Storm Brewing

The atmosphere in Westminster is oppressive. Hop up the steps from the tube and the cries from the Tamils on Parliament Square bite your ears. I’ve seen plenty of protests on that piece of green over the past few years, but this one crackles like a storm-cloud ready to discharge a bolt of lightning.
The wind seems angry too, sweeping through Victoria Tower Gardens, pulling the hats off tourists and messing up their grey comb-overs. The pigtails on school children billow in syncronicity with the union flag above the tower.
Meanwhile, the press and the suits hurry in and out of the building. They ignore the angry mob and the red flags across the street, and yet they are under attack. They shrug off the violent wind, yet there is a storm brewing inside.
A man of about thirty moves slowly through the crowd. He has a grubby brown jacket and a bad back, both of which accounts for the angry expression on his face. He is hungry and slightly dazed from some painkillers, which accounts for the punch-drunk gait. The protesters, the tourists, the wind, don’t help his mood. Seeds, pollen from the trees, waft down and interfere with his eyes.
And as he approaches Millbank, a tall man in a light grey suit emerges from one of the offices, and turns back towards the Palace. Around his neck hangs a security pass, one with the green and white stripes, the most sought-after there is. He walks with his head bowed, looking at his feet, and doesn’t see the man in the brown jacket lumbering towards him. And the man in the brown jacket has no inclination to move. Only when they are in each other’s personal space, does the man with the green striped security pass feel the presence of the other. He twitches only slightly but is visibly startled. It is as if he is expects to be mugged on the street.
He, the politician, regains his stride and heads towards The Commons. I, the man in the brown jacket, haul myself into the coffee shop on the corner, the better to take refuge from the storm.

3 Replies to “Storm Brewing”

  1. Oh, I say! I can’t imagine you in a bad mood, Rob.
    Don’t tell me you‘ve been fiddling your expenses too? I would have thought you were a righteous part of the storm, not one needing shelter from it.
    ps Any news on You Know What?

  2. Nice piece of writing Rob. I could just imagine the scene. Better get your jacket cleaned though!
    I am looking forward to hearing your views on the current expenses scandal. Personally I think its gone far enough. Time to move on. There is something that makes me feel very uncomfortable about the glee with which the papers continue to drip feed the baying crowd.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Grannie Rose.
      I may try and summon the strength to write some more about the expenses row, but I don’t really have anything to add that has not been covered elsewhere. I have to say, I disagree with your “its gone far enough” comment (which echoes the Archbishop of Canterbury’s intervention on Saturday in The Times). It is the politicians who have made the mistake here, and if there are more revelations to come, then come they must. We can’t be letting people off the hook or sweeping anything under the carpet in order to protect people’s sensibilities.
      Yes, the Telegraph has “played” this in order to boost its own circulation. But at its heart, this is not a manufactured story. We must have a full catharsis.

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