As a pre-silly-season warm up, it doesn’t get much more absurd than a tense standoff between two warring factions of pigeon-feeders in Trafalgar Square.
Seriously though, it’s true. Apparently ‘Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons’ are getting mightily miffed with the ‘Pigeon Action Group’ over who has the legal right to feed the filthy flying rats in Trafalgar Square between 7:30 and 7:40 every morning. And now Ken Livingstone is getting so fed up with the squabbling that he’s considering banning the feeding altogether.
Let’s back up for a minute. It seems that the convoluted background to this odd tale all started with Ken’s attempts to rid Trafalgar Square of the vermin, by banning the feeding of pigeons (and the sale of pigeon food) around the square. This may have worked to an extent, but it greatly angered some people (like Carla Lane) who then launched into an extended campaign of nagging (and generally annoying) the Greater London Authority. Eventually it seems that Ken could take no more of this sort of treatment, and conceded an agreement to allow ‘Save the Trafalgar Square Pigeons’ to feed the pigeons limited amounts every morning under the supervision of ‘independent scientists’. Or somesuch nonsense.
So all the pigeony people were happy for a while. Happy, that is, until the rogue ‘Pigeon Action Group’ emerged from the shadows. We don’t know the origin of this secretive organisation, or whether they might actually be a splinter group from ‘Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons’ themselves (splitters!), but we do know they’re causing mayhem by daily dumping of unregulated amounts of pigeon food into the square, in clear defiance of the agreed regime. Someone always has to spoil things.
Now it looks like the GLA have had enough of all this, and may revert to a complete ban on feeding. Some pigeon-advocacy groups have suggested that this means Ken is an animal-hater, but this is mostly untrue according to an anonymous GLA source:
He's one of those people who is anti- cruelty to animals, but he's not an animal person. When a little dog comes up, he doesn't go, 'Coochie coochie coo.’ He thinks dogs are dogs and cats are cats and pigeons are pigeons, and that we don't make concessions for pigeons - pigeons make concessions for us.
We think it’s a good thing that this particular source chose to remain anonymous.
As the row intensifies, even Brian (London’s most literate pigeon) is getting a bit worked up about all this.