Some of the world's most influential political and business figures will be descending on Watford this week for Bilderberg 2013, an annual conference that famously keeps what is discussed amongst its members a secret from the general public. Despite being labelled as a private event among the world's elite, comedy writer and regular Bilderberg follower Charlie Skelton says he expects this year's conference to attract more attention than ever.
Being held this year behind the doors of the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, he tells IBTimes UK, "I'm expecting quite a large number of people to be coming along to Watford to see it". Pressure from journalists and activists mean that for the first time in its 59-year history there will be an unofficial press office to deal with inquisitive journalists, angry protesters and paranoid conspiracy theorists expected to flock to the event.
Skelton has been covering the group's annual meeting for The Guardian for the past five years. He notes that the first time he tried during the 2009 conference in Athens was, "A baptism of fire," adding that he spent most of the week, "Being chased around Athens by the Greek secret police".
The chancellor George Osborne, Ed Balls and Kenneth Clarke are all set to attend the conference in their official capacity as ministers of state, a fact that Skelton believes is both hypocritical and highly suspect.
"It doesn't exactly sit well with this new era of transparency which George Osborne has been keen to trumpet," he notes.
"I think that there's a lot of concern amongst the general public about the way this conference comports itself."