Hmmm… Apropos my speculation that we would see a dramatic fall in US vacation bookings in London, here’s an interesting report.
Thousands of US military personnel based in the UK have been banned by commanders from travelling to London in the wake of Thursday’s bomb attacks. Personnel, most of them from US Air Force units at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, in Suffolk, have been told not to go within the M25 motorway. Family members who are from the US are also being urged to stay away. The US air force said the order had been made in the interests of the safety of its troops.
I’ve just listened to a slightly embarrassed British Defence Secretary, John Reid, arguing on the radio that this was just the equivalent of a bureaucratic error — i.e. an order than had been issued immediately after the bombings but had not yet been rescinded. We’ll see.
Update: Order now rescinded. The Commander of US Forces in Europe, General James L. Jones, based at Mons in Belgium, said in a statement:
“While all personnel are encouraged to be vigilant, we cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by the acts of terrorists. All US personnel are encouraged to continue with their normal routine.”
Phew! So that’s all right then. Thanks to the many American readers who drew this statement to my attention!