“We can no longer ignore the issue of lobbying” said Conservative leader David Cameron, while campaigning in 2010. He described lobbying as “the next big scandal waiting to happen.” According to Cameron:
It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far too cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.

What David Cameron (Bilderberg attendee 2013) has described here is the problem at the heart of the annual conference. A “far too cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money” and with zero press oversight. Elected public servants and policy makers meeting, for an intense 3 day summit, in absolute privacy, with a large number of extremely senior and influential financiers, bankers and industry moguls, with no statements made, and only the very barest information released by the organizers (an outline of the agenda topics, and an incomplete list of participants).

The answer? In the words of Bono:

Transparency is the best vaccine against corruption.

In 2010, the newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, declared: “We have already begun to implement the most radical transparency agenda the country has ever seen.” Earlier that year, David Cameron was crystal clear as to his party’s intent:

He said he wanted to shine “the light of transparency” on lobbying so that politics “comes clean about who is buying power and influence.” (Daily Telegraph, 8/2/10)

And perhaps nowhere is there a greater concentration of “power and influence” than at the annual 3 day Bilderberg conference.

Cross-party issue

It should be noted, the previous government was every bit as pro-transparency as the current coalition. While Minister of State for Justice, back in 2009, the Labour MP Michael Wills declared: “This Government are fundamentally committed to transparency.”

As David Cameron said, lobbying is “an issue that crosses party lines”. Bilderberg, from the very first, has been a policy forming body that involves members from across the political spectrum. These days, for example, Ken Clarke MP (Conservative, Bilderberg Steering Committee member) will rub shoulders with Lord Mandelson (Labour). And transparency, like lobbying, is not about party allegiance.

Transparency International

The good news is that within Bilderberg itself, there are participants openly committed to the cause of transparency. For example, on the Bilderberg Steering Committee is Jessica T. Mathews, who sits on the Advisory Council of Transparency International. Also on the Advisory Committee of Transparency International is Bildergberg attendee Pascal Lamy (Director-General of the World Trade Organization).

And on the Advisory Council of Transparency International’s USA chapter is James D. Wolfensohn, Bilderberg attendee and former President of the World Bank.

It is hoped that these participants – alongside champions of transparency like David Cameron and George Osborne – have been, and will be, lobbying from within Bilderberg itself for a new era of openness and accountability.

Transparency: “the best way”

A final word to the former Chief Executive of BP, Lord John Browne [Bilderberg 2004], writing in 2012: “Transparency is the best way to overcome the ‘resource curse’ faced by too many of the world’s people.” He added: “In my experience, it is rare for a company to lose business by being too transparent.”


a guide to the international trade and policy summit