Thursday, July 07, 2005

I blogged wondering what would be the most memorable song from Live8. I am still waiting. Nothing stuck out. The renta-mob at Gleneagles the past couple of days will overshadow Live8 by miles. Loser's is right.

However while pondering Live8 and the exhortations of Geldof, Bono, Eltie, Paul and company I have had misgivings about the messages behind the entire event.

I have been wondering where the $400Billion already given in aid to the African continent has gone, and what was there to show for it? Why are we confident it won't get pee'd away again - or worse go straight into the hands of the bad guys.

The globalist in me thinks free trade (as in truly free, without barriers) would be worth 100 times the value of a debt cut to the peoples of Africa and I wonder why the recording artists don't see it the same way. They know the value of their work - U2 and the Rolling Stones are still touring - to keep the cash machine topped up, because P2P filesharing is their ongoing nightmare - subsidised (free) music to the teens of the globe.

Is the issue similar for less developed countries having to compete with the huge subsidies paid to farmers in the richest economies on earth.

Bush is onto it - spiking the guns of the Eurocrats by saying he will stop farm subsidies if the Europeans do likewise.

Mark Steyn has put the issues about the aristorockracy, of Sir Elton, Sir Bob, Sir Paul and the rest....together in most readable column. Steyn points out Linda McCartney's lawyers on her death managed to have her domicile for death duty purposes moved from the UK to Manhattan, 3,000 miles away. The benefit? Avoiding death duties of a sum greater than the first Live Aid concert raised, $50Million pounds. Not that I am bothered about the McCartney's tax arrangements - pre or post humously. Seems ironic that's all.

What has changed since LiveAid is, as Steyn notes ...." the Live8 bonanza (is) misguided. Two decades ago, Sir Bob was at least demanding we give him our own fokkin' money. This time round, all he was asking was that we join him into bullying the G8 blokes to give us their taxpayers' fokkin' money."

While the simplicity of the Live8 message was beguiling it did not take much to peel away the layers of hypocisy or scrape the tarmac from the road of good intentions. Steyn again,

"...Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it."

...Yet, throughout the weekend's events, Dave Gilmour and Co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to "start a revolution". Like Africa hasn't had enough of those these past 40 years?"

"The rockers demand we give our fokkin' money to African dictators to manage, while they give their fokkin' money to Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts to manage. Which of those models makes more sense?"

It is worth a read.

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