The G8 at Gleneagles is the latest gathering of an exclusive club.
They meet to discuss issues that are of interest to them. It is a focus group of self-interested parties - self-interest in national, political and personal terms.
As these eight men meet, many face reputation-changing circumstances in their political careers.
Bush has Iraq as a continuing millstone. Chirac has the "Non" vote and the threat of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.
Schroeder has lost the confidence of the German people. Koizumi is domestically relevant but a non-entity internationally, as is Paul Martin, the Canadian Prime Minister.
Berlusconi seems ready to ditch the euro but is still dependant on the CAP, like Chirac.
Russia is involved as a political gesture as their economic and political relevance in most global issues is dramatically less than Putin's presence at Gleneagles implies.
Blair and Brown are desperate to achieve a result that will last long enough for them to survive the scrutiny of future generations - something their efforts over the last eight years will not endure.
Can they succeed? Can they achieve a result? The answer is probably no.
They can do what they are capable of but that in isolation will not relieve poverty anywhere, let alone in Africa.
If anyone believes that it will, then they are deluded and see in these shallow politicians more power than any of them have.
Why should the suffering, persecution and slow extinction of the African people force its way on to the G8 agenda - let alone move to the top of it - in place of other national, political, economic or personal interests?
The only reason is that politicians require a 'cause celebre' that will make them look good and appear human and statesmanlike - a status few achieve for good reason.
Statesmen are a very, very rare breed and none will be at Gleneagles this week.
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