In Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures with Extremists, at some considerable personal risk to himself, he infiltrates groups of radicals who wilfully occupy the fringes of society.  Through them and their mythologies, the ‘Bilderberg Group’ repeatedly emerges as a noxious all-powerful cartel that seeks to reorder the world and yet is ignored by the global press.  Building to a climax, Ronson manages to penetrate (rather easily it must be said) a Bilderberg meeting, seeing the likes of George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Peter Mandelson and John Major (yes, John Major) engaging in a spirit of hedonism, even to the degree of lewd and outrageous ways.  He concluded that Bilderberg was a giant ‘frat party’ for the rich and powerful but far from sinister.

Nevertheless, detractors slam it as unaccountable and it always draws protesters who are convinced of its wicked and furtive ways, while supporters claim it fosters international dialogue impossible in other formats.  Two years ago, it was held in Watford in the UK, last year in Copenhagen, 2015 finds it in the sleepy setting of Telfs-Buchen, Austria.  Founded in 1954 at the Dutch Hotel de Bilderberg, those deemed ‘movers and shakers’ are invited on an annual basis to a Shangri-La location close to a NATO airbase (to intercept airborne ‘hostiles’ and in place long before 9/11).  George Osborne will be there as in previous editions as will Ed Balls – despite losing his parliamentary seat, he is still considered influential, though he may be rubbing shoulders in creased jackets with those on City trading floors who cheered his defeat.

The Bilderberg official website bizarrely includes a press release which is designated by the editor as, ‘not for publication’, being the exact opposite of all other press releases which are crying out for publicity or at least a mention.  Secrecy in plain view is Bilderberg’s key motif, although they may not be flocking to a city centre again soon after Copenhagen last year.

The Guardian is one of those who regularly thumbs its nose at such glowering disapproval of coverage (in the interests of transparency, of course), not surprising given that Ronson is a regular contributor to their pages.  The Daily Telegraph also is not afraid to poke fun at attendees, both those inside and the conspiracy theorists outside.  The BBC is not afraid to cover the event despite (or even because of) the presence of , Chairman of the BBC Trust.  Indeed, Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times is one of the guests.  There is such a veritable welter of coverage at arguably the biggest open secret in the world that it is hard to find a fresh angle.

Kissinger will again be making his usual pilgrimage and one wonders at how his fellow Bilderbergers will remember him when he eventually passes away, if they will at all, like the odious revellers in The Great Gatsby.  Michael O’Leary, of Ryanair will be making his maiden trip and one shudders at the type of New World Order he would concoct, save that there would be a ream of hidden charges to which we would have to subscribe.

It’s not just businessmen and their political protégés and friends that make up the coterie – there are plenty of academics, think tank specialists and lobbyists who are all happy to dine at the table of Croesus and Anne Applebaum. The only Russian welcome is Professor of Economics Sergei Guriev, though he is something of a refugee in Paris. (Incidentally, the Bilderberg press release says that Russia is one of the items on the agenda.)  Ex-Queen Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands also fancies some of the Alpine air.

For all the fantasies surrounding Bilderberg, the reason the elite jamboree excites such feverish attention these days derives from the cult of celebrity.  The rules of celebrity entail that every aspect of their lives should be open to scrutiny.  Protesters at these parties are more annoyed that Bilderberg flouts this in a very old-fashioned manner.

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