Alan Dee: Why do our leaders always need to line up for a group shot?

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HERE’S something I find hard to fathom. The 20 most important politicians in the world gather in Cannes to chew over the various pressing problems facing our glum globe.

They wrangle and wheedle through the night in a desperate bid to prop up the euro and produce a package that will allow the good folk of Greece to avoid switching off the lights, locking the doors and handing back the keys to the bank. And that’s just one of the items on the agenda.

The world watches with bated breath as these leviathans of current affairs lock horns to defend their national interests while trying to make sure that the whole shooting match doesn’t go down the plughole.

It’s tough, it’s brutal, these people have our fate in their hands. Every minute that they can spend trying to come up with solutions to what ails us is precious.

Oh, hold everything. It’s time for the group photograph...

So everything stops while our leaders get themselves sorted out with a crisp new shirt, a pressed suit and a sober tie.

For all I know there have already been endless meetings at which aides pressed the case of their particular politico to be placed as near as possible to the big hitters and not stuck in the back row, far left.

But what I can’t grasp for the life of me is why they need to have a photograph in the first place.

I don’t know much about Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and I dare say you don’t either, but he couldn’t have reached such high office without having his snap taken a million times or more.

None of these chaps, and very occasional chappess, is casting around for a new passport picture or a shot that’s just right for updating their Facebook status.

And even if Recep Tayyip Erdo and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – the Turkish prime minister and the Argentinian president, do keep up – don’t often get to strut their stuff in such august company, I can’t see that the photographer calling the shots will be following up with a school portrait-style package of various shapes and sizes ideal for passing on to relatives, mounting on Christmas cards and reproducing in oil painting effect textured canvas to stick above the fireplace.

What we need here is for someone to break ranks – but it would have to be one of the Premier League, because if Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper ducked out, the folks back home would just assume he’d gone shopping for cheese or something.

This is where the special relationship we are assured exists between the USA and the UK could finally bear fruit.

If our supposedly supercool coalition commandant ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron – usually only too happy to shrug off the formal tie and go open-necked as he communes with the masses – and elegant Mr Big Barack Obama both just refused to be involved in the next big group shot, the whole thing would crumble in an instant and our leaders would have a little more time to do what they’re paid to do – thrashing out our problems, not grinning for souvenir shots to pad out their inevitably remaindered memoirs.