June 6, 2013
The Bilderberg Group, that circumspect gathering of the western world’s great and used-to-be-great, is holding its annual conference this week in a spa hotel in Watford, a town a few miles outside London.
Watford is often overlooked among Europe’s glamour sites. This is in spite of its proximity to Pinner, Rickmansworth and the M25 motorway. But that exclusive status may at last have been secured with the choice of the Grove Hotel as the venue for the furtive meeting of Atlanticists, suspected by some conspiracy theorists of being the secret rulers of the world.
The hotel website traces its history back to 7,000BC when “early man settled on the site”. Not everyone was impressed in those early days. TripAdvisor reported that the amenities were prehistoric and the room service distinctly unfriendly.
The group itself, which takes its name from the hotel where it held its first meeting, is a cold war throwback – a gathering of dedicated Atlanticists discussing the big issues of the day. The secrecy of the event and the illustriousness of its 100-odd attendees – mainly bankers, business leaders and politicians – bolstered the paranoia about its sinister power. It is sometimes claimed that Senator John Edwards secured his spot as the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential candidate at a Bilderberg conference, although his career since is not perhaps the greatest testimony to the group’s all-encompassing power.