Sunday, 16 June 2013
G8 summit: nice work if you can get it
It may be that the G8 elephant will go into labour for three days only to produce a mouse. Or (less likely but possible) it may produce some agreement that will make the world a fairer place. But either way we know one thing: it will be a pain-free labour. The world's leaders will have every conceivable comfort. Their planes won't be the economy class you and I are used to. Their vehicles will be large and deep-cushioned beyond our imaginings. Their accommodation will have the very best that Fermanagh can produce: beds to sink into, spacious bathrooms, attractive lobby, haute cuisine food. Nothing but the best for our leaders.
But, er, why? Why do they need to have this level of luxury when tens of thousands, maybe millions in the West are struggling to get by, and in the developing world tens of millions are going to bed hungry and living in conditions unimaginably grim? Is it that the world's leaders won't be able to think straight if any material hardship - no, more than that - if there should be so much as a pea under the ten mattresses on which they snooze? I'll accept that they can't take public transport, check into an ordinary hotel, eat that hotel's ordinary fare, because if they did, they're so popular, somebody might try to kill them. But even you grant that they must meet and eat and sleep in secure conditions, why does it always have to be a ring of steel, at the centre of which is the very essence of gracious, groveling luxury?
Remember Animal Farm? The pigs insisted that they needed more milk, better apples, nicer beds than the other animals, because if they didn't have them, how could they use their superior brain power and have it work for the benefit of the other animals? Is that what the world leaders want us to believe? Because the briefest of glances at how the world is organised tells us they've made a right balls-up of things so far. Maybe answering the question "Why all this luxury?" should be first on their agenda tomorrow.