Archie Bland: Big match highlights how goals must be uppermost

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

It's been a pretty big few days for world leaders. First the G8 grappled with the economic crisis, then we had the Nato summit on Afghanistan; these are talks of the utmost importance.

Maybe, then, it's a little odd that the most memorable image to be produced from the talks was not of sober politicians in statesmanlike negotiation, but of the great and the good getting overexcited by a game of football.

Now, I am in no position to mock anyone for getting overexcited about a game of football. Nor do I begrudge those charged with such awesome responsibilities a little downtime. All the same, though, there was something incongruous about the image. For one thing, the composition was weirdly reminiscent of those shots of Obama and his team watching the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden and it's obscurely unsettling to think of a football match and an assassination mission being beamed to our prime ministers and presidents in the same way.

For another, this was a conference mostly aimed at alleviating an economic crisis that has already shaded into the catastrophic. A bit like the Tories who were advised to avoid holding glasses of champagne not long after beginning to enact their programme of cuts, you would think those that featured would want to do anything necessary to avoid appearing complacent about the task at hand.

Still, it's a charming picture. And after all, you might add, this is all just window dressing: PR doesn't take precedence over substance when they get down to the real business at hand, and that's surely the main thing. Which would be a fair point – if it weren't for the fact that actually, as ever, the public narrative of these events has done a stout job of undermining the business at hand in ways that might strike the unschooled observer as straightforwardly petty. On Monday, President Obama exerted his authority over his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari by declining to hold a formal meeting – but he finely tuned the snub by agreeing to briefly bump into Zardari on the way to another discussion and being sure to be photographed while doing so.

This is delicious posturing, to be sure, worthy of any sixth form. But it's hard to see exactly how it will help Nato forces in Afghanistan to negotiate the reopening of vital supply lines that run through Pakistan.

Such summits are always brimful of ridiculous collisions of etiquette and underhand insult and none of it does anyone any good. Mr Zardari and his colleagues might well reflect: open government is all very well, but sometimes the sausage-making – and the football-watching – is best done behind closed doors.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

Solar Business Development Manager – M&A

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Lead IOs Andriod Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Applic...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Voices in Danger: The innocent journalist kidnapped by Russian separatists for 'spying'

Anne Mortensen
A Bengal tiger captured by a camera trap in Nepal  

Save the tiger: The success of the Bengal tiger in Nepal shows you can make a difference

Harvey Day
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried