The G-7 Summit’s opening reception held a full house swinging into Cornwall. Hand-bagged and rose buttonholed, three generations of Windsor rose to the occasion as a complete hand. It was a good call by the Johnson tribe, understanding the power of the soft pedal to the metal. For European leaders, as well as those from Japan, Canada and the US, know full well the heart of Windsor was always for a united Europe. The Queen appeared to enjoy the evening and may hold a genuine fondness for some politicians, as she briefly strolled with the young Canadian and French charmers.
After a full on dinner at the Eden Project, Prince Charles, in an immaculately tailored grey pinstripe suit with a sweet Cecil Brunner Rose button-hole, addressed the guests saying that the battle against the pandemic provided a “crystal-clear example of the scale, and sheer speed, at which the global community can tackle crises when we combine political will with business ingenuity and public mobilization”.
For all of Boris’s splashing about at the seaside, he and careful Carrie gave the heads of the G-7 nations and their supporting cast a good weekend of work with which to go forward. This year’s assembled class of politicians all know who facilitated the rupture of Europe and the United Kingdom and the ongoing debortle. Political diplomacy walked hand in hand with shot-gun word pellets over Ireland and the bobbing borders. Climate Change, COVID vaccinations and the global economic recovery were the top topics. Global threats from Russia, China, and the Irish border were kicked about and stuffed under the table – for now. As the leaders dispersed on Sunday, how to put any of the pledges and promises into action becomes their homework.
For all Cornwall is beautiful, its charm is rustic, and so the small streets were cramped tight with huge cars and convoys. Planes and helicopters were in full flight at Falmouth. This was not a moment for coming solo and so, as the Queen was supported by her son and heirs, the political “spice”, many of whom usually stay out of the limelight, were much in evidence. And the plus of being together, often outdoors, COVID-tested, protected as possible, did make a difference to the weekend’s meetings and musings. Getting the measure of another is easier face to face and in person. Seafood, good wine, sunshine and welcoming beaches was a far different experience than when Ursula Von der Leyen and Boris Johnson last dined together in Brussels.
The Bidens left on Sunday in time for tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. The Queen has served tea for 13 of the 14 US presidents throughout her reign, and President Joe Biden must surely be a relief after the last one. They spoke of The White House, how big and full of people it is, about Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping. Now Biden has gone to Brussels to do what he can in repairing America’s relationship with NATO that was so shredded in the last four years.
On Wednesday President Joe Biden is introduced with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin. They will meet at an 18th Century Swiss Villa outside of Geneva. A picture shows blue skies over the lake behind the villa but it doesn’t take much to see grey and thunder clouds on the horizon. The meeting is expected to be “candid and straightforward”.
On Sunday evening in Tel Aviv a new coalition government of Right-wing Nationalists, the Yesh Adit Party, and others won by a single vote. Benjamin Netanyahu is out and Israel now has a new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett. He, as they do, has promised to “unite the nation” which is a pretty daunting and hopeless idea but it goes hand in hand with the other old chestnut that his government would “work for the sake of all the people”. The priorities would be reforms in education, health and cutting red tape. The promises are all so sadly familiar, the only difference is that, unlike in Belarus, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been forced out of office after 12 years. But as yet it is hard to see what the difference is once they have all dusted off their desks and changed seats. For now Benjamin Netanyahu remains the head of – the other – Right-wing Likud party.
This week Belarusian opposition blogger Roman Protasevich was brought out at a news conference in Minsk as state officials continued to deny they forced his plane to land on May 23rd. His words said one thing, that he was fine and not been beaten, but his sad clean shaven face, fresh shirt and demeanor told another. Both Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega remain in separate prisons.
Back to Westminster on Monday, Boris Johnson announced that most of the restrictions for travel and business in the UK will remain in place until July 19th. The increase of infections from the Delta Variant are rising exponentially and no-one is talking any more about the R rate. It is too high. Keeping travel to and from India open for three weeks longer that Pakistan and Bangladesh was the latest of Boris Johnson’s many mistakes throughout the pandemic. Not only can Britons not travel to amber-list countries without a ‘real reason’, European countries don’t want travelers from England. Within this little cul-de-sac we feel it personally. Mothers are waiting alone in, Germany, Bulgaria and Belgium for sons and daughters to come visit and check and care for them. While along the canals of Utrecht we have a grandson who needs to show us how well he is learning to swim.
This has been a Letter from A. Broad.
Written and read for you by Muriel Murch
First aired on Swimming Upstream – KWMR.org.
Web support by murchstudio.com