Police will spend an estimated £2 million to secure this weekend’s Lib Dem conference in Sheffield, with measures in place such as a 2.5 metre high steel and concrete fence to deter protesters.
One thousand officers will either be on duty or standby across the weekend to protect Clegg from anger over spending cuts and the Lib Dem’s change of mind (I refuse to call it a ‘U-turn’) about university tuition fees.
Shoppers are expected to stay away from the city centre through fear of impending, and perhaps inevitable violence.
The city of Sheffield had been hopeful for a £2.5 million boost to its economy from the biggest Spring gathering the Lib Dems have ever held, but with people staying away it is unlikely that this will happen.
Although protestors have to eat and purchase items from surrounding shops, stores predict a slump in takings over the weekend.
One may question Clegg’s sanity on returning to his home city and confronting the thousands of people that, not to put a finer point on it, ‘want a word with him’, but at least he is facing up to his mistakes. <>Facing up to them behind a fence and the shields of 1,000 police officers, that is.