Howard Elston, our political editor, reports from the trenches of Britain’s second city as thousands of troublemakers roll into Birmingham centre.
I am sitting on the front line of civil unrest (writes Lord Elston) just behind police lines as the Birmingham authorities ratchet things up for the Tory yearly conference.
The line of conflict has been drawn in the concrete and steel of this great city’s urban centre creating a barrier between Fiveways and Alpha Tower.
Enforcement officials are ready for trouble, a source told me today as I shared martinis, a peanut butter curry and a nifty little craft beer (peppered by the hint of cinnamon and chocolate) with senior coppers in a downtown Mailbox eaterie.
One Chief Supt told me: “With all the Tories hitting town, we are ready with body armour, light weaponry, taser guns, water cannons, mounted units and mobile hit-and-snatch squads.”
“We know how the Conservatives can run riot and throw urban areas into chaos.”
He said all delegates, including the Cabinet, will be kettled into a tight corral of uniformed police officers between the Symphony Hall and Gas Street accompanied by rottweillers and Staffordshire bull terriers. They will also be armed with whips (the cops, not the dogs).
“Any overeducated toffs or toffettes get out of line and they’re toast,” my source warned. ‘If anyone spots a delegate taking cash from poor people, we have set up a special 0800 number for anonymous tip offs.The hooligans will not win.”
“And if any Tory tries to make trouble with our city drug dealers, footpads, pickpockets, flimflam artists, conmen or football nutcases, they’ll will be lifted, charged and thrown in front of a judge within six hours,” he added.
The high security red alert comes after the last time the Tory Party held its political conference at the high-end super posh ICC. Then, marauding Brexiteer, pro-grammar school, fox hunting, EU-hating, frak-loving nuke heads rampaged through the beautiful heart of Corporation Street leaving fear, destruction and horror in their wake.
One woman in the High Street told me last night: “I’m frightened. I can’t even stop for a quick whirl around Harvey Nicks now because of how fear stalks the streets”
And another resident added: “I won’t even go out for my Friday night curry in Moseley. It’d be that dangerous.”
Phil, a second hand car dealer from Bradford (that’s in Yorkshire) who was born on the golden fringes of Birmingham and is a Westminster expert, added: “Theresa May must step down hard on the hooligan element among the rank and file with their Audis, their strange ways of living, their weird food, their odd languages, their alien clothes and their second homes in Scotland. And she must quell rising mob fury within her own inner circle.”
“I know for a fact, because I have impeccable contacts, that she had a terse world with Dr Liam Fox, her Breximanic trade boss, who has had laid secret plans to infiltrate Broad Street nightlife hotspots with his own handpicked club wielding black shirt cadres of the bootboy right.”