Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Top Table Latest

Ready for the Horse Lady

Every year British taxpayers shell out billions so that our preening politicos and diplobureaucrats can keep their seats at something called The Top Table.

Take the UN. Even ignoring our direct and substantial military contributions to UN mandated "peacekeeping" operations, we stump up around £700m pa for places at their Table.

What do we get for that? Yesterday we had a classic example.

Part of the package is a one month turn at chairing the Security Council (The Very Top Top Table). It's just come round, and the Horse Lady chose to use it for the Council's first ever debate on climate change.

Climate change? But surely the Security Council is supposed to spend its time addressing imminent threats to global security, not shooting the breeze about highly contested long-term eco wibble.

You'd think so wouldn't you, and the Chinese certainly agree. Their representative said:

“The developing countries believe that neither has the Security Council the professional competence in handling climate change nor is it the right decision-making place for extensive participation leading up to widely acceptable proposals.”

The Russians also agree. Vitali Churkin, Russia’s often-blunt UN Ambassador, advised Mrs Beckett to “avoid panicking and over-dramatising the situation. With regard to the UN Security Council, it should deal with consideration of questions that relate directly to its mandate.”

The trouble is of course, the Horse Lady doesn't really understand any of that stuff, whereas she does understand climate change. Well, "understand" is perhaps putting it too strongly, but at least she picked up no end of ecospeak during her days at Defra (yes, we know she made a complete Horlicks of that job too, but she must have absorbed the lingo).

In one sense of course, it doesn't matter: the UN is a spectacularly ineffective and corrupt gravy train, so you might as well spend the time wibbling about climate change. But it's still costing us £700m pa.

And when you add up the cost of all our tickets to all the various Top Tables we subscribe to, you come out with some truly eye-watering numbers. As well as the £700m to the UN, we give about £1bn pa to Wolfie's World Bank, and of course, the teeth grinding £6bn pa we hand over to the EU.

By the time you've grossed up for sundries, we must be talking close on £10bn pa.

Just so our rulers can sit at The Table without feeling awkward.

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