/ Bilderberg Group meeting in Watford

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Blizzard - on 09 Jun 2013
The stated aim of the Bilderberg Group is to provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss the challenges facing Europe and the United States, free from the constraints of office.

However, No press, no public, no agenda, no statements, no questions: some would say no accountability.

Do activists, protesters and conspiracy theorists have right to be concerned, are are they simply part of a lunatic fringe?
MG - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

> However, No press, no public, no agenda, no statements, no questions: some would say no accountability.
>

Obviously there is no accountability, that's the whole point!

> Do activists, protesters and conspiracy theorists have right to be concerned, are are they simply part of a lunatic fringe?

They are.

malk - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to MG: no worries then?
Blizzard - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:

Some might say all those power brokers meeting in one place have a secret agenda, therefore ought there be some transparency (if there is actually really any such thing) . Personally I'm not sure I'm happy a large secret society meeting is taking place on British soil.
MG - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to malk: Not really. In fact I would say its probably a good thing leaders, on occasion, can talk to each other off the record without every word being scrutinised and analysed.
Blizzard - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22800764

LOL. Or is a serious point being raised?
Tony Naylor on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> Personally I'm not sure I'm happy a large secret society meeting is taking place on British soil.

I was a little concerned, too. But then I read that George Osbourne was a member. And Ed Balls. Which sort of undermines the sinister factor. Mind you, I wouldn't put it past a snake like fellow member Peter Mandelson to get those two onboard as comedy camouflage.

PopShot on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Some might say all those power brokers meeting in one place have a secret agenda, therefore ought there be some transparency (if there is actually really any such thing) . Personally I'm not sure I'm happy a large secret society meeting is taking place on British soil.

Britain was founded and built on secret societies such as the Masons.
Postmanpat on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
>
>
> Do activists, protesters and conspiracy theorists have right to be concerned, are are they simply part of a lunatic fringe?
>
Well they have a right, of course, but not much reason. Do they think it better that these people don't talk to each other?

Most companies run similar functions called "offsites" which allow people from different parts of big companies to get to know each other, learn from each other and have frank exchanges off the record. Seems the same sort of idea and rather sensible to me.

PopShot on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Blizzard)
> [...]
> Well they have a right, of course, but not much reason. Do they think it better that these people don't talk to each other?
>
> Most companies run similar functions called "offsites" which allow people from different parts of big companies to get to know each other, learn from each other and have frank exchanges off the record. Seems the same sort of idea and rather sensible to me.

The most sensible post so far. I agree.
MG - on 09 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Some might say all those power brokers meeting in one place have a secret agenda, therefore ought there be some transparency


OK, they can go ahead and say that (acutally I understand they have), along with whatever they think about the WTC collapses and moon landings.
Sircumfrins - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> The stated aim of the Bilderberg Group is to provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss the challenges facing Europe and the United States, free from the constraints of office.
>
> However, No press, no public, no agenda, no statements, no questions: some would say no accountability.
>
> Do activists, protesters and conspiracy theorists have right to be concerned, are are they simply part of a lunatic fringe?

I'm surprised at how many protesters turned up. There seemed to be several thousand people there...quite unprecedented.
dissonance - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to PopShot:

> Britain was founded and built on secret societies such as the Masons.

really?
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: It's great idea that they have a frank exchange with each other, the only problem is, why not make it transparent and public ? After all they are most likely going to discuss issues that concerns the public. I don't see any reasons why it should be off the record.

I find it very funny that just after the PM said he wanted to act against the lobbyists, he goes to a closed door meeting with the most powerful CEO of the planet. Hypocrisy level 1000 !
andic - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

Even if it is 'only' extreme and multiple party lobbying of western leaders it makes me uneasy.

eg, CEOs of shell and BP both known to be in attendance button hole Cameron, Gideon and Balls along with a couple of hedge fund managers and arrange to carve up the fracking of gas in the UK. Couldn't happen?
Wiley Coyote - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) It's great idea that they have a frank exchange with each other, the only problem is, why not make it transparent and public ?

Becaue if it was public it would not be frank in exactly the same way that G7 summits and EU summits are not frank. Simple as that
GrahamD - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> It's great idea that they have a frank exchange with each other, the only problem is, why not make it transparent and public ?

Because realistically it wouldn't be a franck exchange would it ? the world runs on unpalatable truths
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: Well they should be public, AND frank, I don't see why we should settle for less, or you might as well give up the idea of democracy altogether.

You may find it OK that a lot of the decision making is made behind closed door, but personally I don't, and I think a lot of people don't either, hence the protests.

If CEOs of private companies want to get together I don't see a problem at all, but our democratically elected leader should show transparency. If they don't, well we simply need to vote for different politicians I guess.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> Because realistically it wouldn't be a franck exchange would it ? the world runs on unpalatable truths

same here, you may find it ok, but I don't think it's alright

tom_in_edinburgh - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

The most amazing thing is that of all the places on the planet they could choose to meet they chose Watford.

If I was running Bilderberg they'd have their meetings in a castle on top of an Alp or under a volcano on a tropical island.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote) Well they should be public, AND frank, I don't see why we should settle for less, or you might as well give up the idea of democracy altogether.
>
> You may find it OK that a lot of the decision making is made behind closed door, but personally I don't, and I think a lot of people don't either, hence the protests.
>
Do you think policy would be improved if every conversation of people in government were public? It would kill any innovative creative or honest discusision and probably increase the incentive for secret back room and corrupt deals. It's bad enoughenywayhow the media siezes on any half understood snippetof an idea and trounces it.

One of the biggest problems for rulers down the ages is being divorced from the world. Thy need to hear how other power constituencies see the world.

Sircumfrins - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: It's not that amazing. They hold annual meetings and they have been to many exotic locations.
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to Blizzard)
>
> Even if it is 'only' extreme and multiple party lobbying of western leaders it makes me uneasy.
>
> eg, CEOs of shell and BP both known to be in attendance button hole Cameron, Gideon and Balls along with a couple of hedge fund managers and arrange to carve up the fracking of gas in the UK. Couldn't happen?
>
No, none of those people have the power to make it happen together or independently but they might all go away understanding the issues much better.
tony on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Sircumfrins:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh) It's not that amazing. They hold annual meetings and they have been to many exotic locations.

Given the choice, would you go to Watford? Instead of a castle on an alpine peak? Or under a volcano?
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
> Do you think policy would be improved if every conversation of people in government were public?

We are not talking about every conversation of everybody in the governement here, but a major meeting between polticians and business elite.

> It would kill any innovative creative or honest discusision and probably > increase the incentive for secret back room and corrupt deals. It's bad > enoughenywayhow the media siezes on any half understood snippetof an idea and trounces it.

Once again, I don't justify why it would kill creative or honnest discussion, Our politicians should have the balls to be honnest and speak frankly to the public instead of constantly trying to keep their seat.

> One of the biggest problems for rulers down the ages is being divorced
> from the world. Thy need to hear how other power constituencies see the
> world.

No argument here justifying closed door meetings with powerful business leaders. This is just opening the door wide open to small deal between friends and ruthless lobbying.
Also the PM is not "ruler" in my view, but an elected representative.
Fat Bumbly2 - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: A great choice, no film maker is going to send a known pest and menace like Bond* to Watford. Muhahaha!

Anyway he is currently holed up with a three month email backlog.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to andic)
> [...]
> No, none of those people have the power to make it happen together or independently but they might all go away understanding the issues much better.

Do you REALLY BELIEVEthat the CEO of huge private companies going to this meeting are there to try to understand some issues better ? Of course not, they are there to represent the interest of their business. It is perfectly right to do so but it shouldn't happen behind closed doors if this involves a democratic governement.
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> We are not talking about every conversation of everybody in the governement here, but a major meeting between polticians and business elite.
>
So how do you draw the line. Is the pm allowed to talk to a major CEO without the transcripoing o the Daily Mail? To an NGO? Can a civil servant talk to an NGO?

>
> Once again, I don't justify why it would kill creative or honnest discussion, Our politicians should have the balls to be honnest and speak frankly to the public instead of constantly trying to keep their seat.
>
It's not a question of "bals". It's about the reailty of how the world works. Do you think all half developed ideas should be broadcast to the press before being bounced off other parties? Do you think the media would look benignly on politicians or CEOs acknowledging ignorance to their counterparts?
If so you are veryverynaive.
>
> No argument here justifying closed door meetings with powerful business leaders. This is just opening the door wide open to small deal between friends and ruthless lobbying.
> Also the PM is not "ruler" in my view, but an elected representative.
>
They re not exclusive

Sircumfrins - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to tony: I would go under a volcano for sure.
Sircumfrins - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard: It seems there is a petition to arrest MP's who have attended the meeting:

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-secretary-of-state-for-the-home-department-we-demand-the-a...
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)

> It's not a question of "bals". It's about the reailty of how the world works. Do you think all half developed ideas should be broadcast to the press before being bounced off other parties? Do you think the media would look benignly on politicians or CEOs acknowledging ignorance to their counterparts?
> If so you are veryverynaive.

It might be "how the world works", it doesn't mean it shouldn't be improved. I don't see the problem with the media not looking beningly on politicians or CEOs acknowledging ignorance. If X or Y poltician or CEO is an ignorant, and they are confronted with in the media, that's a good thing in my view.
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> It might be "how the world works", it doesn't mean it shouldn't be improved. I don't see the problem with the media not looking beningly on politicians or CEOs acknowledging ignorance. If X or Y poltician or CEO is an ignorant, and they are confronted with in the media, that's a good thing in my view.
>
So you think it wouldbebetter if they cease discussing key issues with important players ?Because that is what would happen.. You think that would produce better policy?

Don't you understand that one way people stop being ignorant is by asking people who know more than them?

Eric9Points - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Sircumfrins:
> (In reply to Blizzard) It seems there is a petition to arrest MP's who have attended the meeting:
>
> http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-secretary-of-state-for-the-home-department-we-demand-the-a...

Thanks for that, not so much of a petition as a rant from the unhinged. I enjoyed it very much. What a load of pish.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
> So how do you draw the line. Is the pm allowed to talk to a major CEO without the transcripoing o the Daily Mail? To an NGO? Can a civil servant talk to an NGO?
>

Drawing the line might be difficult, but you do not need to have a degree in history and law to understand that for a functionning democracy you need to make sure that policy making is not affected by third parties against he public interest. How you implement it is another story, but not holding secret meetings would be a good start !
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
> So you think it wouldbebetter if they cease discussing key issues with important players ?Because that is what would happen.. You think that would produce better policy?
>
> Don't you understand that one way people stop being ignorant is by asking people who know more than them?

So you still think that what happens in such metting is simply an innocent "exchange of knowledge" ? Then you are the one who is really naive !

If a politician really wanted to get knowledge on issues relating to policy making, there are tons of very good universities producing excellent peer reviewed research on everything these days. I would rather go there rather than going to a metting with the rich and the powerful, who often don't actually have a clue about anything but their business and personal interests anyways.
Eric9Points - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Drawing the line might be difficult,

So you don't have a clue then?

RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> So you don't have a clue then?

If you had quoted me entirely you would have had the answer, drawing the line and enforcing it might be difficult, but you don't need to be a genius to understand that there is a problem when democratically elected representatives in power are having a secret meeting with the rich and the powerful of this world.

off-duty - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
> [...]
>
> If you had quoted me entirely you would have had the answer, drawing the line and enforcing it might be difficult, but you don't need to be a genius to understand that there is a problem when democratically elected representatives in power are having a secret meeting with the rich and the powerful of this world.


Given that these meetings are going to happen anyway, wouldn't you rather have a democratically elected representative present rather than excluded?
Or does being elected as PM automatically mean you no longer have any interest in the best interests of the country you represent?
Jim C - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> The stated aim of the Bilderberg Group is to provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss the challenges facing Europe and the United States, free from the constraints of office.
>
I wonder if they have a Bilderberg handshake( like the Masons)
no self respecting secret organisation should be without one ;)

Dominion - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Sircumfrins:

> (In reply to tony) I would go under a volcano for sure.

Look at what happened to Mt St Helen's last time they tried that.

Since then, the world has been run by lizard replicants from Watford, and now they're going home, to a place so innocuous you'd never suspect it...

Just remember, Elton John was Manager of Watford, and think of his songs from 1972 - Rocket Man, and Crocodile Rock. They were warnings the world, except for David Icke, sadly ignored.
ads.ukclimbing.com
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
>
> Given that these meetings are going to happen anyway, wouldn't you rather have a democratically elected representative present rather than excluded?
> Or does being elected as PM automatically mean you no longer have any interest in the best interests of the country you represent?

I think the PM should definitely refuse to go to secret meetings like these. Other meetings like Davos for example offer the opportunity for our political leaders to meet business leaders, and it is all covered by the press. I really don't think secret meetings are necessary AT ALL, what is really needed though are more open and transparent politics and policy making.
Bulls Crack - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

Well. if I was planning to rule the world I wouldn't have a well-advertised meeting in Watford.........or would I?
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
> [...]
>
> If you had quoted me entirely you would have had the answer, drawing the line and enforcing it might be difficult, but you don't need to be a genius to understand that there is a problem when democratically elected representatives in power are having a secret meeting with the rich and the powerful of this world.
>
You do realise that these people meet each other anyway don't you?

Do you think it is more or less likely hey will "cut a deal" at a small dinner than. General meeting with 200 people?

Or do you really think thy all do a secret handshake and agree a pln to f*ck you over?
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> So you still think that what happens in such metting is simply an innocent "exchange of knowledge" ? Then you are the one who is really naive !
>
> If a politician really wanted to get knowledge on issues relating to policy making, there are tons of very good universities producing excellent peer reviewed research on everything these days. I would rather go there rather than going to a metting with the rich and the powerful, who often don't actually have a clue about anything but their business and personal interests anyways.
>

Not really. The CEO of bp or google has an overview of what is going on within his industry that very few can match, and a chancellor has equivalent insights in his realm. Their self interest is to understand the other's perspective.

The opportunities for "corruption" are much less than at private meetings. I have huge doubts about our mode of democracy but I think the idea that the Osborne, Cameron or balls can cook up a policy with somebody at Watford and turn it into fact is paranoid fantasy.

RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: "The CEO of bp or google has an overview of what is going on within his industry that very few can match"
> Based on what evidence ? There are no miracle people, and assuming they had such knowledge, they probably wouldn't share it with anyone and would keep it as a strategic advantage for they company if they were smart, and they are.

Nobody seriously believes that whole policies are cooked up during a single meeting, and we are not even talking about corruption here, but subtle lobbying and influencing of policies, and conflict of interests, which I think should be limited as much as possible in a democracy.

I know a few lobbyists and they are paid very well, I don't think they would be if they didn't bring good value for money ;-) I have nothing against them, every business has the right to defend its interests, but I simply believe the public should know who is influencing government decisions.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: I don't think that there is any secret handshake to f*ck us all over, but I do know for a fact that corporation are spending large amounts of cash to persuade politicians to modify or delays laws and regulations or get government business, often against the public interest.

Not a bad thing in itself, after all it makes sense for a business to use any lawful means to try to influence policies to increase its business, but there should be processes and controls to make sure it is regulated and happens transparently so that the public is informed. Forbidding secret meetings with business leaders would be a good start and a very simple thing to do.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:

Yes. (Pointless to add anything, because what you are saying is so obviously right.)
toad - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard: I love that Ken Clarke forgot that he was on the secretariat. Just overlooked it when he was asked about it in parliament. Memory like swiss cheese. Bit like the golf club subs, only a hugely important geo-political entity with fewer greens
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) "The CEO of bp or google has an overview of what is going on within his industry that very few can match"
> [...]
>
> Nobody seriously believes that whole policies are cooked up during a single meeting, and we are not even talking about corruption here, but subtle lobbying and influencing of policies, and conflict of interests, which I think should be limited as much as possible in a democracy.
>
Based on the fact they have tens of thousands of people who report o them and whose feedback they have access to?!!!!

> I know a few lobbyists and they are paid very well, I don't think they would be if they didn't bring good value for money ;-) I have nothing against them, every business has the right to defend its interests, but I simply believe the public should know who is influencing government decisions.
>
Are professional lobbyists in Watford? Maybe they should be so that their ole can be debated?
I ask again. Do you imagine these people not meet anyway? And quite right too. Shell, for example, is one of the Uk and the world's biggest employers, biggest taxpayers and key player in the supply of energy and dividends of for pensions. A Government that didn't meet its senior executives would be criminally irresponsible.

RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: These people should definitely meet, as I said before, but it should be done transparently so that the public can know what is going on and democratic debate can happen. Secret meeting like those just create suspicion and distrust and do nothing to stimulate democratic debate on key policies.
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) These people should definitely meet, as I said before, but it should be done transparently so that the public can know what is going on and democratic debate can happen. Secret meeting like those just create suspicion and distrust and do nothing to stimulate democratic debate on key policies.
>
You can't honestly believe that they are going to have a sensible and useful exchange is some half wit hack from the daily mail is party to it?

off-duty - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) These people should definitely meet, as I said before, but it should be done transparently so that the public can know what is going on and democratic debate can happen. Secret meeting like those just create suspicion and distrust and do nothing to stimulate democratic debate on key policies.

You realise that the participants are a mix between "evil" corporate leaders, leading politicians, leading academics and even journalists.

http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/participants2013.html
Eric9Points - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) These people should definitely meet, as I said before, but it should be done transparently so that the public can know what is going on and democratic debate can happen. Secret meeting like those just create suspicion and distrust and do nothing to stimulate democratic debate on key policies.

Hardly secret is it. You just don't know what's said. Has it ever occurred to you that people sometimes need to keep things from a wider audience for very good reasons?

What sort of deals do you think are being stitched up that we can't do anything about? You seem to be working on the premise that all business leaders and politicians are power hungry crooks who have no other goal in life than to screw over the electorate.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: You'll have noticed that the Daily Mail is fortunately not the only newspaper in this country.

Also being bashed in the media is part of politics, if they have a problem with that, well probably they shouldn't be in politics ;-).

Having a few tabloids making a scandal out of every news does not justify unnecessary secrecy and throwing away democratic and transparent policy making.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> Hardly secret is it. You just don't know what's said. Has it ever occurred to you that people sometimes need to keep things from a wider audience for very good reasons?
>
> What sort of deals do you think are being stitched up that we can't do anything about? You seem to be working on the premise that all business leaders and politicians are power hungry crooks who have no other goal in life than to screw over the electorate.

I do not believe that politicians and leaders have evil goals, but they have their own interest which might not be aligned with the interest of the electorate, that is why you need some form of accountability and control.
Postmanpat on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) You'll have noticed that the Daily Mail is fortunately not the only newspaper in this country.
>
Yes. You do realise I used it s an example to make my point?

> Also being bashed in the media is part of politics, if they have a problem with that, well probably they shouldn't be in politics ;-).
>
>
It's not their problem. It's ours. The media will misrepresent the discussion for a good story, the idea then becomes dead in the water and never gets properly debated.
I'm not a great believer in our governance but I believe we have enough checks and balances to stop a policy bing enacted on the basis of a couple of folk meeting in Watford. The upside of what they learn is bigger than the risk of corrupt practices.
RomTheBear - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> Hardly secret is it. You just don't know what's said. Has it ever occurred to you that people sometimes need to keep things from a wider audience for very good reasons?

There might be a few cases where discreet talks are needed (security, strategic discussions, and so on) for very good reasons, but it's certainly not the case here given the wide range of people invited.

I believe that what happens in these meetings is mostly booze up anyways ;-). But still it reflects a culture in British politics where cash for influence is acceptable
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)

> I'm not a great believer in our governance but I believe we have enough checks and balances to stop a policy bing enacted on the basis of a couple of folk meeting in Watford. The upside of what they learn is bigger than the risk of corrupt practices.

If you really think that our checks and balances are working there is a long list in this article to prove you wrong : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying_in_the_United_Kingdom
off-duty - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
> [...]
>
> There might be a few cases where discreet talks are needed (security, strategic discussions, and so on) for very good reasons, but it's certainly not the case here given the wide range of people invited.
>
> I believe that what happens in these meetings is mostly booze up anyways ;-). But still it reflects a culture in British politics where cash for influence is acceptable

You seem very focussed on the fact that the participants include corporate leaders and thus the meeting "must" have some kind of evil hidden influence. As per the list of participants they represent only about half of those attending.

Unless you think having off the record discussions between the sec general of the Portuguese socialist party, the former queen of Belgium, the ex-attorney general of Ireland, the regius professor of Medicine at Oxford and David Cameron must equate to a conspiracy to screw over the population of the UK....
Postmanpat on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> If you really think that our checks and balances are working there is a long list in this article to prove you wrong : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying_in_the_United_Kingdom
>
Exactly, so wouldn't it make more sense to deal with intensive professional lobbying than crowded booze ups in Watford?!
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RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to off-duty: I don't think it's necessary evil influence, but it is influence, so we should know about it. As a matter of principle and transparency our pm shouldn't accept to go to an off the record meeting when there is real justification for it.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
> Exactly, so wouldn't it make more sense to deal with intensive professional lobbying than crowded booze ups in Watford?!

The only way to deal with intensive lobbying is to make politics more transparent, and Watford is just not really a transparent event.
wbo - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard: But it's not just politics is it, it's also business.

Lets say you're leader of company x, employing 120000 in the EU, and you start with a discussion on why your employees in the EU are expensive and unproductive compared to those somewhere else, and perhaps it's a good idea to chop the lot. You then promote arguments against that idea, various other people chip in, and the David Cameron or whoever says this is a bad idea, we think you should not do this , but to help you stay we can start to consider ....

And so on. Do you think you can have an honest debate in this scenario with the press watching everything? I don't like that it's secret but I don't believe they can say all that they thing with the press watching on every word in case they say something horrible.
Chris the Tall - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made."
Otto von Bismarck

Or remember what Douglas Adams wrote about the people who developed the ability to mind read - they had to talk rubbish all day long to disguise what they were really thinking.

Or even simpler, you can have too much information.

Dennis Healy, one of the founders of the group, was remarkably open about it. He explained that when you've lived through 2 world wars, and felt a third was a real threat, then having regular but informal between the lizards was a good idea.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to wbo:
> (In reply to Blizzard) But it's not just politics is it, it's also business.
>
> Lets say you're leader of company x, employing 120000 in the EU, and you start with a discussion on why your employees in the EU are expensive and unproductive compared to those somewhere else, and perhaps it's a good idea to chop the lot. You then promote arguments against that idea, various other people chip in, and the David Cameron or whoever says this is a bad idea, we think you should not do this , but to help you stay we can start to consider ....
>
> And so on. Do you think you can have an honest debate in this scenario with the press watching everything? I don't like that it's secret but I don't believe they can say all that they thing with the press watching on every word in case they say something horrible.

There is nothing horrible about discussing productivity rates of employees across countries, there is a lot of information about it everywhere and I don't know why anyone would have to hide.

Also what you are saying is exactly a situation where lobbying and pressure can occur, using the threat chop large number of employees in exchange for laws being delayed, or governement contract awarded, and so on... Not only it's immoral, but it distorts the competition, because smaller businesses who do not have access to politicians cannot influence policy for competitive advantage.
andic - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to andic)
> [...]
> No, none of those people have the power to make it happen together or independently but they might all go away understanding the issues much better.

Oh pmp thinks not, so that's alright then. I feel much better now.
Postmanpat on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Oh pmp thinks not, so that's alright then. I feel much better now.
>
So how do You Think those gents are going to make it happen over a chat on Watford?
You're in lizard territory

dissonance - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So how do You Think those gents are going to make it happen over a chat on Watford?

clearly it is for nefarious purposes.
I mean have you ever been to Watford? Only reason I would venture there again is to take over the world.

MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
Not only it's immoral, but it distorts the competition, because smaller businesses who do not have access to politicians cannot influence policy for competitive advantage.

At what point do you think politicians should be able to have a private, off the record meeting? What about if you go to see your MP, or when a small business does, or when a cabinet minister meets a business representative, or when a union leader meets government minister?

In each case there are good reasons why the discussion should be private. For example a business owner probably doesn't want rivals knowing they are struggling financially but may want to show politicians where policy changes could help. I don't see why global leaders are any different. Of course it can go too far (such as with Murdoch) but a sensible balance seems desriable to me.

In any case this is hardly a secret meeting - it's all over the media.
off-duty - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to off-duty) I don't think it's necessary evil influence, but it is influence, so we should know about it. As a matter of principle and transparency our pm shouldn't accept to go to an off the record meeting when there is real justification for it.

We do know about it. There is a list of participants and even a list of discussion topics.

Unless being elected as PM entails the fitting of a permanent body cam then there is always going to be a degree of privacy.

I can see perfectly good reasons for off the record discussions on a whole range of issues from terrorism - where a frank discussion could be had about whether ransoms should be paid or hostages sacrificed, to the welfare state where politicians can test their arguments by promoting contrary positions or extreme examples, both of which would be utterly undermined if their was the risk of a front page headline of their comments.

These discussions could be held one to one behind closed doors but why not get a varied group with wide ranging viewpoints and experiences and have these discussions in one place.
Wiley Coyote - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
Private discussions are an essential part of life at every level and they are the surest way to make certain important things are discussed and made clear in a way they never would be if they were being heard by a wider audience. On a domestic level I wave a guest off with a smile and a "Lovely to see you" before saying to Mrs C "I never want that person in my house again". In politics at a cabinet meeting Minister X can tell the PM his plan is a lousy idea and won't work but in public he has to say the PM is doing a good job and has my full support. Ditto in business. At a small meeting of senior people you can voice misgivings about something you may have to suport at a shareholders' meeting. So if you want to know what people really think rather than posturing and arse-covering talk in private.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> Not only it's immoral, but it distorts the competition, because smaller businesses who do not have access to politicians cannot influence policy for competitive advantage.
>
> At what point do you think politicians should be able to have a private, off the record meeting? What about if you go to see your MP, or when a small business does, or when a cabinet minister meets a business representative, or when a union leader meets government minister?
>
Unless required for security/startegic reasons I don't think there is a need for "private" discussions at any point with influential third parties politics shoudl be public, not behind doors.

> In each case there are good reasons why the discussion should be private. For example a business owner probably doesn't want rivals knowing they are struggling financially but may want to show politicians where policy changes could help. I don't see why global leaders are any different. Of course it can go too far (such as with Murdoch) but a sensible balance seems desriable to me.
>
If a business owner keeps it private that his business his struggling then hiding it most likely unlawful. For most global companies, especially if operating in the US, they are required to publish quarterly report on their financial situation and possible risks for their business. In the Uk at least once a year, even small companies have to publish their accounts and reports, the requiremednts are even higher if their are Plc.

A policy change might indeed help this business, but what about their competitors ? For them the game is rigged, if they cannot influence policy as well.

> In any case this is hardly a secret meeting - it's all over the media.

Then why not invite a few journalists to cover what is being said inside ?
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> Private discussions are an essential part of life at every level and they are the surest way to make certain important things are discussed and made clear in a way they never would be if they were being heard by a wider audience. On a domestic level I wave a guest off with a smile and a "Lovely to see you" before saying to Mrs C "I never want that person in my house again". In politics at a cabinet meeting Minister X can tell the PM his plan is a lousy idea and won't work but in public he has to say the PM is doing a good job and has my full support. Ditto in business. At a small meeting of senior people you can voice misgivings about something you may have to suport at a shareholders' meeting. So if you want to know what people really think rather than posturing and arse-covering talk in private.

What you are saying is that lying and hypricrosy is a normal part of life, yes it is, but it doesn't mean that we should accept it in politics. I am expecting my PM and his ministers to say what their intentions and ideas are, and act on the policies they were elected for, rather than saying something to the public but then acting in a different directions behind closed doors.
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:

> If a business owner keeps it private that his business his struggling then hiding it most likely unlawful.

Don't be ridiculous! Businesses don't have to shout about the fact trade might be down.

>
> A policy change might indeed help this business, but what about their competitors ? For them the game is rigged, if they cannot influence policy as well.


Well they can!
>
> [...]
>
> Then why not invite a few journalists to cover what is being said inside ?

Because, as above, a lot of it will be confidential but still important.

E.g. Suppose bosses of companies x,y and z all mention to PMs a,b,c that they can't get a vital raw material because of trade problems with a particular country gamma. That is useful information that may have serious consquences if not addressed. Such a discussion could lead to diplomatic moves that could resolve the problem.

If the discussion were made instantly public it would be reported as "Global economic crash threatened by tariff imposed by bastard country gamma" Hardly a recipie for a mutually helpful solution!
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:


> Don't be ridiculous! Businesses don't have to shout about the fact trade might be down.
>

Well sorry but for most global companies they have to ! I own a few shares in a few companies and receive quartely finaical report describing ups and downs in revenues in every part of the business + forcasted risks for investors, every quarter.
This is public information availabe on the SEC for US companies and companies house for the UK.

>
> Well they can!

Small companies trying to compete with bigger ones can't influence policies simply because they don't have the financial means and networks to do so, even if they coudl they wouldn't have the leverage to negotiate.
IMHO public policies should be decided democratically, not but who has the most influence over politicians.

>
> Because, as above, a lot of it will be confidential but still important.
>
> E.g. Suppose bosses of companies x,y and z all mention to PMs a,b,c that they can't get a vital raw material because of trade problems with a particular country gamma. That is useful information that may have serious consquences if not addressed. Such a discussion could lead to diplomatic moves that could resolve the problem.
>
> If the discussion were made instantly public it would be reported as "Global economic crash threatened by tariff imposed by bastard country gamma" Hardly a recipie for a mutually helpful solution!

Now you are just making up stuff. If there is a trade problem with a particular country it's probably well known already, if it is not then it should.
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to MG)
>
>
> [...]
>
> Well sorry but for most global companies they have to !

I was clearly talking about small businesses above.


>
> Now you are just making up stuff.

Well yes it was obviously a hypothetical example!

If there is a trade problem with a particular country it's probably well known already, if it is not then it should.

You really think publicity always results in a better solution?
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> What you are saying is that lying and hypricrosy is a normal part of life, yes it is, but it doesn't mean that we should accept it in politics. I am expecting my PM and his ministers to say what their intentions and ideas are, and act on the policies they were elected for, rather than saying something to the public but then acting in a different directions behind closed doors.

But those policies aren't formed in a vacuum. They have to be informed. There's no point in well-meaning but ill-informed politicians developing policies if they can't be delivered, or of they deliver unforeseen consequences. If you want to form a policy about electricity generation, for example, you'd be stupid not to discuss options with a wide range of generating companies, since they're the ones who actually know what's what.
teflonpete - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Drawing the line might be difficult, but you do not need to have a degree in history and law to understand that for a functionning democracy you need to make sure that policy making is not affected by third parties against he public interest. How you implement it is another story, but not holding secret meetings would be a good start !

In a democratic society you get to elect the government that the majority of the electorate believe will operate in the best interests of the electorate. Anything more democratic than that and you'd have to have a public referendum on every single issue.
Eric9Points - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> What you are saying is that lying and hypricrosy is a normal part of life, yes it is, but it doesn't mean that we should accept it in politics.

Why not? If it's a necessary part of every other part of life then it seems peculiar that you feel that politicians can live every minute of their lives in the public domain.

I note you haven't addressed WC's arguments in any detail, just more assertions as to what is and isn't acceptable in public life. YOu really really think that politicians should never have the opportunity of speaking frankly to each other in the knowledge that what they say will go no further than the room they're sitting in? Remarkable, just remarkable.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> But those policies aren't formed in a vacuum. They have to be informed. There's no point in well-meaning but ill-informed politicians developing policies if they can't be delivered, or of they deliver unforeseen consequences. If you want to form a policy about electricity generation, for example, you'd be stupid not to discuss options with a wide range of generating companies, since they're the ones who actually know what's what.

Of course, but once again, it should be transparent why poltician X or Y meets a business leader Z or W, and we should know what issues they are going to discusss, and what was the outcome.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Of course, but once again, it should be transparent why poltician X or Y meets a business leader Z or W, and we should know what issues they are going to discusss, and what was the outcome.

Is that really going to result in a better outcome than if they're able to speak without their discussions being made public? Politicians meet people from business all the time, and like it or not, it's an essential part of their job. Publishing the outcome of one specific set of discussions may be entirely meaningless because there may not be any meaningful outcome - it may all just be part of an information gathering process, prior to the policy development stage.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> Why not? If it's a necessary part of every other part of life then it seems peculiar that you feel that politicians can live every minute of their lives in the public domain.
>
> I note you haven't addressed WC's arguments in any detail, just more assertions as to what is and isn't acceptable in public life. YOu really really think that politicians should never have the opportunity of speaking frankly to each other in the knowledge that what they say will go no further than the room they're sitting in? Remarkable, just remarkable.


Why it is not acceptable in public life ? Well the answer in in the question, PUBLIC life. Also you seem to confuse privacy with transparency.
Nobody is asking politicians to live every minute of their lives in the public domain and every one of their conversation trasncripted, only to make clear what topics are discussed with influential third parties and what are the outcome of these exchanges.
Bruce Hooker - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

Are trade union representatives invited to these meetings or only the employers, bankers and such like?
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> In a democratic society you get to elect the government that the majority of the electorate believe will operate in the best interests of the electorate. Anything more democratic than that and you'd have to have a public referendum on every single issue.


That is not the way it works, you elect a parliament, whith a governement who puts policies in front of the parliament. How can the parliament then debate a policy if they don't know how it was created and why, and which private interests it might benefit (or harm) ?

Or maybe you believe that democracy is simply electing a governement who then simply does what it wants whithout any accountability.
Eric9Points - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
> [...]
>
>
> Why it is not acceptable in public life ? Well the answer in in the question, PUBLIC life.

That's not an answer.

> Also you seem to confuse privacy with transparency.

Go on then enlighten me.

> Nobody is asking politicians to live every minute of their lives in the public domain and every one of their conversation trasncripted, only to make clear what topics are discussed with influential third parties and what are the outcome of these exchanges.

Really? That seemed to be what you were originally suggesting but if you've modified your position then fine. Personally I don't see why it would be useful in any way to report for example, "The group discussed the situation in Syria,wide number of opinions were expressed and no consensus was asked for or arrived at." Even such a statement of course could cause trouble some of those attending.

Do you also think that the subject and conclusion of all phone calls and emails between such people should be a matter of public record?
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
, only to make clear what topics are discussed with influential third parties

Well *any* third party will be influential, from childhood onwards. You are basically asking for all conversations and interactions politician have to be made public, which is absurd. As above, do you want your meeting with and MP to be recorded and publicised? If so, they fine, that's your opinion, but I don't think you will find much support from others.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Blizzard)
>
> Are trade union representatives invited to these meetings or only the employers, bankers and such like?

The list of attendees is available on the Bilderberg Group website.
woolsack - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Blizzard: That Buildabear is bloody expensive
Eric9Points - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
>
> That is not the way it works, you elect a parliament, whith a governement who puts policies in front of the parliament. How can the parliament then debate a policy if they don't know how it was created and why, and which private interests it might benefit (or harm) ?
>

Parliament doesn't debate policy, it debates and votes on legislation. That legislation is scrutinised by committees as it passes through the legislative process and at that point the committees can summon politicians or other experts in their fields to answer questions they may have. This is a matter of public record. In fact it's even on TV which can come in handy if you're suffering from insomnia.

> Or maybe you believe that democracy is simply electing a governement who then simply does what it wants whithout any accountability.

If you gave that a minute's thought you'd see that in a democracy your accusation makes little sense.
GrahamD - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:

People really don't want their politicians to tell them the truth. They really don't want to hear, for instance: "what is the point of us asking you about Europe because the only research you have done on the subject is to read the Sun". The truth is not always palatable.

Any meeting that helps people of influence properly understand the motivations of other people of influence is fine by me. If suggested policy changes come from these meetings those ideas still have to go through the parlimentary democratic process.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> That's not an answer.
>
> [...]
>
> Go on then enlighten me.
>
> [...]
>
> Really? That seemed to be what you were originally suggesting but if you've modified your position then fine. Personally I don't see why it would be useful in any way to report for example, "The group discussed the situation in Syria,wide number of opinions were expressed and no consensus was asked for or arrived at." Even such a statement of course could cause trouble some of those attending.

Where did I say that everything should be transcripted ?

> Do you also think that the subject and conclusion of all phone calls and emails between such people should be a matter of public record?

Making them public would be against privacy and data protection laws and would not add anything.
But I believe that professional emails and phone call of high profile politicians in power should be logged for later retrieval by a judge if there is any suspicion of wrongdoing.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
>
> People really don't want their politicians to tell them the truth. They really don't want to hear, for instance: "what is the point of us asking you about Europe because the only research you have done on the subject is to read the Sun". The truth is not always palatable.
>

Some people may not want to hear the truth but I do. That's maybe because I don't read the Sun (except the occasional glance to page 3 ;-).

Maybe you believe that this country is populated with idiots reading only the daily mail and the Sun and not able of any kind of critical thinking, but I don't think it's true. And even if was, then telling the public only what they want to hear is then just keeping them ignorant.
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
Rather than this silly discussion about banning any private conversations between politician and constituents, where would people draw the line between desirable contact and undesirable lobbying. I think most people accept Murdoch had (has?) too much private influence and paid lobbying can go too far, but is there a clear way of distinguishing "good" from "bad"?
GrahamD - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:

> Maybe you believe that this country is populated with idiots reading only the daily mail and the Sun and not able of any kind of critical thinking, but I don't think it's true. And even if was, then telling the public only what they want to hear is then just keeping them ignorant.

I believe that the country is populated by people who simply do not have the skill or training to interpret complex data - for that interpretation, they usually turn to the press (who's agenda and qualifications to make the interpretations on our behalf isn't democratically accountable).

Its damned if you do, damned if you don't. Give out some statistal data on, say, the safety of eggs or the availability of petrol and the country goes into panic because people a) do not understand statistics at all and b) immediately act on the information received to maximise their self interest which, overall, is damaging to everyone. Game theory is also something the public don't generally understand.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:
> Rather than this silly discussion about banning any private conversations between politician and constituents, where would people draw the line between desirable contact and undesirable lobbying. I think most people accept Murdoch had (has?) too much private influence and paid lobbying can go too far, but is there a clear way of distinguishing "good" from "bad"?

Where to draw the line, it's a difficult question, and it would always stay blurry in practice, are meetings like Bilderberg the type of thing (amongst others) that should be considered over the line ? I guess it should be up to the public to decide. In the meantime we are still waiting for a proper anti lobbying legislation.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
>
> [...]
>
> I believe that the country is populated by people who simply do not have the skill or training to interpret complex data - for that interpretation, they usually turn to the press (who's agenda and qualifications to make the interpretations on our behalf isn't democratically accountable).
>

Then you should probably educate them and inform them, adn ahave a proper education system that produces citizens capable of making sense of the world around them.
Also I don't beleive that our polictican have better abilties than anyone else when it comes to interpeting complex data, even if they do they seem to pay more attention to the opinion polls anyways.
For example on the latest polciies regarding EU immigration, all the univeristy research shows clearly that EU migrants are net contributor to the tax system by a large amount, and less likely to be on benefits than the rest of the population. Still the governement is now trying to curb EU immigration because it pleases the backbenchers and part of their electorate.

Won't you prefer that they tell the public the truth, despite the risk for their career and their party ?

Wiley Coyote - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> For example on the latest polciies regarding EU immigration, all the univeristy research shows clearly that EU migrants are net contributor to the tax system by a large amount, and less likely to be on benefits than the rest of the population. Still the governement is now trying to curb EU immigration because it pleases the backbenchers and part of their electorate.
>
> Won't you prefer that they tell the public the truth, despite the risk for their career and their party ?


Sounds like you have shot down your own argument. From what you say the truth is known but the public prefer to ignore it.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
>
> Sounds like you have shot down your own argument. From what you say the truth is known but the public prefer to ignore it.

I think that's a bit of a leap. I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the public are completely unaware of any university research about EU immigration. (Frankly, I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the public are completely unaware of any university research full stop.)

Many people don't have the time or inclination to engage with policy issues. It's not as if there's anything they can usefully do. I'm reasonably aware of the political landscape, but I do often why I bother. I could say a lot about a few pet topics, but there's no point in trying to take those pet topics to Government, a) because that not the way things work and b) because on the topics I'm most interested in, I'm aware of the state of play and aware of the positions taken, and nothing I say is going to change any of that. Given all that, although I might take the time to understand issues, the practical effect is exactly the same as if I were completely ignorant.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
>
> Sounds like you have shot down your own argument. From what you say the truth is known but the public prefer to ignore it.

The point is that we should encorage our poltician to be brave enough to say what they know is true (when they do) and educate the public, rather than constantly trying to save their political parties and careers, which is short termism anyways.
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut: The basic problem you've got is people are humans, not robots. No one wants the whole truth all of the time, pretending otherwise won't get you anywhere. Part of what politicians do is lead, inspire, protect etc. all of which require them to be careful and selective about what they say and how they say it. It also requires them to sometimes say things in private and hold confidential discussions and meetings.
ads.ukclimbing.com
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut: So rather than Churchill's inspiring speeches you think "We will probably lose here, we are outgunned, out numbered and politically isolated. However, we don't have much choice so we should fight as well as we can." would have done the trick better?
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> I think that's a bit of a leap. I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the public are completely unaware of any university research about EU immigration. (Frankly, I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the public are completely unaware of any university research full stop.)
>
> Many people don't have the time or inclination to engage with policy issues. It's not as if there's anything they can usefully do. I'm reasonably aware of the political landscape, but I do often why I bother. I could say a lot about a few pet topics, but there's no point in trying to take those pet topics to Government, a) because that not the way things work and b) because on the topics I'm most interested in, I'm aware of the state of play and aware of the positions taken, and nothing I say is going to change any of that. Given all that, although I might take the time to understand issues, the practical effect is exactly the same as if I were completely ignorant.

I agree with you that many people don't engage with policy issues, but if our politicians keep telling us only what we, ignorant sheep, want to hear, just to keep our votes, it's not going to get any better.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to romainbossut) So rather than Churchill's inspiring speeches you think "We will probably lose here, we are outgunned, out numbered and politically isolated. However, we don't have much choice so we should fight as well as we can." would have done the trick better?

Churchill's time is far behind, we live in a connected society where information about the world is increasingly available everywhere to everyone, but our politicial system is lagging behind and still works on outdated concepts.

I think it is still possible to have charismatic leaders, and a more open governement at the same time.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> I agree with you that many people don't engage with policy issues, but if our politicians keep telling us only what we, ignorant sheep, want to hear, just to keep our votes, it's not going to get any better.

Only if Government politicians are your only source of information. Fortunately, we have Opposition parties, a relatively free press, and assorted alternative pressure groups to raise issues and challenge the Government and to inform that part of the population which wants to be informed.
MG - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Churchill's time is far behind, we live in a connected society where information about the world is increasingly available everywhere to everyone,

So what?

but our politicial system is lagging behind and still works on outdated concepts.
>

You reckon Obama would have been a better leader if had not gone for inspiring rhetoric but instead in 2008 had explained how 10 years of economic hardship lay ahead and that neither he nor anyone else could do much about it? If so I think you are deluded and don't understand human nature. Many people knew the truth but that isn't what they want to hear necessarily from a political leader - they sometimes want inspiration, optimism and vision.
Wiley Coyote - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> I think that's a bit of a leap. >
> Many people don't have the time or inclination to engage with policy issues. It's not as if there's anything they can usefully do.

Don't know? Don't care? In the end I think it amounts to the same thing. I think one of the biggest mistakes people who are interested in politics and all the various 'isms' make is that they think the rest of us care (or that if we don't we should somehow be educated into caring) but the truth is most of us have more important things to do.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Don't know? Don't care? In the end I think it amounts to the same thing. I think one of the biggest mistakes people who are interested in politics and all the various 'isms' make is that they think the rest of us care (or that if we don't we should somehow be educated into caring) but the truth is most of us have more important things to do.

Quite agree.
Wiley Coyote - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> Quite agree.

Well that's b*ggered it! :-)

RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to romainbossut)
> [...]
>
> So what?
>
> but our politicial system is lagging behind and still works on outdated concepts.
> [...]
>
> You reckon Obama would have been a better leader if had not gone for inspiring rhetoric but instead in 2008 had explained how 10 years of economic hardship lay ahead and that neither he nor anyone else could do much about it? If so I think you are deluded and don't understand human nature. Many people knew the truth but that isn't what they want to hear necessarily from a political leader - they sometimes want inspiration, optimism and vision.

Inspiration, optimism and vision are not incompatible with being open with the public.

Also if Obama had said that everything would be fine and there will be no pain due to the crisis, he would have been laughed at. And I recall him saying many times that there would be tough times ahead : http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2011/06/obama-we-still-face-some-tough-times/1#...

You are the on who is deluded about human nature, you think people are more stupid than they are and incapable of analytical and critical thinking.

Also when you speak about inspiration, optimism and vision, I really don't see any of it in the current governement nor the previous one or even the one before anyways.
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Don't know? Don't care? In the end I think it amounts to the same thing. I think one of the biggest mistakes people who are interested in politics and all the various 'isms' make is that they think the rest of us care (or that if we don't we should somehow be educated into caring) but the truth is most of us have more important things to do.

Everybody has the right to not care about the world and to have no interest in the way it is run a, but it's frankly a bit of a selfish and lazy option im my opinion.

tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> Everybody has the right to not care about the world and to have no interest in the way it is run a, but it's frankly a bit of a selfish and lazy option im my opinion.

So, as someone who obviously cares about what's going on, what practical measures do you take to make your views known to members of Government, and what effects have those measures had?
Wiley Coyote - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> Everybody has the right to not care but it's frankly a bit of a selfish and lazy option im my opinion.

I don't think they care about that either
RomTheBear - on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to tony: At an individual level nobody can do much, but for example I am involved with MRN, which enables migrants and migrant support groups to engage with key policymakers, as it is a topic I know and care about. Thanks to research done and awareness raised by MRN, the governement will comission and independant review of the effect of the latest family reunion legislation on children.

It does give me some hope that when people get together and care about something they can have a positive effect on policy making, even if minimal.

We shouldn't be resigned to simply vote for the most pleasing leaders once in a while and then let them enact stupid policies just to protect their parties or to be re-elected.

One thing I know for sure: doing nothing and not caring achieves absolutely nothing.
tony on 12 Jun 2013
In reply to romainbossut:
> (In reply to tony) At an individual level nobody can do much, but for example I am involved with MRN, which enables migrants and migrant support groups to engage with key policymakers, as it is a topic I know and care about. Thanks to research done and awareness raised by MRN, the governement will comission and independant review of the effect of the latest family reunion legislation on children.
>
Which is all good, but it's awfully naive to think that everyone has the same motivations.
>
> One thing I know for sure: doing nothing and not caring achieves absolutely nothing.

That's obviously true, but it's also the case that being informed doesn't achieve much on its own, and many people have enough other things going on in their life to deal with anything beyond their own immediate circumstances.


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