January 30th, 2009
12:38 PM GMT
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DAVOS, Switzerland – Let me start by saying sorry. There is no way to get through this blog without a dose of shameless namedropping. How else can I tell you what the great and good have been telling me?

When Richard met Tony... sort of...
When Richard met Tony... sort of...

For instance, this morning it was a short coffee bar chat with HRH Prince Andrew on British industry and how it's weathering the recession. Prince Andrew told me he is spending a lot of time in the UK talking to industry. As Special Representative for UK Trade he can act as a link between all sides in the economy. I will press on this in my Friday interview with him which you can see on tonight's  show. Then there was a quiet talk with James Hogan, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi airline Etihad about his plans for his new A380s.

Sometimes these "meetings" are mere nods in corridors (for instance with the Russian deputy prime minister), other times they are full-frontal interviews such as discussing the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

There is something about being in Davos that lets leaders become more reflective and often expansive. Trevor Manuel, finance minister of South Africa, for instance, talked to me about whether he will remain FM after the election (yes, if asked, but not forever was his answer).

Often these meetings are nothing more than "bragging rights."

"Oh yes, I saw Tony Blair," I will tell friends, conveniently leaving out the fact Blair was being rushed to the front of a security line; I was standing near the back... we brushed shoulders. But - hey - I "met" him.



soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Christopher

    Richard,

    I know exactly what you're talking about. Was an External Staff member at WEF a few years ago... I remember "bragging" to my friends during the US Presidential Elections which of the candidates I met in the Kongresszentrum-bathroom.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  2. Leslie Davis

    I write this from a position of secure employment and from the great country of New Zealand. After much of the Davos coverage were there is the continual reference to the phrase "everyone is hurting", perhaps it would have been better for the world financial wiz kids to meet in an unemployed families cold kitchen rather than a luxury ski resort.

    Over-all, world finance seems to be based on fear and greed. Historical context may change, but alas humanity does not.

    Good luck to all.

    January 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  3. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Good on you, Mr Q. Name-drop away. I went to school and uni with the daughters of Names. I met a few of the Names through their kids. If one can name-drop, the only way to do it, is shamelessly! ;-)

    As for your point about the cold kitchens, Leslie Davis, as a disabled person, living on a sum of money, per annum, that is less than half of what those financiers paid, merely to be delegates at Davos, I couldn't agree more!

    (I'm a riches-to-rags story... and though money does not buy happiness, the absence of money brings a fair bit of misery.)

    February 25, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  4. griffith

    hi Richard,

    tell me, what does America have to sell to the world at an affordable price?

    griffith from Nigeria

    March 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  5. griffith

    hi Richard,

    What would happen if all americans agree to spend $100 a day for a week, will it affect the economy?

    Griffith from Nigeria

    March 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm |

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