St James's Park in London has a long and illustrious connection to power. It is where politicians go when it is sunny and they want to govern outside. It is where cabinet members dump secret papers in public bins of a morning, under the watchful eye of tabloid photographers. It is where Roy Hattersley's dog killed that goose.
More recently it has become Downing Street's preferred jogging track: David Cameron, Samantha Cameron and George Osborne have all been spotted running there in recent weeks. Obviously it's quite convenient – just yards from the end of their road – but what other appeal does it hold?
I have always thought of St James's as the kind of park where one might at any moment be asked to produce one's invitation, but at 6.45am it hosts only runners, dog-walkers and jet-lagged tourists. The rough sleepers are still asleep.
It is still a bit chilly at this hour, but the mist is lifting and the flowerbeds look lovely in the watery morning light. The paths are meandering and gently sloped; ducks and pelicans spectate as runners pass along the lip of the pond. I can raise only one objection to the park as a jogging venue: I hate running.
I have not run in decades, and do not own any of the right kit: no shorts, no headphones. My trainers are knackered and, after cycling all the way here, so am I. The first few paces are awkward and leaden, as if I have forgotten how to run. I decide to pull up and stretch for a bit, but I don't really know how to stretch either. I set off in a lazy figure of eight, crossing the bridge halfway along the pond, so I don't miss anything political. On the grass a woman in boxing gloves – definitely not Samantha Cameron – is sparring with a personal trainer.
There isn't much chatting on the path; everyone else is listening to music. Down at the western end, in the shadow of the gates of Buckingham Palace, I pass the only other jogger not wearing headphones. "Morning," he says. "Morning," I say, dipping my head. My running disguise has fooled him.
The Camerons are not around. Neither is Osborne. The bins seem not to have any secret papers in them and are already being emptied.
I don't know whether I am too early, too late, or if I have just got the wrong day. On this glorious morning the other joggers and I have the place to ourselves. The homeless guys can sleep in.