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Comment: Cameron should tell his Bilderberg chums to pay up
The Prime Minister and Chancellor were unconvincing last week. When pressed over why Hertfordshire’s taxpayers were being saddled with a £500,000 bill for policing the exclusive Bilderberg Conference last year, their response was essentially "lump it".
David Cameron said the force’s application failed to meet the Home Office criteria for assistance so it’ll have to pick up the tab for the policing an exclusive meeting, which, incidentally, both he and fellow millionaire Osborne attended.
Mr Osborne chipped in with the useful insight the police are there to keep order at public events.
But that might have just been him showing off his masterful grasp of the public sector.
The upshot is that a police force which has axed more than 200 officer jobs since 2010 and is planning further job losses, as well as flogging off police stations, to balance its books is shouldering an added financial burden for a private event attended by billionaires.
The argument about whether the money should come from Hertfordshire Constabulary or the Home Office budget is pointless. The matter should never have got to this point as the Bilderberg Group should have paid the whole cost.
The Bilderberg conference is not merely "an event". Its meetings are meant to be clandestine "off the record" affairs.
Since it was founded in the 1950s, Bilderberg has conducted its conferences in complete secrecy.
But in the internet age it has become a circus - as any furtive congregation of powerful politicians and plutocrats is rather noteworthy.
In recent years it has attracted growing numbers of protesters and more than 2,000 converged on Watford for the conference at The Grove Hotel last June.
The result was an extensive police operation which involved officers from forces across the country coming to Watford to manage the demonstration.
Bilderberg is not a public event and it provided no benefit to the people who are footing the bill for its security.
Last week, Mr Cameron said he was happy to look into the case of the Bilderberg policing costs.
Perhaps he could do one better and have a word with his fellow Bilderbergers to suggest that if they cannot meet the full cost of their conferences, they do not hold them in this country again.
n The release of the nomination lists has confirmed this week that the UK Independence Party is ramping up its efforts in the area.
The party will contest every ward in Watford for the first time this month.
On the other end of the spectrum, it showed candidates from the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSAC) party will be standing in six seats across Watford.
This will be the party’s first significant foray into local elections in the town.
TUSAC stood in Oxhey and Central in last year’s county elections and mustered an unimpressive 1.6 per cent of the vote.
Yet even if the smaller parties do not make a huge impact in their own right, they could influence what happens in the more tightly contested electoral battles in the town.
The emergence of fringe parties on both ends of the political spectrum could make these elections the least predictable in a long while.
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