Inside File: Brazil's fancy footwork may all be in vain

IF NATIONS gained their global importance through their competence at international football, then Brazil should have been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council by now. It certainly thinks it should, for other reasons, but it is having trouble convincing the rest of the world. For that reason, it recently enlisted one of the world's leading international public relations consultants to help it argue its case.

The Brazilian offensive to become a global player off, as well as on, the football pitch started on the very day it won the World Cup: the Foreign Minister, Celso Luiz Nines Amorim, arrived in London on Sunday for a five-day visit. His arrival was heralded by a press pack the size of a novel manuscript; it was issued by Hill and Knowlton, one of the PR consultants who are increasingly acting on behalf of governments as well as private enterprise (the firm had a rocky experience when it was used by the Emir of Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion four years ago). The news release was headed: 'Confident Brazil calls for UN Security Council reform and greater trade liberalisation'.

The Hill and Knowlton remit, a source in the industry tells me, is to 'help promote political and press interest in the good news coming out of Brazil recently, because the Brazilian government feels there has been disproportionate emphasis on bad news, such as street kids, so far'.

Mr Amorim, who has over the years seen his country turned into an international basket-case by the avarice of Western banks, gave an upbeat speech to the Bank of England on Monday: he urged expansion of the Security Council because 'we have no doubt that a Security Council enlarged in a fair way would have more legitimacy, and would therefore be more effective in promoting peace and security'. (Not an analysis with which many existing members would agree).

When asked directly if Brazil was seeking a seat, Mr Amorim demurred (countries in the exploratory stages of seeking entry to any club tend to be coy about it). But he made the point that the developed world should not have a monopoly on the understanding of global problems (given Brazil's failure to stop the destruction of its own rain forests, many would question what its global understanding amounts to); he then proceeded to tear up what may be the only merit to Brazil's claim - that it is the most populous nation of an unrepresented continent. Seats should not be distributed, he said, on a quota basis. Mr Amorim would have to say that; the quota system would lump it in with another populous country from an unrepresented continent, Nigeria, the problems of which exceed those of his own country.

Now, the irony is that Mr Amorim's crusade plays right into the hands of those in the British Foreign Office who still wish to delay admitting the serious contenders - Germany and Japan - as permanent members (diluting the voice which Britain earned in the war amounts, in their view, to selling off the family silver). Although Britain, for economic reasons, has conceded that German and Japanese entry is ultimately inevitable, the FCO argument for spinning it out is precisely to point out that problematic nations such as Brazil and Nigeria would then also have to be admitted.

Hill and Knowlton have their work cut out for them; the Sisyphean task is reminiscent of that taken on by another PR giant, Saatchi and Saatchi, when it agreed to lobby for Turkish admission to the EC some years ago.

Ultimately, Brazil has no more convincing arguments for admission than anybody else; Mr Amorim's claim that 'the complexity and diversity of Brazil gives our diplomacy a marked capacity for dialogue with widely differing partners' could be said of any of the existing members. But he is not alone in clutching at straws in the name of national self-aggrandisement. After all, the reason given by Jacques Santer as to why his minute country should hold the presidency of the European Commission was, that 'Luxembourg produced four Holy Roman Emperors'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas