ring of Steel, so that normal traffic into or through town was impeded from mid August.
On the two days of the Summit, the city was in lockdown. Nobody went into town, nobody went across town to Newport. Appointments were cancelled right left and centre, and so were deliveries. The businesses, big and small, in the famous pedestrian district and the arcades lost millions in income. The pubs were empty. The parks were empty. The schools were closed.
Ah, you say, but didn’t Obama and Cameron visit a school class?
Yes, indeed they did – and pity the poor kids and teachers who had to come in extra on that day, just to perform for those two leaders!
The staff at the Celtic Manor Hotel where they all stayed had been given two weeks of paid leave and was replaced by staff, security vetted, by the participating countries. Wales may be a nice country with hospitable people, as Obama said on TV, but better not let the staff in that Welsh hotel anywhere near those leaders!
Food and drink deliveries had to be unloaded, lorries and food or drinks were security checked and then had to be re-loaded for delivery. Can’t have our illustrious guests be poisoned, now can we!
The dinner on the first evening was held at Cardiff Castle. When I saw the clip of Obama striding out to the sounds of ‘Men of Harlech’, I thought to myself – you wouldn’t stride out so smilingly if you knew the real words to that song, Mr President, and no, it’s not the version made famous in the film ’Zulu’.
But there’s more!
The magnificent jet fighter and other military hardware on display at the front of the Celtic Manor Hotel were fake. They were made of papermache!
A great symbol for that Summit.
In fact, nothing shows the disdain and indeed the neo-feudal attitude with which these our leaders regard us than the security circus of that summit.
We, who pay for this, and who pay for what they decide “we” need, were kept away behind prison fences as if we were a rabid mob.
These leaders fly in, graciously spend a few minutes for a photo op with selected, squeaky-clean children to show us how kind and gracious they are, and then fly away again – while we clean up after them and bear the costs: for the security personnel, the police, and in lost business.
This is how the serfs and villains were treated during medieval feudalism: pay for the gracious presence of your betters, so you may gawp at them from a very safe distance while they feast.
And today, these neofeudal overlords treat us exactly the same!
Time for a change, methinks!
Photo by Cloudsurfer_UK
Photo by Al-fresco