“The English the English the English are best, I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest”. It seems that the spirit of Flanders and Swann's 'Song of Patriotic Prejudice' took possession of David Cameron during the G20 meeting in St Petersburg last week. It is a pity he was not capable of sharing its tongue-in-cheek take on national braggadocio.
I have just reread an article I wrote for Ekklesia from last year’s G20 in Cannes, and while I sit here in the evening sun in Los Cabos with world leaders just a few miles away tucking into their Summit working dinner, I feel angry.
Los Cabos is hot and rammed full of federal police and offshore gunships and the military atop armoured vehicles. Late last night, when the US President touched down in the local airport, the town was awash with sirens and helicopters and outriders.
Across an area the size of an airport, large hangar-like buildings house plenary spaces, meeting rooms, press galleries, food courts, offices and exhibition spaces; Rio+20 is huge. 50,000 people have come. It’s the biggest UN conference ever, and expectations are running high.