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London under a blanket

London is a horrible place to travel around at the moment. Police in high-visibility jackets guard every entrance and platform at every tube station. Helicopters lurk overhead. It feels dangerous from both sides: we could be blown up by a bomb, or we could be shot dead by a policeman who misinterprets some slightly unusual action.

After the first round of bombs, everything largely swung back to normal very quickly, just as I remember it did in Manchester after the IRA bomb a few years back. (For those who lost loved ones, of course this isn't true.) After the second round of attempted bombs, then the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, things are different.

The police and the other emergency services have done their jobs admirably through all of this - I don't mean to say anything against them as institutions or individuals. But for a citizen caught up in this it's no fun at all. It's an intimidating atmosphere, and even worse for young men with asian or african complexions - they have to put up with bag-searches every time they travel from A to B with anything remotely bulky.

I can only hope the anti-terrorist investigation reaches its conclusion sooner rather than later, and also that UK law and liberty don't emerge too badly damaged from this crisis.

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