G19 (+1)

 

“Sorry! That should have read: Monsieur Sarkozy is regarded by many as a cult”

There ought to have been just the one hymn sheet because if there are several hymn sheets, we are in for a very discordant Thursday.

Barack Obama is hoping that: ” G20 countries will do what is necessary to promote trade and growth.”M le President Sarkozy wants to create a Financial Interpol to police the financial services industry. The delusional Gordon Brown’s not-so-hidden agenda is to rescue his image and somehow emerge as King of the World but he persists in spouting inane generalisations such as  “clean up of the world banking system” and “more regulation of tax havens”.

Sarkozy is right. A Global Financial Services Authority is what is needed. If there are at least 20 Financial Services Authorities and the only thing that binds them is the hope of “greater co-operation” then all that is being thrown into the heaving fiscal mix are more junkets such as this G20 and more opportunities for the financial bandits to operate between even wider cracks within the world economy.

Somehow, it has been decided that “protectionism” is bad. Perhaps Mr Brown should spend more time thinking about the United Kingdom’s issues rather than constantly trying to put alleconomic problems in  the context of the “Global Economy”. Where was the Global Economy during the years that he stood at the Dispatch Box preening and accepting the plaudits? There was little credit given to the Global Economy when the British economy was behaving itself and Brown was  self-actualised and not self-delusional . History has already demonstrated that the Iron Chancellor’s image was so frail that it could be shattered and buried by one sentence from Vince Cable.

So the modern-day equivalent of the Tribal Elders will be talking economics but they will be thinking politics. Any summit such as this G20 meeting enables the leaders to discuss world economics but always with one eye on domestic politics.

Brown is very aware  – as are all the other G20 leaders that he is a dead man walking and the long-term fallout from the current economic crisis will be managed not by Brown but by the Conservatives led by David Cameron. (Somebody had to say it!)

So is this G20 summit necessary?

Brown is a historian and knows that Chamberlain was the first Prime Minister to engage in the sport of Summitry. Churchill’s meetings with the American and Russian leaders continued this fine tradition and in the 80s, Margaret Thatcher travelled as did Tony Blair in the 90s.

Currently, the technology is in place to make Summitry an obsolete sport but large numbers of politicians sitting round huge tables  still seems to be a popular diversion. Each already knows the other’s views and the odds are that there will be more conflict than accord. For instance, M Sarkozy is being backed as the first to flounce out.

The fundamental question is ” What is the problem and how do we sort it out?”.  That approach could  be a very fundamental error. In recent years, politicians have grown into the habit of putting themselves under tremendous pressure by asking the above question and then feeling the need to produce almost instant solutions – and of course we have become conditioned to expect that approach and more crucially, so have the media.

Brown the historian should know that the real question should not be “What’s the problem?” ( the modern politician’s approach) but ” What’s the story”  (the historian’s approach),  that is to say – let’s establish 100% how we managed to get into this mess. This approach takes time but in the long term , will produce the correct solutions.

Most Governments have already shown by their random actions of the last six months that they prefer to treat the symptom and not the cause.

In this respect, Gordon Brown should learn from both John Major and Tony Blair who both understood that firstly, the story of the Northern Ireland problem needed to be understood and that the solution would then follow as a by-product of that understanding. The whole process took a very long time but as recent attempts at destabilising the situation have shown, the solution is rock-solid.

This could be a time for reflection and not necessarily the customary politician’s sprint to action.

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