Sunday, 12 June 2011

Do You Want Fries With Your Bilderberger?

The BBC chose to mark this weeks 59th meeting of the Bilderberg Group , held in St Moritz this year, with a magazine article asking "Why do people believe in Cabals?"

On the one hand this could be interpreted as the usual dismissive pat-piece, striving to label anyone with an interest in what is going on behind the closed doors of the conference centre as a conspiracy theory fantasist, either wide-eyed and credulous half-wits filled with fevered speculation, or fanatically frothing at the mouth with barely concealed anti-Semitic hatred and paranoia.

On the other hand you might chose to read the article, which was the only actual reference to the Bilderberg meeting I could find on the entire BBC news site, as a cunningly concealed satire, parodying itself and answering its own rhetorical question with the unspoken answer: "perhaps people believe in cabals because groups like Bilderberg insist on meeting every year without publishing an agenda, confirming exactly who was in attendance or what was decided upon, and without letting any representatives from the global news media inside to have a look!"

The Bilderberg Group have been meeting since 1954 but it is only in the last ten years or so that it has passed out of the realm of myth and become something that, although still secret, is publicly acknowledged to exist outside the seedy web pages of the conspiracists. The journalist Jon Ronson was the first to introduce me to the topic, with his excellent book "Them: Adventures with Extremists" (Picador 2001), and the rise of the bloggosphere and the alternative media have done much to raise Bilderberg up into slightly more mainstream discourse. Charlie Skelton of The Guardian has been reporting back this week, ankle deep in muddy water, on what snippets of information he can glean by camping-out outside the conference centre in Switzerland.

A full "official" list of this years attendees was published here, but as ever there have been surprise last minute guests, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Anders Rasmussen, the Secretary General of NATO. As you can see the list includes our own George Osborne, attending in his official capacity as Chancellor of the Exchequer, once again rubbing shoulders with Lord Mandelson, although not aboard a Russian oligarch's yacht this time.

So the man in charge of the British economy has met with high ranking politicians from Europe and the US, with heads of state and top members of international organisations like the European Council, and with senior members of half the major banks and corporations in the western world, during the biggest financial crisis in world history, against the backdrop of widespread revolution in the Arab Spring, and we are supposed to believe that they were not in fact doing business?

It is vaguely possible, I suppose, that all those hugely powerful and influential men and women were gathered together in one place just for some kind of rich-fuckers jamboree, to eat big dinners, drink nice wine, maybe have a sauna and enquire politely after each others families, golf handicaps or if they are going anywhere nice on holiday this year. Game of "bingo" anyone? It is also possible, however, that they were meeting in absolute privacy, to discuss and make decisions on matters of vital global importance, completely outside the scrutiny of the media, and without having to report any of it back to the people who voted them into their positions of power and influence in the first place, whether they be the electorate of one nation state or another, or the shareholders of an international corporation.

Personally, I do not think it is even remotely possible for so many of that calibre of people to gather together in one place without talking "shop", and when the "shop" in question includes some of the most powerful governmental and economic institutions on the planet, Bilderberg meetings highlight a fundamental flaw in our concept of democracy. We elect people to make decisions for us, and we should expect those people to make those decisions in light of what we want, of what is in our best interests and, most importantly, in an open and transparent way so that we can properly judge what they are doing and whose interests they are actually representing. When our elected leaders, the people who set our social, economic and military policies meet in secret with the representatives of the wealthiest people on Earth, you can not help but worry that it is a bad day for democracy.

Realistically, the news media should be going absolutely mental over their exclusion from the conference. If 140 of the worlds foremost footballers and pop stars were meeting together in the same hotel for a weekend, the place would be an all singing, all dancing, three-ring media feeding frenzy; the G20 and G8 summits are huge events in the global media calendar with embedded journos, live interviews and press releases galore, but Bilderberg is almost completely dismissed by the mass-media, and anyone with the temerity to wonder what exactly they are up to in there is treated as if they have just donned a turquoise track-suit and claimed to be the son of god-head.

I must point out that I do not think it is physically possible for any one group to secretly "control the world" in the way that the most rampant of conspiracy theories suggest, I would even go so far as to suggest it is wishful thinking on their part, that they somehow find more comfort in the idea of someone evil being in control, than they do in the frightening possibility that no-one is actually in control.

On the other hand, the idea that various groups with common interests may align with each other in an ATTEMPT control the world, or at least to exert enough influence over it to ensure they stay ahead of all the other groups who also wish to control the world, feels like simple common sense to me, and Bilderberg looks very much like the Annual General Meeting of one such group. If Bilderberg genuinely is a harmless social club, that in no way works to subvert the democratic process of decision making, then all they have to do to dispel the "myth" that they are in some way an elite cabal ruling us in secret, and setting policy that suits their interests rather than the interests of vote casting masses, is open their doors to full public scrutiny.

Or at least publish the minutes.

And until they do I will continue to feel absolutely zero embarrassment in suspecting they are up to no good.

No comments:

Post a Comment