Oh how we wish it would be otherwise! What will it take?
Alan Beattie writes on the G8 in the FT:
It stretches the most elastic mind to envisage the collective wrath of Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, Bill Nighy, Kristin Davis and Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, but it descended on the heads of the Group of Eight this weekend.
The obsolescence of the G8 has long been discussed during interminable and inconclusive international gatherings. It became increasingly absurd to discuss various issues – the global economy, finance, trade, geopolitics, energy, terrorism – with the behemoths of the emerging market world absent.
One by one, those central issues migrated to the G20. Paradoxically, given its composition, the G8 responded by focusing on development issues affecting the poorest countries.
The G8’s relationship with aid recipients in the developing world is that of a dysfunctional and abusive spouse. It promises good behaviour, reneges and then vows to be better next time.
…the returns to be gained from cajoling and criticising the G8 were increasingly questionable. Intensive lobbying by development advocates and celebrity campaigners extracted plenty of promises but not commitments that reliably bound group members.
At least Alan fulfilled his pre-meeting prediction that he would be able to use the words “interminable and inconclusive” once again in a G8 story, not to mention coming close to his fantasy G8 column that we featured on this blog before the meeting.