Tuesday, 5 July 2005


moves to Scotland as the G8 leaders arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow. Whether a million people march on Edingburgh or only a hundred it's to be hoped that the men who can change the world don't forget that in this wired world far more people than ever before are aware of their actions.

I think it's interesting that this time out, 20 years after Live Aid, that the Internet - the web wasn't even a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye when Freddie and Queen rocked Wembley - really has the potential to impose on our democratically elected leaders some pressure. That they may chose not to deal with the problems of chronic poverty in parts of Africa or global warming but it's probably the first time their deliberations have been subject to such scrutiny. Would that have been possible without the combined weight of political activism and the web? Sure there have been anti-globalization protests at each of the G8 meetings for as long as I can remember but this is different - this time people from around the world are watching for afar.

Let's just hope that the political will to make positive changes can match the aparent public will for change to happen.


10 careful considerations:

Neil said...

The whole thing is a betrayal. The politicians are actually disempowering Africa. The worst thing is that probably none of the musicians and few of the audience will realise ie when the "wonderful results" come out from Gleneagles.

Please read this article from the Guardian. Please tell everyone about it on your blog.


kat said...

Neil, I can’t say that I am not disturbed by that article but realistically what did you expect or hope for. I couldn’t see world leaders agreeing to cancel debt and open up trade without overseeing it or helping in some way and I certainly didn’t expect that they would suddenly put Africa before their own countries trade interests. Although I dislike the thought of these big companies playing a part, especially when the emphasise is on privatisation, what is the alternative? I guess some real rogues would move in and take advantage. At least these companies will have to answer to someone – Hopefully to us all. (In fact, we need to insist on it). I just hope that all the profit, expertise and benefits will be ploughed into the continent rather than lining the pockets of foreign investors. I also hope that these companies will gradually back out leaving the African people to run and control their own affairs. If there is another way please say – I am hopeless at political and business stuff.

I would like to see the removal of subsidies and free world trade but I don’t think it can happen overnight. I feel that there is still a lot of work to be done at the individual level and that attitudes have to change in a very big way. How many of us think about what we are buying and how the way we spend or earn our money affects others? It is all right telling and expecting governments to do something but I think we all have to do a lot more ourselves. (And that includes thinking outside our own home everyday).

Sorry about the waffle.

Bluefluff said...

Neil, Nigel already pointed the readers of this blog to Monbiot's earlier Guardian article (see Saturday's "Different Views" post). Yes, there's a risk of being swamped by naive optimism here, but I think it's a little unfair to suggest that "none of the musicians" are aware of the political/economic realities. Personally, I don't much care if it is all a capitalist plot, if it saves lives...

Rob Spence said...

There's a thought-provoking, and somewhat sceptical take on this at http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,363604,00.html

Nigel - can you do a hyperlink in a comment?

Nogbad said...

Hi Neil, great to see you here.

I'm a big fan of Monbiot's writings and I'd already seen this and other articles discussing the conditions that are likely to be attached to any trade liberalisation. I agree that it's dispicable but if we ignore what we really might hope for how do you see it happening otherwise? Can anyone point to any pragmatic approaches that might bring in the sort of investment that can change the situation in some of these benighted places? Aid alone simply doesn't work - we've seen that over and over again. Short of another bloody war, in an area that's had far more than its fair share, it's difficult to see how corrupt governments will be overturned. Any form of industrialization will come at a price.

I'm also unsure who you are suggesting is being betrayed and the suggestion that the musicians and audience wouldn't be aware of this seems based on no evidence at all.

Sadly there will always be a price, the price of where we are now is 30,000 lives each day and little sign of that ending.

Nogbad said...

Hi Rob - thanks for the link - that's interesting stuff! To make a hyperlink you'll need to wrap it up in an A tag. I've used round brackets here instead of the triangles that you'd actually use because the software would try and parse the triangles as tags!

The syntax is (a href="mylink.htm")Link text to display(/a) - you need to use the double quotes too.

That help?

Rob Spence said...

Brilliant - thanks. I'm learning all the time. Who needs T171 or whatever it was?

Nogbad said...

Erm - I think you are actually taking TU170 right now, it's just that you are doing it the hard way :-)

Rob Spence said...

Whaddya mean, the hard way -I got one to one tuition, innit?

Nogbad said...

Yup - but from an idiot :-)