Last night's fireworks display on and around the London Eye was an amazing experience. Never been before, and never seen anything like it before. Reported to have been 500,000 people there. First shock was walking over Westminster Bridge from our flat to the House of Commons or more accurately trying to. We set off just after 9.00. It took about 25 minutes to cover the 300 yds over the bridge, where we encountered a 20' high wall and a police controlled no-go zone 20 yds wide. Showed my identification to a police officer and he just laughed. No way through. Another 25 minutes to retreat the 300 yds to where we had started - and to walk down to Lambeth Bridge and cross there instead. Never seen so much human flesh crammed in together. Accidentally stood on one woman and kicked two others who had decided to sit down. Saw only one fight. Reminded me of one of those penguin nesting sites that David Attenbrough films. Anyway, we finally made it to Black Rod's Entrance, and the Terrace in time for the display.
And what a display it was. Loudspeaker's all over two bridges and the Embankment. Hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes parked on the Thames. Could see a barbecue in full glory on one of them. And then the fireworks started. Our little faces were beaming in wonderment. Inevitable, my Welsh hill sheep farmer gene was asking me how much such an extravaganza would have cost (at least a million for 11 minutes I reckoned). But another told me that the world was watching. If you're going to put on a show, it should be a good one. And it was just brilliant. Jeremy Hunt was right in yesterday's Telegraph when he said that we must really go for it and put on an Olympic Show to dazzle the world.
Last night was a great perk of my job as an MP. We payed £25 per ticket (which I think went to charities chosen by the Speaker). A fellow MP did tell me that next year, the Terrace may be hired out to corporate sponsors, paying £200 per head. Probably pack 500 on - which makes a cool £100,000. The question to be asked though is whether we want to demean our Parliament by renting it out to the corporate market. I suppose the Queen lets people walk around Buck House for a fee, so why not I suppose. Whatever a great night enjoyed by all.