December 12, 2003Club sandwich. Rumour has it that when the Earl of Sandwich first ordered that his lunch be placed between two pieces of bread so his cards wouldn't get greasy, he added: "I'll wager that these 'sandwiches' will be so popular that, at UN conferences, they'll be eating 22,000 of them."
How could he have known? Read on for more astonishing facts to amaze your friends... More
Just say no. In April 1986 a very fat Briton and his fellow actors from the BBC children's programme Grange Hill shot to the top of the pop music charts with the song Just Say No.
This afternoon Nick Thorne, the plump British Ambassador to the United Nations, sang a similar tune when he took to the podium at the World Summit, giving the British verdict on whether his government would be contributing to a Global Solidarity Fund (a UN body designed to build digital infrastructure in poorer countries).
Swedish massage. The Swedish delegation summed up the Western world's attitude towards funding poorer countries' digital infrastructure this morning.
When asked whether she was in favour of the Global Solidarity Fund, Astrid Dufborg said: "Perhaps we can divide this into two questions. We are in favour of solidarity: but we have another position when it comes to the fund." More
December 11, 2003As Timms goes by... The UK government's top man at the World Summit - Stephen Timms - confirmed this morning what everyone suspected was the British attitude: stand well back and hang onto your purse strings. If Britain is going to hand out any more aid to poorer nations, Mr Timms suggested at a British Council event, it will be on its own terms and not through any of those spendthrift international agencies, thank you very much.
The most telling aspect of his speech, however, was that it appeared to be based entirely on a report written by the Institute of Public Policy Research, an independent think tank. Has the British government done no thinking of its own? More
December 10, 2003UN believable. No money-guzzling bureaucrat is worth his attache case these days if he doesn't belong to an organisation with an acronym. Before you settle on yours, however, make sure it hasn't already been snaffled by someone else. Here is a handy guide to the 56 acro-fetishists attending the World Summit... More
Scrum down. All is peace and harmony in the world, or so the Swiss president seemed to think as he read out his preposterously tedious speech. (It was one of those "peace is good, war is bad" speeches for which the United Nations is renowned.)
He might have thought differently had he been at the other end of the hall, where technocrat turned against bureaucrat as a scrum formed at the entrance.
Government officials swore in a hundred different languages, with one delegate offering a clearly discernible cry of "stronzo bestiali" as he was trampled underfoot. Now that's what I call freedom of expression. Are you sitting comfortably? If you get a queasy feeling upon entering the main hall at the World Summit, it might not just be because of the childish drawings projected onto the wobbly screen at the front. The seating plan requires a degree in Kremlinology to negotiate. More
Jack Malvern @ 01:54 PM | Comment (1)Status quo rocks. America temporarily adopted a new anthem this morning as its ambassador David A. Gross reacted to the new diluted declaration of principles, upon which all negotiations at the World Summit will be based.
He sounded, to the untrained ear, like the chorus of the rock band Status Quo's Rockin' All Over the World. To paraphrase the ambassador: "I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I la-la-la like it." More
Jack Malvern @ 11:40 AM | Comment (1)
December 09, 2003Amour propre? It's not only journalists who are being treated like chewing gum on the sole of a security guard's jackboot. Lynn St Amour, president of the Internet Society (a body that plays a significant role in deciding the future of the net) was told that she could have 15 minutes of her hour long press conference because the timetable had been reorganised. Half way through her talk she was given throat-slitting signs from the back of the room telling her to stop and make way for the next press conference. Daily Summit spoke to one angry President... More
Jack Malvern @ 07:07 PM | Comment (0)Aboard the Marie Celeste. Granted, some of the meetings advertised here seem boring, but you would have thought that the speakers would turn up, at least. Not so, according to one exasperated volunteer standing outside the Labour and Information Society meeting. "Speakers haven't been turning up to about 25 per cent of the meetings," she said. "I think it's because they are having trouble getting through registration. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow."
With queues getting longer by the minute, we think this is optimistic. More
Jack Malvern @ 01:33 PM | Comment (0)
December 08, 2003Stop the press. So, we know how many people each government is sending to the World Summit, but how many of their citizens know they are going? Daily Summit has compiled a league table of journalists accredited to each country.
Does it say something about the Malaysian government's attitude to free speech that it is sending 137 government officials but not one journalist (according to offical lists)? More
Jack Malvern @ 12:27 PM | Comment (3)Bureaucrats or blaggers? How can you tell which countries are taking the World Summit seriously? (Or, at least, which countries will be taking home the most goodie bags?) Daily Summit presents its very own League of (ligging) Nations.
Malaysia comes out on top with a magnificent 137 delegates, while Cameroon, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone and East Timor share the wooden spoon with just one representative apiece.
Special mention should go to Nigeria for including a driver in their delegation, and to Samoa for sending a dancer. Finally, Gabon, for a population of 1,321,560, are sending 66 delegates - one for every 20,000 citizens! More