THE leader of the Balearic government is usually accompanied by at least two security guards. All the island's leading officials have armed bodyguards. It is interesting to see, though, that British politicians appear to come on holiday to the island without any form of security. They don't even ask for it from the Spanish authorities. The most recent case was John Prescott, the deputy leader of the government, who spent a week on the island with no visible security. A similar state of affairs occurs with David Blunkett, who travels to the island with only his private secretary. I sometimes wonder whether security guards are just for show and to underline the importance of the man or woman. The U.S. Secret Service are past masters. They used to run alongside the President's motorcade for no real reason at all because the President's vehicle was completely armour plated and would need a missile of considerable proportions even to make a dent. I think there is something quite refreshing about Prescott and Blunkett. In other words they are political elected representatives and excessive security can mean that they will be far removed from the electorate. Even some U.S. Presidents agree. When Bill Clinton came to Majorca two years ago his motorcade was shadowed by a police helicopter. The former U.S. President asked for it to be removed because it was more trouble than it was worth. Everyone these days is talking about security and the need for it. If Prince Charles has his way Buckingham Palace will be transformed into an armed camp. There is a need for security but there is no reason to get carried away. We are living in dangerous times but the mark of a VIP should not be measured by how many security guards he or she has. Security at a distance and not in your face is probably the best solution because otherwise it just becomes one giant roadshow.

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