Ah, the Bilderberg conference. It is easy to see why the annual gathering of the global great and good – or a subset thereof – causes such conniptions among cabal-spotters and conspiracy theorists. After all, a secret meeting between business people, politicians and a smattering of academics can, surely, only be up to no good? Cue furious speculation on deals done, influence peddled and backs mutually scratched.
Except that the group is, these days, hardly as secretive as all that. The actual meetings may still be in camera, but the location (the Grove, Watford), the list of participants (illustrious) and the topics to be discussed (largely predictable) are all firmly in the public domain. All rather disappointing, then. Less “men in grey suits” than (mainly) men in (mainly) grey suits. It takes more than a restricted membership, a swish hotel and a “Do Not Disturb” sign to earn inverted commas.