The Guardian’s Charlie Skelton is in Chantilly, Virginia, ahead of the, whisper it, annual Bilderberg conference – “a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced”. As he says at the Big G’s US News blog
Everything’s set. The hotel is being primped and hoovered, the security is arriving, the press is nowhere to be seen, and I just had a really boring crab salad. It’s shaping up to be a vintage Bilderberg.
Heh. As for the topics on the agenda this year…
Aside from the US presidency, the big debate of Bilderberg 2012 is likely to be: what in Hades do we do about Greece? The Eurozone is Bilderberg’s biggest project, but it’s been looking distinctly shaky of late. What’s to be done? You can feel the unwillingness of Bilderberg to countenance a ‘Grexit’ in the stern words of Bilderberg spokesperson, the UK member of parliament for Rushcliffe, Kenneth Clarke. To leave the Euro, says Clarke, would be “disastrous” for the Greeks. “If they get a hopeless lot of rather cranky extremists elected at the next election then they will default on their debt.” Clarke took the time to brand eurosceptic British MPs “right-wing nationalists”, and euroscepticism itself “irresponsible”.
Clarke’s most telling remark is that: “It’s going to take a crisis, an absolute crisis, to make Europe’s leaders act.” This week’s Economist magazine agrees : “For the past six decades, steps forward to greater European union have taken place at moments of incipient crisis.”
“A consensus is slowly emerging that, whether a Greek exit is to be averted or weathered, there will have to be a greater level of integration in the euro zone, with tighter constraints on the freedom of national governments.”
This message, that out of the struggle will come a new strength, seems to be the Bilderbergian line. For example, EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (whom we spotted at Bilderberg 2010) says we need now to “reinforce the European Parliament’s role” which “will also strengthen the role of the [EU] Commission”. So his solution to the crisis: “I need a bigger office.”
The Economist says that if the “elite venture” of Europe is to survive and thrive, “Europe’s elites” have got their work cut out. It ventures to give the elites some “unashamedly technocratic” advice on how to forge their closer union, but it needn’t worry, the technocrats of Bilderberg seems to have the matter in hand. Mario Monti (unelected Italian PM, Bilderberg steering committee) said this week: “Europe can have euro bonds soon.”
Heh. Again. The Bilderberg conference has been to Chantilly before. In 2008. Charlie Skelton points to this ” hilarious footage of Robert Gibbs, Obama’s press secretary, trying (and failing) to placate a furious press corp, who found themselves tricked aboard a flight to Chicago.” That’s ‘tricked’. As in ditched. During a presidential campaign. By the presumptive Democratic Party nominee. Who had been summoned by the Bilderbergians. Here’s the footage.
The only question now is which candidate will be summoned this time… [*on tinfoil hat* – Ed]
Adds Here’s a reasonable description of the Bilderberg Group from Wikipedia.
According to chairman Étienne Davignon, a major attraction of Bilderberg group meetings is that they provide an opportunity for participants to speak and debate candidly and to find out what major figures really think, without the risk of off-the-cuff comments becoming fodder for controversy in the media. However, partly because of its working methods to ensure strict privacy, the Bilderberg group is accused of conspiracies. This outlook has been popular on both extremes of the political spectrum, even if they disagree on what the group wants to do. Some on the left accuse the Bilderberg group of conspiring to impose capitalist domination, while some on the right have accused the group of conspiring to impose a world government and planned economy.