Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, writes about his new documentary for BBC Radio 4 on international summits.
“I spent ten years as Tony Blair’s chief of staff enduring EU, NATO, G8, Commonwealth and other summits and watched their proliferation in my thirty years in public service from occasional special events to a monthly routine in the case of the EU. Leaders now almost see more of their European colleagues than they do of their cabinet colleagues or even their families.“This programme asks whether summits have got out of hand. Will they be replaced by conference calls or Skype? I asked foreign secretaries from Peter Carrington and Douglas Hurd to David Miliband and Prime Ministerial aides from Charles Powell to Alastair Campbell for their views. We all agree on one point: the only thing worse than going to too many summits is not being invited to the crucial summit where decisions affecting your country are made.”
The documentary, Summit Fever, can be listened to via the BBC’s website – here – or listened to again (including by international listeners) when it is re-broadcast on Sunday 3 June at 17.00 BST.