Too many summits

No sooner is the G20 summit meeting over than the Rio summit starts. Then there will be another EU summit in the same month. Leaders of the large countries can now fly from summit to summit. They live in the strange atmosphere of high security and the need to draft a press release that they can all agree despite their obvious differences of opinion and the very different circumstances of their countries.

There are too many summits. The press can now always point out the hypocrisy of leaders lecturing everyone else to fly and drive less to “save the planet”, whilst being driven and flown more themselves to deliver the message. Many journalists specialise in writing about these events to highlight what the leaders eat, how much the hotel suites cost, how much the life of the host city is disrupted with a view to encouraging popular jealousy of the leaders’ lifestyles. None of this makes for happy publicity back home, particularly in an “austerity” loaded western world.

So why do they do it? Some leaders do appear to enjoy it, as it makes a break from the endless domestic political rows. It assists with their search for something new to say to entertain their local media. Some find comfort in mixing with others in similar or worse positions. Some think they can use these meetings to fashion an agenda that goes beyond their own country, with a view to claiming they are statesmen capable of influencing the world. Others see an opportunity to lay blame for their national problems on other countries that are unpopular at home.

The main reason any given leader does it, is because he or she has little ability individually to stop these meetings. If a leader recognised that a particular meeting was pointless or positively damaging, he or she could still be attacked at home for failure to turn up. The opposition might well condemn that leader for failing to represent their country, or failing to take the issue seriously that the world community was going to discuss. A bad summit is a poison pill the leader has to swallow, and just hope he can find some antidote to limit the damage.

The public usually thinks the leader will enjoy it. After all, they argue, they live a life of luxury at these events, as if they were going on the holiday of lifetime to an exotic location with all bills paid. It may get them out of doing more humdrum things at home. This can be unfair on the leader. The disruption of sleep, the need to network and work hard to try to avoid damage, the requirement to keep up with the day job back home at the same time as taking the summit seriously may make for anything but an enjoyable time. The good bedroom and food are provided and are necessary tools of the trade. Security and appearances would prevent the leader asking to check in at a bed and breakfast a mile or two away from the conference.

So who does like these conferences? Why are there so many of them? It is a combination of lobbyists and officials who provide much of the impulse for this endless search for world or regional government. Lobbyists love the opportunity to dominate the world press with their issue. A global conference can do that. They like the chance to travel themselves. They want to place their solutions in world Treaties and international law, so that individual governments are bound in. They see the opportunities for the ratchet – get some of what they want agreed at the first summit, more at the second and keep the series running.

Some officials like the idea of travel. They too see summits as reinforcing and highlighting their area of interest. They want more access to their senior politicians. Being at a summit with them for two or three days gives them that access. They may wish to bind their country in to the extra government and law the summit seeks, as they may distrust some of their politicans and parties and fear they will not want the general thrust of the policy without the international pressure and framework. Doing things with other countries gives officials more power and politicians less.

The losers of all this are the taxpayers, who foot the bills, and all those who want less government rather than more. Summits do not end up with fewer laws and less government. They are part of the process to expand government’s remit more and more. Democracy is also a big loser. Once something is embedded in a Treaty or international agreement, individual signatory governments can no longer dissent or do something different without the hassle of renouncing the Treaty. Treaty law is replacing democratic government in many areas of our lives.

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  1. Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Democracy is indeed the big loser it becomes government by the state sector for the state sector and in the interest of certain pressure groups who “lobby” them often for their selfish personal interests and to distort fair competition.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      I see that even Lilly Allen has broken off from singing her semi pornographic songs in order to criticise Alan Carrs tax arrangements along with Cameron. He, true to form, is trying to exploiting the politics of envy, like a true socialist. A foolish plan given all his party donors and friends. As I understand it, these schemes are all fully declared to the revenue and surely it is up to them to enforce such laws as pertain, however absurd and complex these laws may be.
      Does Lilly not have an ISA, a service company, or a pension scheme herself, does she claim all the expense deductions allowed? Is Lilly quite sure that nothing she or her family does is in fact legal tax avoidance, this seems rather unlikely. Is she further confident that her production, touring and promotion companies et al do not arrange their affairs tax efficiently. If so she might well find they go out of business due to other, more advantaged, competition from those that do.

      Anyway surely it is the use that money is put to that matters. All the evidence is that governments use it very inefficiently indeed when compared to individuals. After all (at best) they are just using others money to buy something they think other people should have – so what do they care. Rather than with an individual using your own money to buy things you know you (or your family need) or to invest or give away. This also without all the intermediate stages (tax collection, accountants, distribution, civil servants, enless forms and administrators with large pay and pensions to cover). At worst the state are just trying to get their grubby hands on it personally some way or other.

      This government, in particular, wastes money, hand over fist, on PIGIS, wind and PV subsidy, HS2, over paid and pensions state sector staff, the IMF, carbon capture, the BBC, the EU, huge payments to encourage fecklessness, jumped up school sports days and all the rest of the nonsense. Talks on morality from Mr Cast Rubber and Mr Morally Repugnant come across rather like lectures from the (£1M per annum tax payer funded travelling) Prince Charles on being green.

      They would be better simplifying the tax system, reducing tax rates, cutting out the waste and shutting up.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

      The summits also I suspect reinforce the disastrous “state sector is the solution” thinking. Governments need to look to (and talk to) the interests of the 80% who pay for it all. People not on the state sector or EU gravy train and who probably have little pension provision at all.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        The states intervention into the banking system was not a disaster for the housing industry that for sure.

        • Posted June 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          The state intervention into the banking system was a disaster in the way it was botched by save the World Brown. Of course the intervention would not have been needed has they been properly and efficiently regulated in the first place.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Or been so reckless and greedy with other peoples money? Or does this professionalism have to be regulated as John asks in later posts?
            I bet it saved your pants and the state funding of rented housing will be helping you if not indirectly too.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      I see that O levels are to be restored (replacing GCSE’s) this is very good news for me as it will stop my younger Sister shouting at me that “they haven’t been called O levels for 3o odd years”.

      Let us hope they do rather more than change the name. They are full of political indoctrination (particularly on the Co2 “pollution” and the bogus “renewable” concept), quack science all over the place and vague and imprecise questions. Questions that if you answered them correctly, in detail, they would probably mark them wrong as you were off the PC message.

      They certainly do little to encourage people to think. Regurgitation of “facts” (as the state sees them) seems to be all that is required.

      Thinking is not encouraged at all, or even allowed, it seems. The text books are often equally bad or worse, virtually a monopoly for the main exam boards in “state think” indoctrination.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        For example, were you to point out in an answer that Solar, Wave, Wind and tidal are not, technically, renewable at all. Just long lasting (rather like nuclear and fusion are).

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Define “long”!

          Uranium for reactors will run out long before the Sun, for instance.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Plenty of deuterium though, when they finally get fusion sorted.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            I would rather define “renewable energy” it is a political, non scientific, construct (rather like “sustainable”) used to pretend that wind, pv, wave, tidal and hydro energy are good, clean, nice and “renewable” and to exclude nuclear. In fact they are not “renewable” and are usually an expensive subsidised nonsense.

            The other technique is to refer to c02 as “pollution” rather than the harmless food for plants and trees it is.

            Many people and children now think it is poisonous due to the BBC and schools I note.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            CO2 is poisonous to humans. When the air contains 5% CO2 it’s directly toxic to humans and at 7-10% it causes unconsciousness and death in under an hour.


            Perhaps you should do some real research, rather than rejecting everything you don’t like.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          … we just have to hope that all these tidal/wave schemes don’t cause too much spin drag otherwise the Moon will recede from us at an even faster rate. Once you get over a certain distance the Moon will no-longer be able to stabilise the Earth’s spin axis. And the effects of that will dwarf any CO2 effect on our life on the Earth.

          Still some time away I would say, but tidal/wave is not sustainable into the indefinite future !

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        GCSE or indeed O levels when I took them in 1980 have always been about rote learning, not some academic individual thought exercise. A levels were the level at which this was first required.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Maths ‘O’ level certainly wasn’t a rote learning exercise. If you didn’t fully understand the concepts, you wouldn’t pass the exam. But then I took mine before you. Perhaps yours was dumbed down? 😉

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            Calculus didn’t come in until A level in my day. That is where I would say that a higher order of mathematical thinking begins.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          That may well have been the case in the 80’s, but in no way was that so when I took Maths O in the early 60’s – if you could not remember the formula and understand how to apply it, you lost out. Back then of course you were only allowed to take into the exam room a slide rule and log tables, and know how to use them to stand a chance of success.

          If memory serves, the other thing was that there were only 2 standard papers, Cambridge U and Oxford U back then, instead of the shambolic, disfunctional and PC setters and checkers and checkers who check the checkers and still persist in getting it wrong.

          I am soundly teed-off with modern education which despite the billions thrown at the system still manages to produce over 20% of functionally illiterate school leavers to enter the jobs market.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            I wrote the main formulae on the inside of my slide rule for my structural engineering exam. Then used it in practice for 20 years. Shameful but sensible.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          I certainly think in Maths and Physics O levels you actually had to think a bit, not just remember, especially in Additional Maths O level.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            I studied Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Additional Maths, and Pure and Applied Maths, and Electronics at O Level. All were excellently taught and were really practical in their application. I despair when I see some of the GCSE papers today…..


          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            It is certainly easy to compare maths/physics papers from then and now GCSE in these subjects is clearly a bit of a joke. I tend to think they should get rid of the the A,B,C grades are just give a percentile position relative to the other entrants. Saying you were in the top 1 percentile or the 56th percentile or the bottom 100th percentile of applicants.
            This removes the competition of dumbing down to attract applicants to the exam boards.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        “Let us hope they do rather more than change the name.”

        It might appear that our schools have been appropriated by those who have seen an ideal opportunity for grooming unformed minds with self-hatred and non-science; as it is so blatant, how do they get away with it?

        There have several articles recently about Enoch Powell in the DT, mealy-mouthed as might be predicted, each accompanied by a baggage train of intemperate invective; however one comment stood out:

        “I attended a Grammar school in the early part of the Labour years. In history class we had a whole segment on(white) racism, the focus was on the Nazis and Enoch Powell.

        The way this man was demonized and lumped in with Hitler, as the bogey man poster boy of British racism, is an absolute disgrace. This man had the logical forethought to predict exactly what has actually happened to the nation and to speak out against the multiculti madness, for that he paid a very high price.

        We need a present day Powell if we are to see any chance of this nation surviving the century.”

        This is not history and neither is CAGW science. There is no valid scientific description of CO2 as a ‘geenhouse’ gas; there is no valid principle of Physics which enables the climate to be predicted from its atmospheric concentration.

        Children need to be equiped with the tools to understand the world in which they live, which means factual information including scientific principles.

        We need a law making the abuse of public education for political purposes a serious criminal offence.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Slightly off topic, but worthy of a response.

          This nettle should have been grasped on day one!

          Everybody knows that the education system is broken.

          Thanks to Labour, our kids can’t even spell or do maths properly. In a large number of cases, they don’t even know where milk, bacon, and eggs come from!

          And Labour’s answer, was to lower the bar. To reduce standards to make achievent levels look artificially high. Yet I bet these kids who Labour and trendy liberal nutters cheated out if a proper meaningful education, all know where to buy drugs from!

          Labour’s policy was nothing short of a betrayal of a generation, and I wonder if they intended to make everybody thick in order for them to be dependent upon the state, and not self-reliant?

          I recently looked at my youngest daughter’s geography GCSE coursework, and the syllabus had absolutely no relevance whatsoever to geology or geographical locations. This is the sort of tripe we are paying an exorbitant amount of tax-payer’s money for!

          It is down to me, her father, to give her a proper education in this and other subjects.

          So can we also have a ‘retro-fit’ programme to re-educate those kids have missed out under Labour, and undo the devastation caused by the looney lefties that swamp the teaching profession?

          Even George Galloway said of Labour, considering how much they spent on education, they didn’t get a lot for their money!

          Bring it on Michael Gove, and not a minute too soon!

          Tad Davison


          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            Just listening to a debate on education, and one commentator quoted the international standard for educational achievement, the PISA system. Under that system, he said, Britain had fallen from 12th to 23rd, behind even Latvia.


          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            With regards to spelling the solution is to allow variable spelling, allow spelling to evolve and become more rational. Spelling is after all only the written equivalent of accent, it should not be fixed in aspic by some old dictionaries. Why have write we no longer say it. Why have rite, right, yacht and many pointless double letters or the rest of the nonsense, let it live again as Shakespeare, Shakespere, Shakespear, Shakspeare, Shackspeare or was it Shakspere did.

            After all time is money. English spelling wastes loads of time pointlessly.

            Anyway it is socialist to prescribe one “rite” spelling just as it is to prescribe one system of measurement for all or anything else.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink


            We don’t actually have an education system now, merely an indoctrination system.
            The left learned quickly that if you could dumb down a society by controling education and what information people had access to, they could then control that country. The left, to these ends, have played a blinder. Our only hope of salvation, is a continuation of our uncensored access to information on the internet, but I see many of the progressive Marxists in the States, in our own nation and across the EUSSR, are making noises which may lead to Chinese style censorship….For our own good of course!

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          You say “We need a law making the abuse of public education for political purposes a serious criminal offence”.

          They would need a lot of jails then. That is what much of current “education” is.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Indeed it was Ted Heath who needed demonizing if anyone did. He was busy fixing everyone’s pay, conning them into the EU, signing away the fishermen’s livelyhoods and had the rest on three day weeks or in the dark as I recall.

          A bit like Cameron’s and the over regulated, over taxed, command economy.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          There is no valid scientific description of CO2 as a ‘geenhouse’ gas; there is no valid principle of Physics which enables the climate to be predicted from its atmospheric concentration.

          If you’d studied science you know this was complete nonsense. CO2 is recognised as a greenhouse gas and the laws of physics do allow you to calculate temperature from the atmospheric concentration of various gases and vapours. Though to the determine the climate you also need to know basic geography.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            I have indeed studied science and can confirm the statement:

            “There is no valid scientific description of CO2 as a ‘greenhouse’ gas; there is no valid principle of Physics which enables the climate to be predicted from its atmospheric concentration.”

            Is very clearly true – C02 is just one of very many factors that affect the weather – that is all. Clouds do to (rather more so) as you may have noticed.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            For a principle to be valid in science, it has to have predictive capacity, in the case of physical science, mathematically so. Perhaps you will supply us with the formula linking surface temperature with atmospheric CO2 concentration? (No hockey sticks allowed). You will also to explain why it does not apply retrospectively. Calling carbon dioxide a ‘greenhouse’ gas is not scientific because it has not been proven to materially influence climate. There are many characteristics of carbon dioxide which easily can be confirmed in a laboratory; these are scientific qualities which are therefore useful.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            The direct heating effect of doubling CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is circa 1C. Yet greens would have us believe that due to mysterious positive feedback mechanisms we will get runaway warming of up to 6C (“even worse than we thought” as they love to burble). There is not a shred of physical empirical evidence in support of this contention, which is why they rely on faulty computer models and *ahem* ‘adjustments’ to the historical record.

            I suspect climatologists understand geography quite well. Sadly their understanding of physics is poor. Climatologists are just astrologers with good PR.

            If you had studied physics you would understand this.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            A fundamental misunderstanding of science by our resident troll….”know basic geography”. Lord help us from this ignorance.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            So many responses yet so little science.

            lifelogic: what effect does CO2 have on the weather?

            forthurst: a principle doesn’t need to be predictable or need to be expressed mathematically. The fact that you ask for proof then state that I’m not allowed to present it shows that you know you’re wrong but don’t want to be shown up.

            Sebastian Weetabix: the fact that you don’t know the difference between climatologists and astrologers shows that you don’t know what either of them do.

            Mactheknife: parts of France and Kazakhstan both have same latitude but different climates. Care to explain how this can occur without making reference to the geological differences between them.

          • Posted June 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            Easy. Both astrologers and climatologists make predictions without any scientific basis. Climatologists go one better by fiddling the past. Treemometers, anyone?

            Perhaps you could abandon your tiresome juvenile responses and explain the radiative physics involved, since you are such an expert on science. As a mere chartered engineer I will happily bow down to your expertise should you demonstrate it.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink


      I see from Press reports today that Mr Clegg has signed us up for some more regulations at the Rio Summit.

      Larger Companies will now it would appear, have to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions, and will need to comply with set limits.

      I assume a fine or something similar if they do not comply, or exceed the allowance decided by these experts.

      I hope not too many customers break wind in their offices/stores, as this may throw their calculations out a little.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        What more would you expect from the Libdems. I quote from the Gaia ex high priest and BBC favourite James Lovelock who has rather belatedly shown rather more sense recently.

        “I’m neither strongly left nor right, but I detest the Liberal Democrats.”

        Doubtless they will need green consultant “experts” to advise who will use more energy and do more harm than good as usual. Hopefully it will only apply to larger companies than any of mine are.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          @lifelogic, that’s the second time on this blog that I’ve seen you caricature James Lovelock and allege that he’s had a recent conversion to sense. Are you not aware that Lovelock is a long-time advocate of nuclear power? He has long argued that the dangers of nuclear power are way overblown, and that nuclear power represents humanity’s only chance at arresting global warming.

          To repeatedly refer to him as ‘high priest’ is a bit silly isn’t it? He’s a scientist, not a cult leader. The fact that part of one of his theories was adopted by the new age movement is hardly his fault, and does nothing to discredit his work. It certainly wasn’t an audience that he sought.

          I don’t know whether the change climate is the consequence of the activities of our species or not – nor do you, and nor does anyone else. I am inclined towards scepticism, as clearly are you. But your inaccurate ad hominems are as fatuous as the people and opinions you ridicule on here every day.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

            I am delighted that he now broadly agrees with me and has changes his mind on nuclear and has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.

            He clearly was very, very alarmist indeed and this sort of alarmist has cost a fortune and very many lives with Biofuels, higher energy prices and the rest.

            Was Gaia not mainly a religion surely he chose the ancient Greek goddess or personification of Earth with this in mind?

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            He seems to have changed his mind on Nuclear in 2004. The Gaia (belief system) was criticised by the evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins, Ford Doolittle, and Stephen Jay Gould these (and other) critics have questioned how natural selection operating on individual organisms could possibly lead to the evolution of planetary-scale homeostasis.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Lofelogic is certain that the uncertainty of climate change and whether it exists makes or changes the weather gives it the certainty that it cannot exist and if it does cannot be changed as it is not the activity of man that is the cause.
            James Delingpole is not however a ‘high priest’ despite being by his own admission an interpreter of interpretations and the other peole and websites he has referred to are not quack science by snake oil salesmen. Google show them to be dubious at best and financed by right wing crackpots in some cases.

          • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Bazman I am certain that we cannot predict climate in 100 years with any certainty. We cannot even predict the sun’s activity until then. C02 is one of very many and complex factors. Predicting lottery balls would clearly be much simpler.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic doesn’t have an argument against climate change and isn’t willing to learn science, so all he can do is insult people who say things he doesn’t like.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Nick Clegg is blogging his experiences in Rio. If you’re a Lib Dem you can sign up to get them by email (I don’t know if other can too or not). It’s very interesting, bears no relation to the press spin and adds value to him being out there as those of us who are reading it are learning new stuff.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        That’s a Davison family trait LL! As well as all the gassing my missus does on the telephone. I think I need to plant a few hundred acres of woodland to off-set it all.


        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Woodland (once fully grown) tend to give off about the same co2 (from decaying wood and insect and other life) as they absorb anyway. Unless you cut the wood down and bury it to make coal for people of the future.

          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Do you have any scientific studies to back this up?

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        More jobs for parasites too.

        • Posted June 23, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          Parasitic landlords overcharging the state too?

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Since Cameron has decided that attacking one individual tax arrangements is more important than his summit. Perhaps he should look rather closer to home at the tax free pay off to ministers who “resign” or stop being MPs, the BBC or state sector service companies or maybe even the PM’s pension of half his salary on top, I assume, of his other pensions. This is perhaps worth £2.5M for, in his case, probably just five years “service” to the nation.

      Normal, mortal, taxpayers are limited to a £1.5M pot and to putting only £50K in PA even if they use all their own money to do it. Still we are all in it together are we not.

      Is this not morally repugnant too I wonder perhaps he could comment.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        It certainly is…..


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Yet another kick in the teeth for employers with the I over indulged a bit on holiday tax. With the ECHR sick pay ruling. Time to leave the ECHR now.

      What will that take off growth next year I wonder?

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        This ruling is a joke.
        If holidays make people sick, maybe we should do away with them, on Health and Safety grounds, of course.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Your article is absolutely right Mr Redwood. I read with annoyance this morning how our Pensions Minister is going to fight the EU over new pension regulation. I thought, what idiot signed us up to this competency in the first place? Then I remember how ALL mainstream parties have talked tough on the EU whilst stealthilly giving up more and more of our sovereignty (FCO 10/3048 of 1971 applies). So remind me how is Mr Cameron doing with his repatriation of EU powers? Reform or repeal of the Human Rights Act? Deportation of Mr Qatada reform of the EU CHR? Immigration? EU contributions……………………Exactly, enough is enough for this lifetime Tory! Fresh blood is sorely needed in either a different Conservative leadership or another real conservative Party.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        He has ‘repatriated’ precisely nothing… fact, he has ceded more over the last two years.


  2. Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    In my book we don’t have any leaders worthy of the name. All this summitry is pointless, counter productive and quite ridiculous approaching farcical. But like on a host of issues reality is ignored.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Clearly not so important that Cameron cannot break off to attack individual law abiding tax payers like Jimmy Carr.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        This so-called moral transgression can easily be countered by HMRC invoking UK Company tax law for UK residents engaged in loan transactions with overseas Companies, which says:
        -Interest must be paid on any loan at the HMRC official rate or it is considered a benfit-in-kind with NI and PAYE payable
        -25% corporation tax is paid on any outstanding loan at the end of the business (or tax) year
        Even better (fairer in CamCleggspeak), extend the same rule to Corporations borrowing from overseas associates to avoid Corporation Tax.

  3. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Excellent analysis of why and who drives these summits.

    I couldn’t help but think that you’ve described the various Climate Change Summits to a ‘T’.
    With that in mind, there’s also the unholy alliance between officials and lobbyists, whose aims are being helped greatly if the minister concerned shares those aims. DECC is a shining (sarc!) example …

    With treaty laws replacing democratic government processes, as you point out, is it any wonder the electorate is becoming more convinced that they, and the process of electing representatives, is just a fig leaf for decisions taken elsewhere by unelected and unaccountable entities?

    One other reason for the proliferating summitry: those preparing, running and attending them are turning into a new, neo-feudal class, having more in common with each other than with the peoples they are pretending to represent.

    So – how to stop this undemocratic practice?

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      I agree that this is an excellent, perceptive analysis.

      As for the lobbyists, who were out in force at the Copenhagen, Mexican, South African (was it Jo`burg?) and the Rio summits, one question deserving an answer is how many were funded by taxpayers and by how much via subsidies, grants and other devices? Some lobbying organisations seem to be able to field several delegates. How do they afford to do this? It cannot be cheap. Maybe this is a question that JR should table for the attention of the Deputy PM, who is attending Rio.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Exactly they never even meet the 80% who pay for all the nonsense.

  4. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    The answer is quite simple. As in the USA, no treaty should be binding on the country unless that treaty has been approved by vote in Parliament.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Indeed approved by parliament and open to be abolished by them should they wish.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      The destructive Climate Change Act was opposed by, what, 3 MPs? That number may not be right but I’ve a feeling it’s not very far off the mark.

      Do you really think the supine lot in Parliament would not ratify any treaty that the current PM signs us up for? The US are in a better position as they have three branches which are normally split so they can’t just three line whip everything through like here.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      It’s complex and sometimes rather uncertain, but this FCO page has a link to internal guidance, “Treaties and MOUs: Guidance on Practice and Procedures”:

      This part in the guidance is relevant to the recent government claim that by passing pre-authorisation motions in March 2011 both Houses of Parliament have in effect already promised to approve the radical EU treaty change embodied in European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011, and must now keep that promise:

      “Unless the treaty provides that it enters into force on signature, by signing a treaty a State shows that it is in agreement with the text, but it is not bound by it until the treaty has been ratified and has entered into force. The State is not obliged to ratify it. The United Kingdom, however, does not sign a treaty unless it has a reasonably firm intention of ratifying.”

      This part covers what would be a nightmare scenario for the FCO, where a final ratification had been deposited but then had to be revoked because Parliament refused to make necessary changes to our domestic law:

      “Treaties are frequently subject to ratification, acceptance, approval, or the mutual notification of the completion of procedures. In addition, multilateral treaties may be acceded to, which does not involve signature. The date of entry into force is determined by the provisions of each treaty. It is important to note that from the date a treaty enters into force for the United Kingdom, it places international obligations on the UK vis-a-vis the other party or parties. It is essential therefore that the UK is in a position to fulfil its obligations as from that date, and does not become legally bound until it has the necessary domestic powers to give effect to the provisions of the treaty; otherwise it will be in breach of its international obligations. Pleading insufficiency of domestic law is not, in international law, an acceptable excuse for failure to implement the provisions of a treaty.”

  5. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Treat law seems to have been taking precedence over democracy since the end of ww2. It has been a creeping fact, from the formation of the UN, through to NATO, the EU, Maastricht, and the failed EU constitution (that was fixed through under the guise of a treaty). National governments have been stripped of their powers, and their electorates have lost the right to ‘self determination’ in the process. Our governments for 60+ years have had little more power than the ability to award commercial contracts. Organisations masquerade as charities or ‘not for proit’ in order to gain government contracts, taxpayers pay for private companies to manage services; these companies have a primary duty to shareholder finance. In my local authorit the provider charges the local council £75 to collect a fly tipped kettle.

    This brings up your point about lobbyists. If these summits are supposed to be about world leaders tackling important issues, why are non-officials allowed past the door? Surely each leader should be restricted to as small a retinue as possible? Key advisers on the issues at hand?

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      I think you are rather unfair to include NATO in your list. NATO is an alliance of independent States. NATO doesn’t care if your soldiers have long hair, are unshaven and wear pink tutus. They just want you to turn up on THE DAY. And fight.

  6. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I used to be an Anglican Rector. As the congregations began to plummet, we found it very comforting to meet together with other Vicars and Rectors to have a moan. It was rather nice sitting in a quiet Rectory over a cup of coffee and bikkies moaning together.
    I mean, we could have been out visiting our flock. Or – God forbid – on our knees praying!
    We took all sorts of initiatives too, I remember. And got more and more out of touch.
    Heaven help you if you missed a meeting too!

    I think, myself, the Iraq war is a very good example of how such meetings between Heads of State can go seriously wrong. Maybe the Eu, too, is another case in point.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: “As the congregations began to plummet, we found it very comforting to meet together with other Vicars and Rectors to have a moan.”

      Perhaps the CoE might have been better served if it had avoided all the ‘right on’ initiatives, less of the helping the starving in Africa and more helping the deprived in for example, Newcastle. After all, it isn’t as if we don’t have poor people in the UK!

      I suppose this illustrates the ‘crowding out theory’ that some of John Redwoods other commentators deny. As the State moved in to welfare, those organizations that used to deal quite well and very cheaply (real charities) with such problems have been ‘crowded out’.

      Leaving CoE Rectors nothing to do but chat among themselves.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Before the state dealt with welfare it was piecemeal and very poorly run. Charities simply lack the resources to deal with the problems the state should be addressing.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Evidence please


          • Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            I’d recommend the books by Charles Dickins which illustrate just how bad living conditions were in Victorian times when the state did nothing and people had to rely on charities.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “Before the state dealt with welfare it was piecemeal and very poorly run. ”

          Now it is uniformly bad very poorly run and extremely expensive.

          No improvement as a result of State involvement, then.

        • Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          The state is usually augmenting the problems as part of a job creation scheme for the state sector – not solving them.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      After 28 years in the RAF I arrived in Whitehall. There I discovered the pleasures of committee life. Sitting around with nice people with similar interests and thinking up tasks for other people to carry out. If the meeting involved people from out-of-town, then we would fit in a visit to a pub. If we were out-of-town we usually stayed overnight before the committee meeting. Whats not to like? On a grander scale, we have the G20, B20 and whatever it is that the Dep PM is attending in Brazil.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed more and more out of touch with the 80% they live off and are supposed to govern in the interest of.

  7. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    On a similar note, the employee/businessman or MP living away from home in hotels during the week.

    Many people have to do it to earn a living, some enjoy it, most would probably rather be with their families at home during the evenings..

    A few develop a completely alternative lifestyle, totally funded by expenses and business accounts, and lose track of reality, and that is the real problem, not only for the organisation whom they represent, but eventually for themselves and their families as well.

    We now seem to be getting to the stage in local government, civil service, public sector, where meetings are held to discuss future meetings, where everyone must be invited.

    They call it progress.

    Just look at your “e mail” list to see the level to which it has become the norm to inform everyone of a simple action or statement.

    Perhaps its the fear of the blame culture (safety in numbers) the more I inform, the less risk of having to accept the blame.

  8. Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, the poor old taxpayer. And then, Mr Jimmy Carr, who objects to paying more than half his earnings to fund all this is more or less told, by megaphone, to turn up at the headmaster’s study and expect a good beating.

    One can smile at the absurdity of it, but the smile soon fades when one thinks of the deeper questions of privacy, freedom, the rule of law in its proper sense, and the role of the state.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Carr now, it seems, has felt the need to apologise (perhaps for reasons related to fans and his future earnings). He should just have said he was advised it was legal, details were given to the revenue and he does not like paying taxes at 50%+ just to watch Cameron and Osborne immorally wasting most of it.

      Perhaps giving a long list of the vast sums they have wasted so far for good measure.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Mind you he has to keep in with the BBC too I suppose.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Absolutely alte Fritz, we have the rule of law or we have nothing….


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      At least Cameron can’t now complain when a journalist pins him down and reveals the extent to which his personal fortune is or isn’t sheltered by some kind of tax sheltering structure.

      Oh, and then there was all that mortgage interest that he claimed for his second residence when he had enough spare capital to reduce his own private mortgage.

      All perfectly legal, no doubt, but entirely immoral by Cameron’s own judgement.

      He really would have been better off keeping his mouth shut.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Certainly mouth shut on tax avoidance would be best for him – still too late now. Rather like “back to basics” was for Mr Major Disaster.

  9. Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    A devastating indictment of the current system. Leaders going to pointless meetings for the sake of appearances whilst doing nothing productive and wasting money like a drunken sailor in a knocking shop. If it stopped them doing harm with ludicrous laws and initiatives it might be worth the waste but it doesn’t. Still I suppose there’s always the chance of them all catching some infectious disease and spreading it to each other.

  10. Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The failing is not the summit but their lack of achievement. So, indeed, too many. It would be better to have fewer summits that achieved more.

    In the modern, interconnected World it is reasonable and sensible for nations to meet to discuss issues of common interest. After all, individual action undermined by inaction elsewhere is pointless; and actually counter-productive as in the country acting the impression is that “something is being done” where as the reality is that nothing of any practical consequence is being done.

    Seems to me governance, nationally and internationally, is becoming too difficult for the average politician to be able to cope. Perhaps it was ever thus, but these days it is much easier to see.

  11. Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I always have the impression that at most, if not all, of these summits the bulk, if not all, of the final communique has been written prior to the event!

  12. Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks John

    Very many of my well educated friends took the career route of summitry. A liberal arts education in PPE is perfect for this. I took a different route into business and have had Ups and Downs but the alternative career route looks from the outside to be quite lucrative and a growth industry!

    You mention lobbyists. I assume here you mean NGOs in the main as that is where the action is. Often tax free / exPat packages / final salary pension / global business class travel. World bank, IMF, Dozens of UN agencies located around the world. That is soaking up all the smart, global post grads who can’t do maths and who did not get a job either in the FCO (the traditional, very competitive destination for these folks, McKinsey, or City Law).

    It is a self-perpetuating, and frankly parasitic (no matter how worthy), circus in many cases.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink


  13. Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The more conferences there are, the less public interest there is, and the less is achieved. We get the same comments each time from those present with just a few words changed to suit the occasion. Very few of us even understand what they are meeting to discuss, the names of the groups meeting are kept deliberately obscure to fool the public.

    Why can’t they use video conferencing?
    The American company, where my daughter works locally, has a conference room set aside for this, equipped with microphones, cameras and large TV screens. She can book it for a one-to-one video chat with her opposite number in the States, or hold a conference with a dozen or more people from their offices around the world. Yes, it means the occasional late evening or early morning because of time zone problems, but no more so than when having to catch a flight from Heathrow. The company has saved considerable sums of money and wasted travelling time, with the senior management meeting just once a year at their HQ in California.
    But then they were spending company money which has to be earned, whereas our politicians are spending taxpayers’ money which they just take.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      You can do this, one to one, for nothing via your laptop or tablet if you sign up for Skype. I believe a small fee applies for conference calls.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Video conferencing doesn’t work if it covers too many time zones. Just trying to arrange a video conference with the USA, the UK, and India is difficult enough.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Why can’t they use video conferencing?

      Well if they actually believed in the CO2 theory they would do but clearly they do not.

  14. Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    A pretty comprehensive discussion, but of course by far the most important criticism is in the last sentence:

    “Treaty law is replacing democratic government in many areas of our lives.”

    It may seem puzzling why generations of MPs have agreed to this, but the answer is that they’re only MPs because they were adopted as the official candidates of main political parties which are controlled by career politicians for whom democracy is actually a nuisance, especially since the advent of universal suffrage.

    Whenever I see these professional politicians gathered at international summits I’m reminded of something Adam Smith wrote:

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.”

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      How very true. For some the aim surely is to get on to the tax free, or tax light, gravy trains that so many of these international bodies represent. For them, these treaties provide the means to an end, they are part of the career infrastructure, that provides lifetime support.

      An examination of the EU, the many UN agencies, their terms and conditions of senior employment, how much they cost, and how far they are populated by former national politicians or senior civil servants would be extremely revealing. I wonder if expressions of “moral repugnance” would get another airing?

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Unsure if politicians working together could be considered a cartel, especially since it won’t lead to price rises.

      • Posted June 22, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        You must be joking! Just where do you think Renewable Obligation Certificates came from, if not from the politicians?

        • Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          By price rises I was referring to the cost of MPs because cartels usually raise the prices of their products and services as much as possible.

  15. Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Meetings allow photo opportunities such as the recent one with Dave having an argument with the latest Argentinian troublemaker. It would have been better to stay well clear and let it be know that we have enough submarines and air defence capability.

  16. Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink


    So Jimmy Carr has apologised. He says he made a terrible error over tax. If he follows up his apology by putting, say 1 million pounds into HMRC for every year he used the scheme, that would be really impressive, but I won’t hold my breath!

    But I want to talk about the BBC. If Jimmy Carr ‘made a terrible error’, what about the BBBC, who paid taxpayers money into a virtual company in a UK tax-shelter? Was that a ‘terrible error’, or is it business as usual, to pay an entertainer who lives in London with his family and arrives every week at the BBC to do his show, in an offshore company? It takes two to tango, the tax avoider, and the corporation which accepts his invoice.
    I believe the BBC should definitely change their terms, refusing to pay money offshore. For everyone, not just Jimmy Carr, but for consultants, senior managers, and everyone who delivers a service to the BBC.

    And what about Dave? Yet again, Dave Cameron is criticising a comedian who is using a totally legitimate tax avoidance scheme. He is talking about changing the law. But what he could and should be doing if he wants to change the law is making it illegal for Public companies, quangos, and government departments to pay fees into offshore companies, or to participate / support any tax avoidance scheme. The BBC, NHS, MOD and countless local authorities and other government organisations have been exposed over the last two years for tax avoidance. Instead of meddling with private companies pay scales, tax affairs and directors remuneration, where he has no mandate, Dave should be ensuring that government agencies do not support tax avoidance, where he does have a mandate to protect OUR money.

    Perhaps he could also ensure that ex-prime ministers would have a duty to pay tax on all their earnings onshore.

    I also notice a deafening silence from Labour and the LibDems unlike the constant squealing over private sector pay.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the BBC’s double standards are amazing – rather like Prince Charles and his green agenda yet with travel cost of £1M PA for us all to pay.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you’re a corporate whore and eh, end of story.
      Bill Hicks.
      Carrtax is one of the targets of Viz, being lambasted (etc) by having photographs of himself posing with employees who have won mundane awards at meaningless corporate events, under the recurrent headline ‘Carr for hire’. In issue 160, a genuine advert appeared promoting his latest DVD with the tagline “When he’s not doing corporate gigs, Jimmy Carr is a stand-up comic”.

  17. Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I do wish people would discuss what is REALLY going on here. The EZ is a psychic construct – designed by EU intellectuals to contain the Germans – to stop war in Europe. It IS a psychic construct not an economic one.

    The EZ is now in a neurotic state. Specifically a schizoid state. Where the PIIGS are asking for handouts from (the children and grandchildren of the Germans who prosecuted the war-ed), where Spain is denying insolvency in both soverign and banking.

    Asking the German’s for money is merely asking them to reparate for WWII.(etc), hence the controlling references hence the reparation references.

    Asking the Germans for money is RE-SHAMING the Germans. The Germans cannot say they are ashamed – because the nature of shame is that it hides. The PIIGS cannot say these are reparations because they are not. But in everybodys minds this is exactly what is going on.

    So the question is if the Germans pay up will this be the end of their shame – or will they merely be accepting a straight jacket in an asylum – will they be accepting their shame and acepting they will pay forever.

    OR will they accept the realtity that they are now self-supporting and no longer feel guilt. They are no longer a threat. By doing this they will stop their shame, but they will also realise the EZ is no longer necessary.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      A psychic is a person who possesses an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception (ESP). Are you claiming that the EU was made by psychics?

      A Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and apathy. Are you claiming that the Eurozone is apathetic and needs more friends?

      Perhaps you should stop using words you don’t know the meaning of.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        You’re the real expert on everything – never wrong are you?……Apart from on mlitary history or political history if my memory serves correct. The word psychic derives from the Greek word ψυχικός psychikos which means ‘of the mind, mental’. So Javelin can use it to suggest that the Germans are being held in some mental construct ‘of the mind’ to, in this case, make them feel guilty for the past…..

        I’m sure that Javelin can defend himself, but even so, you continually criticise a number of people on petty matters but never seem to accept any reasonable criticism of your own views.

        It’s rather tiresome…..


        • Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Well as long as I’m never wrong on science.

          Also just because psychic is derived from the word ψυχικός doesn’t mean that the words psychic and mental can be used interchangeably. Javelin should make it clear whether he’s talking about a mental construct or whether he’s peddling a conspiracy theory involving psychics.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we should be worried that you know the meanings all too well!

  18. Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    On the subject of supranational organisations and accountability, it seems that Bilderberg attending, non executive chairman of Goldman Sachs, head of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Peter Sutherland thinks that the EU should ‘undermine national homogeneity’……Interesting policy development, I trust that Parliament will be informed……BBC explicitly mentioning that he is a Bilderberg attender…..very interesting.


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Oh and he thiks our immigration policy has no basis in international law…..


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Yes, JR should have mentioned those other international groupings like the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission whose conferences also form policies for the betterment of humanity.

      The essential purpose behind all these international conferences is the deprecation of national action and the nation state with an additional agenda to abolish all nations populated by Europeans and replace them with multi-cultural Utopias with ever growing vibrant populations. Inciting wars to fragment the ME, mouthing off against Slavic-ruled Russia and the Chinese (getting too powerful) and saving the planet for the new improved humans are just the hors d’oevre.

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s quite interesting that even the MSM seems to be noting these facts and considering them worthy of comment….. perhaps they feel threatened….


  19. Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Is Cameron dispensing with the show trial for Carr and will the official public humiliation suffice…..? Do we live in a free country governed by the rule of law?


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      If Cameron doesn’t agree, he should quit the ‘Fruit Ninja’ for a while and make his case in law……


    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Do you think Mr Carr has any jokes up his sleeve about grandstanding politicians whose inherited wealth has been sequested beyond the reach of HMRC?

      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        If I was him, I would be digging deep….


  20. Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The reason John misses out is – for the photo-ops. Cameron being pictured beside Obama makes him look like a statesman and indeed as Cameron’s recent trip to the US shows, Obama feels that being pictured with beside Cameron makes him look statesmanlike too!!!.

    Meanwhile worldwide communication is easier and faster than ever before. If any of them reallt had anything to say they coul;d do it all bt teleconferencing. It would be quite cool to see represented at one of these things by a remotlet handled robot with his face on a TV screen. Or he could just send Clegg.

  21. Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    It’s nothing more than global cronyism. A chance for corporations to bypass any rights we have to a fair and open capitalist market. Nothing concrete ever comes out of them “crisis-wise”, so I can only assume it’s merely lobbying on an ever grander scale. By the way, talking of morals (of which most politicians have very few), I think lobbying at this scale is tantamount to bribery and leads to unethical trade deals (weapons etc.). Anything discussed “off grid” or behind closed doors always means that it will be unpopular to the taxpayer.

    Mr Cameron may feel like he has to attend but with so many of these summits, the outcome has already been discussed and agreed before hand. They are a waste of money and with internet conferencing being encouraged for us plebs (to save the planet), they should be leading by example.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, there Sue.

      Attend by ‘Webinar’ over the office internet (funded by the taxpayer) or go in person for a jolly, but fund it from your own pocket.

  22. Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I am mystified as to why any politician who disagrees with this lunacy, still fails to speak out against it in a forceful and purposeful way.

    It’s all balderdash, much for the reasons John has mentioned above. I simply couldn’t do it. I’d have to speak in terms everyone understood whether I upset the applecart or not. And that’s the most frustrating part. So many missed opportunities to put the case for an alternative. That just has to indicate weak and ineffectual leadership, or worse still, acquiescence!

    Summit after summit, to achieve absolutely nothing, except to give everybobdy a tax-payer funded jolly and a photo opportunity.

    We just can’t go on like this!

    Tad Davison


  23. Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Leaders do check in to B&Bs close to the venue often enough: they’re known as the Ambassador’s Residence.

  24. Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    In the engineering industry where I spent most of my working life, conferences, trade shows and trade association meetings grew to a point where there were opportunities every single week to be away from the business, patting each other on the back.

    The similarity between this situation and the endless numbers of summits for politicians to attend is that in both cases it isolates you and makes you inward looking.
    In my trade it meant many businesses failed to look out towards their customers and find out what they wanted, so certain were they that the trade knew best.

    Politicians also seem to be increasingly ignoring their customers needs and wants.
    They need to get back to finding out what the voters want and doing that.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed trade need to respond to customers and politicians to tax payers and voters.

  25. Posted June 21, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Only parliament has the power to stop it. You may be able to assemble a majority coaltion from the back benchers of all political parties to do so. Unless you try, you will never know.

  26. Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    The outcome of Summits is decided before they commence . Within a few hours – at most a day, announcements are made to the media of the decisions and accord reached . They are wasteful and costly affairs ; you are right to point out the psyche behind them and the distraction they cause .

  27. Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Ignoring the usual vitriol against David Cameron that the responses on this blog invariably descend to – too many readers of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph in my opinion – I thought the reactions of Greenpeace and the WWF etc. to the Rio conference were interesting. Greenpeace is going on to a “war footing” (don’t laugh) and similar fanatical remarks from the WWF. These people are seriously deranged.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Cameron gets it, because he doesn’t get it! The criticism is justified. He claims to be a Euro-sceptic. I have run that assertion past men who truly are, and they almost fall about on the floor laughing!

      A true Euro-sceptic would realise that Britain’s future lies outside the European Union, and would do everything possible to get us out. Cameron dithers. Take a look at all the opinion polls, and it soon becomes apparent that both he and Osborne are grossly out of step with public opinion. Only a man who is hell-bent on losing the next election would do such a thing. Remember Major? Remember Brown?

      Cameron presently has the chance to mark himself out as one of the greatest leaders this nation has ever seen. If he got us out of the EU, he’d be carried shoulder high through the streets. It’s what the people want. It would also make the Tories electable again in their own right, and finally undo the massive damage done by the Majors, the Clarkes, the Heseltines, the Heaths, the Howes, the Brittans et al.

      We cannot dally with this issue much longer, but Cameron isn’t doing the business. We need someone else to step forward. Someone with determination and guts!

      I hope this answers your concerns.

      Tad Davison


  28. Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Have you read the book recommended here John Sovereignty or Submission, sounds like it hits a lot of the points you make here

  29. Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    You couldnt make it up – the EU is to scrap rating agencies on their own soverigns – and rate them itself.

    “(Reuters) – The European Central Bank is discussing a medium-term plan to scrap rating rules on euro zone sovereign bonds and instead set their value when used as collateral in lending operations on its own internal assessment, central bank sources said.”

    “Opposition, in particular from the Bundesbank, has been strong,”

    This has been done because the ECB fear a slew of soverign downgrades in the next few months. Remember they are warned months in advance by the ratnig agencies.

    The ECB can now onload as much junk as it wants and Germany will be left to pick up the tab. The odds of Germany pressing the exit button have just gone down.

    The EZ has failed and it is now up the ECB to sustain an illusion for as long as possible.

    • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Good post Javelin. It seems as though the EU are going into the realms of fantasy and self-deception in a big way!


      • Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Tad (cursed iPods!)

  30. Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The answer to the perpetual summit circuit is to reduce the status of the attendee at each conference, and continue to water down the level of attendee. The attendee will obviously have the PM’s “complete confidence” and will report back in detail. This makes it harder to be committed to anything at the meeting until fully discussed in Cabinet. Once they realise that people or nations cannot be embarrassed into signing up for anything without complete discussion away from the glare, the need for them will be reduced.

  31. Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    At one point I was billeted abroad in 5* accommodation for a certain international train company.

    Despite the opulant surroundings it was an utterly depressing experience. There’s no place like home with friends and family and I don’t envy our leaders one bit.

    I’m sure that many of them would prefer to be tele-conferencing instead.

  32. Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I fail to see how treaty law is undemocratic when it’s agreed by elected representatives of the various nations and often has to be incorporated into law by national Parliaments.

    These treaties are usually good for the people in these countries as they provide stability and rights that can’t be removed as soon as they’re deemed inconvenient by the Government.

  33. Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Agree with you on all this. And there is probably the desire to get to know other politicians in the hope that ‘personal chemistry’ will lead to bi-partite or try-partite deals of some kind further on down the road.

  34. Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    The world is more and more a global village so international cooperation and collaboration is vitally important.

    While it remains important the politicians scrutinise what they are doing and that we support them in trying to make constructive change where there is waste and duplication, it seems to me this is really a minor issue compared with the vast and overwhelming ones the public face in trying to get this government to engage with their duties to engage with and govern Britain.

    Michael Gove is not distracted by international obligations. He voluntarily shut down all professional consultation regarding education policy and the bodies such as becta which scrutinise policy in Pearson/News Corp’s areas of interest. And at the Leveson enquiry he freely detailed how instead of participating in consultation regarding education policy while he was forcing vast tracts of legislation through parliament he chose instead to spend his time meeting with News Corp while it systematically span all those with ability in education policy making as being ignorant self interested socialist ideologues.

    And he’s not the only one. It’s endemic that officials in the Conservative party spend vastly more time talking to News Corp and deciding what the papers are going to say rather than actually engaging with Britain as it is. It’s inappropriate to try and blame international summits for Ministers failing to engage with Britain as it is and not to look at this much bigger and more serious issue.

    • Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Why would Michael Gove consult with the “educational establishment”? He knows what you think, you are entirely predictable. A bit like BBC comedians.

      • Posted June 22, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        It sounds like you also have no experience or understanding of what the processes of consultation are and why the exist lifelogic. That’s fine for a blog commentator but it’s totally unacceptable for a minister.

        • Posted June 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Yes, of course the minister should consult all the vested interests that have given such bad advice in the past. Actually, the minister would get a lot more sense from the community of blog commentators.

  35. Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    The greens don’t ever see the sense of irony in the fact that hundreds (if not thousands including their hangers-on) fly all over the world to the green summit boondoggles. They whinge about air travel being a factor in AGW (not proven as is the rest of the AGW theory) but its OK for them and their politician puppets to travel by plane. Green hypocrasy – surely not ? /sarc

  36. Posted June 22, 2012 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Let’s call them “acmes”. Just order an Acme recession buster, an Acme pollution neutraliser.Looney Tunes could do the music…

  37. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Actually no matter if someone doesn’t understand after that its up to other viewers that they will help, so here it happens.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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