David Usborne: Choppy waters ahead in world of Realpolitik

Share
Related Topics

Is Canada hoping to preen this weekend as it plays host first to the G8 today and from tomorrow night the G20 summit? All countries would – Britain basked aplenty last year when the circus came to London – which is why little has been spared in preparing for the two gatherings. So no one had better grumble.

Actually the sniping had begun even before Britain's newcomer to the party, David Cameron, fussed about "grand talking shops". Already irked are many Canadians. Their government, otherwise engaged – like almost everyone here – in tackling a budget deficit, has spent $1.2bn on the twin events.

It hasn't helped, perhaps, that two different venues had to be readied. Leaders of the G8 will head this morning to a rustic resort two-and-a-half hours north of Toronto, recently encircled by a costly steel fence to keep would-be intruders out. But then tomorrow the larger G20 affair will kick off in downtown Toronto, which already resembles something close to a military fortress. That organisers have perhaps erred on the side of extravagance can be witnessed inside the convention centre in Toronto that is serving as the international media hall for both meetings. Since few reporters will make it to the resort up north which graces a particularly scenic lake, someone saw fit to build a fake lake inside the press room replete with stacks of colourful canoes. To lift our spirits.

Another blunder – the fake lake has provoked particular ire, not least because the media centre is just yards from the very real Lake Ontario – was the decision to refurbish a steamboat at the resort for the benefit of the leaders. Sadly, it will not be ready to go back in the water until the end of the summer.

Making matters worse, of course, is the disruption to daily life in Toronto that began yesterday with a complete traffic freeze as Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, arrived accompanied by the required mile-long caravan of support vehicles. (Mr Cameron, in the spirit of his hair-shirt admonitions, will presumably cycle prudishly into town from Pearson International Airport on a push-bike.)

Everyone's mood will improve when the talking begins and each of the two summits concludes in triumphant unity. Though even that may not go according to plan, with reasons aplenty to fear that the consensus that was forged at the last two summits on combating the world recession has crumbled. The United States, for example, is not disguising its concern that Europe – Britain included – is risking a return to recession by forgoing policies of fiscal stimulus in favour of frantic budget deficit reduction.

Germany was already on the defensive last night. "Germany has done much more to revive the global economy than most other nations," Chancellor Angela Merkel told a radio station while her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, tacked against the US by stating that "governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand".

With no wind beyond the faint whirr of air conditioning, the lake in the press room is serene and tranquil. In the real world of these two summits things were already quite choppy.

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

I saw the immigration lies a mile off - and now nobody can deny it

Nigel Farage
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game