What on earth was with this painfully cringeworthy waving at the Seoul G20? Heavens above – this is supposed to be a summit, not a school outing. If you look closely at the big version (click on photo), you can see that the world’s leaders fall into 4 categories:
1) Those who are waving and – horror of horrors – think that the whole thing is not only acceptable, but great fun. Ban Ki-moon, Silvio Berlusconi, Herman Van Rompuy – fire your PR advisers and get new ones immediately. (Especially you, Van Rompuy – I just had to look you up on Wikipedia to confirm your first name. That’s how much impact you’ve had, that is.)
2) Those who are waving, but dying inside as they do so. Look at Hu Jintao or Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Fellas – we feel your pain, but we’re a bit alarmed that you felt the need to go with the crowd and wave anyway. Your citizens pay you to lead.
3) Those who refuse to wave, but give embarrassed rictus smiles instead. David Cameron and Jose Barroso, you get modest props for not going with the crowd. But those sheepish looks tell a different tale. You pass, but without distinction.
4) Those who not only refuse to wave, but make no secret of their amused contempt for everyone else for going along with what some duff photographer is demanding of them. Meles Zenawi, Angela Merkel, Lula da Silva, Nicolas Sarkozy – we salute you. Go set up a G4 together. You have my vote.