Spiked has a wonderful Bono put down.
Alongside the eight most industrialised nations on Earth who make up the ‘Group of Eight’ – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US, who between them represent around 65 per cent of the world economy – there was a ninth stately presence at Heiligendamm. It didn’t actually sit at the summit itself, but it did have ‘numerous sources at the negotiating table’, to such an extent that it felt like ‘we have the place bugged, because everybody tells us [what is going on]’, said the ninth power. It also held meetings with most of the world leaders, and severely chastised those who refused to meet it. When Canadian PM Stephen Harper said he was too busy to meet with the ninth power he was accused of ‘blocking progress’. ‘Canada has become a laggard’, the ninth power declared. It also passed judgement on the proceedings: its ‘satisfaction’, ‘relief’, ‘fury’ or ‘disappointment’ with the G8’s decisions hogged the newspaper headlines during the three-day summit (3). It effectively played the role of a second chamber to the G8, keeping a Lord-like watchful eye on what the Group of Eight Commoners came up with.
Who or what was this stately presence at Heiligendamm? It wasn’t a state at all, or even a pseudo-state like the Vatican. It was one Paul Hewson, better known as Bono.