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The Guardian: ‘Bilderberg 2011: George Osborne attending as chancellor ‘ – Charlie Skelton spots some interesting names on the delegate list

www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/jun/10/bilderberg-2011-charlie-skelton

Bilderberg 2011: George Osborne attending as chancellor

Charlie Skelton spots some interesting names on the delegate list

So this is some proper journalism what I just done.

Early this morning a Swiss website published a genuine-sounding list of delegates to this year’s conference. A couple of names leapt out, both of them Bilderberg alumni: Lord Mandelson (2009) and George Osborne (2006-2009).

On the 2011 delegate list, Osborne appears thus: Osborne, George, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I’ve just spent the entire day trying and failing and failing and trying again to get an official confirmation that Osborne is attending the St Moritz conference, and if so, in exactly what capacity he’s here.

At long last the Treasury Press Office gave me a straight answer, but it wasn’t the answer I was expecting: “George Osborne is attending the Bilderberg conference in his official capacity as Chancellor of the Exchequer” – and he’s coming along “with a number of other international finance ministers.”

Any Treasury staff?

“Probably not more than one.”

So – ok – you mean we’re paying for Osborne to be here?

You mean he’s on Treasury business?

You mean this is an official summit?

You mean he’s talking economic policy with the Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, the CEO of Airbus, and Russian oligarch Alexey Mordashov, the billionaire CEO of Severstal?

And Henry Kissinger?

In secret?

Behind a police cordon?

Then came the photo. It’s a bit washed out, but that profile… The chancellor in Bilderberg.

We’re not sure who’s travelling with him, but maybe Conservative Home could take a punt? (Or the Treasury Press Office?)

I’m not quite sure why George is taking the trip as Chancellor.

Was he that unwilling to pick up the cost of a flight?

Isn’t he a wallpaper heir or something?

Why would he walk willingly into a blizzard of tricky questions: who paid for his flight? Who’s paying for his security?

What’s he discussing?

Who’s he discussing it with?

Who’s he gone with?

Who’s taking minutes?

Why on earth wouldn’t he just have attended as humble little “Osborne, George”?

Did he think his lanyard would look empty?

Can’t he put ‘Bullingdon Club’ under his name or something?

Right back at the beginning of Bilderberg, the key selling point of the conference was its privacy.

In March 1954, a couple of months before the first meeting – at the Bilderberg Hotel in May – a senior Foreign Office official, Frank Roberts, describes how it was sold to him:

“the idea was that the meeting would be entirely private but that there might be a press conference at the end if the meeting had been successful.”

The meeting was a success, clearly, and its privacy enshrined. But the idea of a press conference seems to have faded away.

It’s shame, seeing as how many questions (and Freedom of Information requests) spring to mind.

Maybe it’s finally time for the original dream of “a press conference at the end” to come to pass.

Oh, and one last thing – I’d like to congratulate Rory Stewart MP on his forthcoming promotion.

Sorry – one other last thing – the Chancellor of the Exchequer is attending a four-day summit with international finance ministers, heads of state and CEOs of banks and corporations… and the press?

June 11, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information

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