Monday, July 04, 2005


Was Live 8 worth it?

Will Live 8 have any effect? Cynics might point out that senior politicians tend not to be too into popular music. George Bush allegedly likes country and western and anyway the US leg of the campaign consisted only of one gig, in Philadelphia, which did not attract anything like the attention won by Live 8 in Europe and elsewhere. Those hoping for a recreation of the Anglo-French axis on climate change moreover need to consider why Chirac said of UK this afternoon that it was impossible to trust a nation that produced such bad food. I wonder what the tabloids will make of that tomorrow?. He must still be really cross over the referendum and the temerity of Blair at putting subsidies for French farmers so squarely on the agenda.

On the other hand a number of things can be said in favour of the efficacy of Live 8 apart from the music, which even this 59 year old was able to enjoy(in part that is- anything which reminds me of the sixties:good- the rest: generally not so good). Bush has to be aware opf the need to payback Blair for the staunch and unpopular support he has given Bush over Iraq and subsequently. We are told by Sir Christopher Meyer that, when appointed ambassador to Washington, he was told by Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, to 'get right up the arse of the White House and stay there'. Evidence, if any were needed, of how unthinking Blair's obsequiousness to Bush has become. But, even if Bush says his relationship with Tony is not one of 'quid pro quos' he must know that that is essentially the nature of international politics: you only give if you expect to receive and unrequited giving will eventually carry a heavy penalty. So Bush 'owes' Tony a big one and will face criticism if he totally ignores his obligations. Furthermore, he must know that Live 8 has struck a nerve across the world. Half the world's population tuned in we are told. Bush's aides are bound to tell him that. Appearing isoalted and mean spirited will not go down well at home where his ratings anyway are now plumbing the depths. Finally. the other seven have been subject to all the emotive publicity generated by St Bob et al and will be arguing passionately for what most of them probably know in their hearts is the correct path to follow.

However, I doubt if more than a portion of Blair's agenda will be answered positively: certainly debt relief, which has already been agreed; and also more aid in absolute terms. But Brown's scheme to create a new kind of aid funding is unlikely to be endorsed by USA or Germany it would seem and movement on climate change seems beyond the pale still to the myopic and surely intellectually limited president? But was Live 8 worth it? Surely it was. If only for the education of som many millions in the comfortably off west that they have a duty to others. The occasion when the Ethiopian girl who had featured close to death in a vcideo shown at Live Aid reappeared as a beautiful woman of 24 on stage with the celebs was truly moving and worth the Hyde Park gig for that moment alone as far as I was concerned.

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