War on Want and the World Development Movement mysteriously had their accreditation withdrawn by direct orders from Downing Street. Thus ‘consensus’ can be created from a narrow field of preselected options-
The government risks being seen as unbelievably petty if it has really decided only to allow non-critical civil society organisations to have access to major events such as the G20 summit. We know that Gordon Brown is keen for people to forget his role in having promoted the “light touch” version of free market capitalism, which has brought us to the current economic crisis. Yet would he really stoop to excluding people who might dare to recall this awkward fact?
More importantly, excluding critical voices means that there risks being less media coverage of what the G20 has omitted to do when it comes up with the statement to conclude its meeting. The “deal or no deal” fixation sets the summit up as a game show in which the only concern is whether all leaders can sign up to a joint communiqué. This is setting the bar almost as low as it can go.
Yet there are real issues which make the summit’s outcome of long-term importance and which are conspicuous by their absence. Who will dare to question the legitimacy of the G20, which excludes over 170 countries from the debating chamber at a time when the UN is pressing for a more inclusive process? Who will question the wisdom of giving more power and more money to the IMF, which has shown itself an abject failure in previous crises and continues to impose damaging conditions on countries which turn to it for help?