Talks. Only politicians and diplomats can have Talks. Everyone else has conversations, chats, arguments, gossips, you name it, they do it. But they never Talk, oh no.
There are other things that politicians and diplomats do that involves talking, but they’re not Talks. Conferences are where they talk to their people and their people can stand up and clap and go “Bravo, you’re a stand up guy!”. Summits1 are where all the leaders get together in a locked room, drink brandy, tell knock-knock jokes and make fun of the President of Guatemala whose wig isn’t on straight. Meetings are where they get together their closest people and decide who gets to go on Paxman and draw straws to see who gets fired for this weeks balls-up.
Talks are where they get everyone in a big round room and sit them round a big round table with headphones on while all their minions run about in the background carrying bits of paper from one the President of Uzbekistan to the Prime Minister of Kenya asking “Have you got a mint?”.
One by one, they all get up in front of a microphone and;
1/ If they’re from South-somewhere-or-other, they make loud, angry statements about the First World bastards and all their evil doings,
2/ If they’re from East-somewhere-else, they make cryptic, veiled threats about the intrusion of the First World gaijin bastards into their back-yard nuclear programmes, because they didn’t sign any non-proliferation treaty and, besides, you guys don’t hold to your agreements anyway, so why should we? Hello, Kyoto? The UN?,
3/ If they’re from Middle-somewhere, they decry the validity of the talks, their infidel First World bastard hosts and their oil-grabbing-poorly-disguised-as-nation-building foreign policy,
3/ If they’re First World bastards, they roll their eyes and make placating statements about striving for peace and protecting their way of life.
All this is then relayed, via interpreters, into the headphones of all the people who don’t speak Kreplakistani. Basically, the single Kreplakistani interpreter could say anything he likes because no-one can call him on it. That’s why, when Talks are televised, the people with the headphones on are all smiling while the guy with the microphone is all red and shouty; the interpreter is telling them the joke he heard from the Kreplakistani ambassador about the Swedish flight attendant and the ping pong ball.
So they all come out much later on and are collared by reporters who ask how the Talks are going, to which they reply that progress is being made and that it’s a difficult process. “Progress” means that each hour they sit there is an hour nearer the end of the talks and “Difficult” means that each hour they sit there is another hour they won’t get back.
Then they all climb into black S-class Mercedes and are ferried back to their embassies, official residences or high-class knocking shops around the corner where the South-somewhere and East-somewhere types can get their freak on. What goes on tour, stays on tour.
At the end of it all, nothing is resolved, everyones prejudicies have been confirmed, thousands of litres of Evian have been quaffed, many knock-knock jokes told, many S-classes soiled by twice, maybe three times as many oiled-up escort girls, opinions have been voiced, grievances aired, canapes scoffed, hands shaken, toupees glued and hotels secured.
Everyone goes back to their stomping ground and, having wined, dined and soixante-neufed anthing that wasn’t nailed down while away, they then proceed to pee on the media fires that their absence has generated.
Who’d be a politiplomat, eh?
1 Why are these never held on top of mountains?