The illegitimi are carboundum again

I'm really not sure how to approach this one.

Bertie reluctantly goes to the signing of the Reform Treaty in Lisbon, knowing it makes for bad environmental PR–flying more than a thousand miles for the stroke of a pen and a photo-op–so, he buys a few carbon credits to offset the potential ecological damage.

But this carbon credit scheme is outside the scope of CDM projects and is effectively unregulated. Who knows how much he's paying whom for what?

Remember a couple of years ago, three Irish ministers flew to the Doha trade talks in Hong Kong with an entourage of twenty-one civil servants (yes, that's 21!) despite having no official role in the proceedings.

Think maybe we're finally cottoning on to the extent these wasteful freeloading junkets? Nah. Fourteen of our finest representatives are off to Bali for the climate talks.

Desperate bollixology, altogether. But what is the point of all this running/flying around? With advances in telecommuting and communications, there is simply no need for these regular face-to-face jawing sessions.

The politicos will tell you there's an informal aspect to the whole thing; that the real deals are done in the bar that evening. Well, that's not really the job they were hired for.

If I ran a factory selling pencils, I seriously doubt that I would need to have a pint in my hand before I could write an invoice or order graphite. The only reason I would need so-called 'business lunches' would be to bribe my potential customers. Is that what they're up to abroad?

'Hey, Chile, we'll buy your wine if you buy our salmon. But wait, let's both have a beer first to cloud our reason, and make us temporarily bond like a couple of sailors on shore leave.'

Yes, I know. That's probably pretty accurate. Good grief.