Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8 - will it make a difference?

I sat and watched Live 8 pretty much all the way through yesterday (other than spending a bit of time ferrying boxes of envelopes around to local Lib Dem helpers).

20 years ago I sat and watched Live Aid with a group of my teenage mates. This time it was with the missus and small children - quitea contrast!

What didn't change for me was the effect. Live Aid was one of the events that motivated me to get involved in politics 20 years ago. I watched the coverage and read the papers and decided that I could not see any reason why so many people should live in abject poverty on a planet where so many others are so rich.

I remember the tears rolling when they played that memorable footage over 'Who's gonna drive you home' by The Cars and the tears were rolling again yesterday when Bob Geldof introduced
Birhan Woldu, one of the starving children featured in that film.

There has been a lot of questioning about the effectiveness of Live 8. Isn't Bob Geldof on an ego trip? Why should we listen to rock stars anyway? Will it make a difference?

In my view it is not Live 8 we should be questioning. It is politics and politicians. We should be asking how it is that G8 leaders can possibly fail to take serious action. Why is it that western governments will spend more money this year subsidising their own farmers than the entire total of African debt.

As far as I am concerned Live 8 has already worked. It has got millions of people listening to the arguments and issues. It will energise tens of thousands of people into actively campaigning. And it certainly can't have reduced the chances of the G8 summit achieving something.

And if the issue is important enough to persuade Roger Waters to step on stage with Dave Gilmour after their 24 year grudge, surely a few billion isn't asking too much?

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