Insights from the UK and beyond
from Felix Salmon:
One of the big changes to the ecology of the Davos conference center this year, after its $37 million revamp, is that there's now a whole level at the top which is off-limits to the working press and accessible only to fully-fledged delegates with coveted white cards. There are a couple of conference rooms up there -- called Aspen 1 and Aspen 2 -- which is normally no big deal, given that the working press isn't allowed in to conference sessions anyway.
One thing which hasn't changed, however, is the way in which everybody bumps into everybody else in the conference center. Which is fine, just so long as you're not deliberately keeping a very low profile and trying to avoid the press. Like Nick Clegg, for instance, with his 7% approval rating.
And so today we have a rather hilarious double oxymoron. Nick Clegg is having a press event, where he'll be talking to Arthur Sulzberger; the email invite says that "sign-up is required as there are a limited number of seats available." That makes sense, given how everybody's wanting to talk to him right now. But then we're told that "the session is off-the-record," which is always disappointing, for a press event. And then we learn that it's in Aspen 1 -- it's been deliberately put in one of the two rooms which the working press can't get close to.
I won't be reporting from the off-the-record press event which is closed to the working press, obviously. But it'll be interesting to see how many people manage to get past the various hurdles to show up at all.
from Davos Notebook:
The Davos meeting organisers have made a huge push into social media this year. From interviews on Facebook to geo-location services using Foursquare, itβs an impressive use of social media tools to bring the closed-shop that is the WEF to the masses.
In the video clip below, Reuters correspondent and Davos veteran Ben Hirschler shares his thoughts on the impact this will have on this yearβs WEF.
If there were any questions over who is number two in British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s cabinet, Davos might have helped clear them up.
While Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling is giving the annual gathering of global big wigs a miss, business minister Lord Peter Mandelson has found the time to go.
from Davos Notebook:
London is cheaper and warmer, at least compared with Davos, says London Mayor Boris Johnson.
"The fall in the pound is of huge value to London's exports and all sterling-denominated assets. We're seeing a very impressive effect here. We take advantage of the upside and the upside is that the pound is competitive," Johnson told Reuters.