19 November 2003

Bush arrives in London, faces protests

George W. Bush has arrived in the UK on a state visit, a first for any US president. He will also be the first US president to sleep over at Buckingham Palace since 1918, when Woodrow Wilson was accorded the honour. Unlike Wilson, Bush will be greeted with a 21-gun salute.

Central London will be cordoned off to all traffic, and 5000 police will be deployed on the streets as part of extraordinary security measures, a historical first for the city. The move, however, is widely unpopular with the British public, which is split in the middle on the Bush visit. Tens of thousands of protestors are expected to march near the Palace to heckle the US President on Thursday.

A grandmother, Ms. Lindis Percy, 61, was the first demonstrator yesterday to climb over the gates of the Palce to plant a yellow banner declaring "Bush is not welcome".

Protests in Singapore

An unexpected protest came from the highest office in Singapore, when the Senior Minister called a press conference to express his displeasure with the Bush visit. Speaking to a packed newsroom, Mr. Lee complained that the visit showed favoritism towards Bush and a lack of regard for his own status during his previous visit to the UK.

Visibly bristling with controlled anger, the great leader jabbed the air with his left finger as he said, "Look, I went to the UK two weeks ago. Did they close down central London for me? They didn't even close down the hospital I had to visit when my wife had a stroke! I spent the night sitting on the hospital waiting room, while this Bush fellow gets to sleep in the Palace! I am the founding father of Singapore, and obviously rank higher than GW Bush!"

Lessons for Singapore

Mr. Lee declared that the incidents showed lessons for Singapore's survival.

"We must obviously not follow the United Kingdom's slide into mediocre service. I am at least happy that in Singapore, the traffic police will definitely close off the roads to the Istana or any part of Singapore at my command. Our police and army are always ready to mobilise whenever I get bad dreams about terrorist attacks. This shows that Singapore has a bright future and excellent hopes for beating this recession."

The Press Secretary for Tony Blair has issued a statement reaffirming its cordial ties with Singapore, and has explained that "the UK has special relations with the United States, which means to say, GW Bush is more important to us than the Senior Minister."

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