ChinaDialogue’s Isabel Hilton on how to make a critical situation desperate:
Step 1: Take the most ambitious and important world summit ever, invite the press, global civil society, advisors, security men and women, activists, nuns, monks, philosophers and scientists, put them in a conference centre that can only accommodate one-third of them
Step 2: Tell the NGOs that only three out of their list of up to 50 registered participants will be able to get in, and that to do so they need not one, but two passes. Make several thousand of them re-register. Then close the registration over the busiest weekend on Saturday afternoon; take the whole of Sunday off, so none of the new arrivals can register.
Step 3: If you have followed steps 1 and 2 above, you should have a situation of maximum confusion and enormous queues by early Monday morning. If, however, insufficient chaos has been caused, try this: restrict access to the site to one narrow gate through which everyone – registered, unregistered and those requiring re-registration need to pass. Ensure they are thoroughly mixed up, so that even those with valid passes cannot get in because they cannot reach the gate.
That works. At least it worked so well this morning that everyone, from Rajendra Pachauri to a contingent of Turkish negotiators were stranded along with everyone else.
Though in fairness to the Danes, not sure how many conference centres there are can easily hold 40,000 people. Now if they used a stadium, on the other hand… presto! Every NGO can be in the plenary!