G20 Diary: No magic for Clegg

  • @andymcsmith

Poor old Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrat leader so wanted to shake hands with Barack Obama, especially as the President is having a 30-minute meeting with David Cameron. "Of course we wanted to get a bit of the Obama magic," a spokeswoman said. "We had our lines open to Downing Street, but we were told that given the pressure on Obama's diary and given that he is not meeting many opposition party leaders it was never likely. That didn't stop us from trying."

Barking busker silenced

Where there are protests, there should be protest songs. To be precise, there should be Billy Bragg, the big-nosed busker from Barking who has serenaded every demonstration since the miners' strike 25 years ago. But yesterday's protesters did not get their dose of electric Bragg. Not his fault. He was there, he addressed the marchers as they set off from Cannon Street station, but the organisers could not get a sound system through the police cordon. Bragg had to make do with an acoustic guitar, singing for the ears of those close enough to hear above the general din.

Seating plan puzzles

Evidently there are advantages to being a female head of government. The tricky question for the protocol experts responsible for the seating plan at last night's working dinner in 10 Downing Street was who would get to sit near Barack Obama. In the event, Angela Merkel was at the President's right hand, and directly opposite was Christina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina. Gordon Brown was across the table, opposite the King of Saudi Arabia, between the presidents of Indonesia and China. Indonesia was doubly honoured, because next door in 11 Downing Street, the president's wife, Dr Ani Bambang Yudhoyono, had the good fortune to be sat next to Harriet Harman. While the world leaders were all at one table, the wives were spread over three. It could have been awkward if King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud had brought his wives, of whom he has four, but fortunately he left them in Saudi Arabia.

Darling? Not likely

Does anyone ever believe a word that fat Nessa, of Gavin and Stacey fame says? All that stuff about being John Prescott's lover – come on! And today if you talk to her alter ego, Ruth Jones, she will probably have you believe that she was at last night's dinner, at the same table as Maggie Darling, chatting away to the wives of the prime ministers of Australia and Japan. Yeah, yeah.

Today's events

Early protesters from G20 Meltdown plan to bang on the hotel doors of delegates

7am Leaders gather at the Excel Centre for working breakfast. Protests also expected

9.30am Leaders' photograph

9.50am Start of morning plenary

11am Protest demonstration outside the Excel Centre

2.30pm Start of afternoon plenary

3.30pm Press conferences begin

5.15pm Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, to give talk at London School of Economics