Thursday, 2 April 2009

G20 Shorts


In the sealed bubble, half world, that is the G20 summit at London’s Excel it is important to know the colour code and your ranking in it. Red is the colour of the plenary area where Ministers sit with the their “sherpas” and deputy sherpas, their close officials. Blue is the colour for the zone where the officials work drafting and where the press briefings are held.

Minty green, we kid you not, is the colour for the leaders lounge area where they go for quiet chats.

The media, all 2500 of us, are in the yellow zone, a huge draughty hanger where each country's reporters has its own section. The UK entourage is near the entrance, which is opens onto the bus garage means and the full icy blast of the Thames.

IMF funds anyone?

Is Stephen Timms MP, the mild mannered Treasury Minister the new Dennis Healey, ask the press corps?

The Treasury Minister announced the end of two eras, not often you do that in one day, at his G20 morning press briefing.

“We have moved beyond the era of stigma for accessing IMF,” he declared. By this he means that the IMF will be rebranded so that it is doesn’t cause a flight of capital when a country goes with a begging bowl for a bail out.

Does this, some mischievously speculated, open the door to the UK going cap in hand to the world’s favourite bank. Taxi to Washington for Alistair Darling?

Worse than being talked about...

Smile everyone. The most important part of these G20 conferences is the big “family photo” of all the world leaders. Yesterday they had to do it twice because Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, was taking a comfort break the first time. The really embarrassing news - it took officials two hours to notice that he wasn’t in the first photo.

A swell party

We are all a twitter this week, no thanks to Eric Joyce MP for posting his response to press inquiries on the 140 character limit social networking site. There was even a tweet, that’s a twitter update, from the G20 spouses wives dinner at Number 11 Downing Street on Wednesday night. Martha Lane Fox, the internet entrepreneur, posted on Twitter: “Not even sure how to begin 2 update what I feel at the moment, the most overwhelming and surreal night of my life.”

A dinner party with Michelle Obama, Sarah Brown, Dame Kelly Homes, Naomi Campbell, Gavin and Stacey star and writer Ruth Jones and the wives of the Turkish, Canadian and Japanese Prime Ministers could have been just that.

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