Pope in Britain will mean more police overtime

Here's some bad news for the many people hoping to give Dr Ratzinger a welcome he won't forget when he drops by in September. The Times reports that security will be extensive and elaborate. The Pope's view of Britain and its people is likely to consist of a row of police helmets.

Ratzo has been visiting Portugal, a country almost as bankrupt as the UK, and to the horror of British police observers, many well-wishers were allowed to come within egg-throwing distance. Meredydd Hughes, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire said that Portuguese police "have been much more relaxed and calm than we are about the distance the Pope is allowed to be from the people." In the UK, there would be "many more physical barriers" - partly because of traditional British obsession with terrorist threats, but mainly because of "the anti-Papal protests which are expected in Britain." Go and boo if you like, but he won't be able to hear you. The taxpayer will be paying top whack for Operation Spare The Pope's Blushes, naturally.

In Portugal, people appear to have been genuinely pleased to see him. Indeed, he attracted larger crowds at Fatima than John Paul II got when he last visited, which is quite an achievement. They were rewarded with hard-hitting comments about gay marriage, which he described as an "insidious and dangerous" threat to society. If he tried something like that here, of course, he might find himself in trouble.

But then with all those police officers watching his every move, he wouldn't dare.


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