Sunday, July 03, 2005

Is Geldoff going to mention the ID computer?,,2088-1678543,00.html

In the Sunday Times, 3 July 2005, Simon Jenkins wrote an article entitled: 'With a song in their heart and not much at all in their heads.'

Jenkins reminds us that Live Aid, according to David Rieff in Prospect Magazine, meant:

1. giving money, trucks and food to dictator Mengistu’s Ethiopia

2. entrenching a vicious regime

3. aiding one of the most cruel forced migrations in history.

Jenkins wants us to be charitable, but also to be subtle.

Jenkins writes: "At a rough estimate some $500 billion was tipped into Africa over the past 40 years. Most observers maintain this contributed to political instability and a negative growth rate."

Jenkins wants Geldoff and friends to 'join in the democratic debate and engage with a complex argument.'

Jenkins wants Geldoff to mention the following:

1. "Over the next three years some £15 billion is needed for anti-retroviral drugs in Africa. While Geldof bills and coos with Blair on television this week, will he mention that this gigantic sum is exactly what Blair intends to blow on a single, useless ID computer?

2. "The quickest salve to poverty in Africa is entirely within reach of Britain’s exchequer. For the cost of an equally useless NHS computer, Blair could conquer malaria as well.

3. Subsidies for farmers? "There is no Live 8 concert in Brussels or on the sugar beet prairies of East Anglia.

4. "Nor will Live 8 plead with the NHS to stop its most vicious sanction, the poaching of a third of Africa’s qualified doctors and nurses."

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