The Bilderberg delegates may be snugly tucked in their plush Grove enclave for their clandestine weekend meeting, however the Fringe event was in full swing on Friday. Hundreds of activists, concerned citizens and media rubbed shoulders within the entrance area of the Grove specifically allocated by Watford authorities to house them. News that David Cameron was to arrive that afternoon was the hot topic of the day and whilst unexpected, the reactions drew major eyerolls, suspicion, scorn and downright anger.
Needless to say, the mood was ebullient; truth seekers, pro-transparency campaigners and curious locals all engaged in a positive, thoughtful dialogue about Bilderberg with one another. What does go on in there? Why the need for secrecy? And the burning question; just how does Henry Kissinger take his gin?
"You would have to be very naive not to think something sinister goes on at Bilderberg," one activist, Francis, from Manchester explained to me. "Just look at what's going on over the world globally - the ultra elite are getting richer at the detriment of the working and middle classes who only continue to suffer under the guise of austerity. Are we really to believe these highly powerful - and time poor - individuals would make the effort to meet in such darkness were they not engineering policy to benefit themselves? The evidence is all around us: we are living evidence."
Whilst the Grove area is on complete lockdown with a gigantic, imposing ring of steel erected around the grounds' perimeter, snaking its way right though the middle of the no-go zone runs the Union Canal. Despite the tow paths closing under 'counter-terrorism' and mooring banned, the canal itself remains a public right of way. This means only one thing: ALL ABOARD THE BILDERBARGE! Spending the afternoon chugging down with Alex Jones, his Infowars team and We Are Change, we managed to legitimately infiltrate Grove land. As the barge (replete with bespoke Bilderbanners) slowly wound along the quaint English canal, its occupants taking in the scenery, it slowly became apparent that *adopts David Attenborough voice* amongst the herons, ducks and swans, the lesser-spotted GS4 security and rare breed police officers were the most commonly found wildlife.
Pairs of police were stationed at every lock and bridge whilst G4S manned golf buggies hugging the borders of the Grove zipped along casting a watchful eye over us. Waterside security was everywhere. As the barge approached the point equidistant between the Grove and the Fringe and Alex whipped out his trusty bullhorn to express the collective dissent, we noticed the crew had been joined by a not-so-friendly floating flotilla of police behind us demanding we move along. Tailing us until the Bilderbarge was out of the counter-terrorism area, they then forced the barge steerer to show his identity.
David Cameron was not seen being driven through the Grove front gates (the roads surrounding the back entrance, however, have been completely sealed off) though Number 10 did officially confirm he will be attending. As for his pledge to be the most open and transparent government when he took office ("We must be different from what has gone before us. Careful with public money. Transparent about what we do and how we do it") not to mention their self appointed Ministerial Code, his refusal to reveal what was discussed behind the Grove gates is nothing short of hypocritical. Thankfully he may be forced to out the nature of his meeting with the ultra-elite cabal.