Cantillon: Rich to gather once again for Bilderberg conference

Michael Noonan and Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary among those attending meeting

former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger is among those who will attend this year’s Bilderberg conference. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger is among those who will attend this year’s Bilderberg conference. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

 

It will be chaired by a French count who spends his weekends in a castle, there will be no minutes, no press conference and no momentous announcements.

Yes, you’ve guessed right, it’s this year’s Bilderberg conference, where the great and the good gather behind closed doors for four days’ chin stroking.

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, and Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary will attend this year’s meeting, running until Sunday in Dresden, Germany, where participants will discuss issues such as Europe, China, migration, technology, and the precariat and middle class.

The other 124 attendees include former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Axa chief executive Henrie de Castries (the castle-owning conference chair), the IMF’s Christine Lagarde, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan and so on.

In short, it’s a behind-closed-doors gathering of rich people. So not surprisingly it has inspired a raft of conspiracy theories and bizarre claims, including that it is run by lizards, which, somewhat disappointingly, is not true.

The conference invited Bill Clinton in 1991, before he was elected US president, and Tony Blair in 1993, four years before he became British prime minister, fuelling suspicions that it had somehow engineered their ascent. The organisers claimed in response that they had a knack for spotting talent.

Bilderberg aims to “foster dialogue” between the US and Europe. That, and the whatever-you’re-having-yourself nature of the agenda, tells you that it is simply an expensive talking shop. Given that virtually all the participants regularly share their views on these and many other issues with the rest of of us, it’s highly unlikely that we are missing anything by being locked out.