Bob Geldof without paddle
Now Geldof calls up fleet for G8 armada:
Geldof yesterday sparked new fears of G8 chaos as he invited thousands of French protesters to descend on Edinburgh, promising a Dunkirk-style flotilla of small ships to carry them across the Channel.And pulled out of his ventral orifice.
Already reeling from Geldof's call for a "million-man" march through the city's streets, Lothian and Borders Police warned protesters to stay away if they had no accommodation.
And the coastguard service, which was not told in advance of Geldof's plans, also expressed concern that his armada would be crossing some of the world's busiest seaways.
One Scottish politician also said he was worried that Geldof's plan was being "made up as it goes along".
On the rational side of things, Andrew Bolt weighs in:
Geldof has plenty of backing, and not just from lords of rock such as Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and U2.Be there or be square, I guess. If you aren't too particular about the company you keep.
Britain's Labor Government is behind him, as is a coalition of church groups, unions and charities called End Poverty Now. Anarchist groups also plan to join his festival of anger.
The official Live 8 demands -- endorsed by the Blair Government -- seem simple: "This without doubt is a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental, and demand from the eight world leaders at G8 an end to poverty."Tsk, in the best circles, it's not polite to mention the thugs!
An end to poverty? How?
"By doubling aid, fully cancelling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa."
Notice how none of the solutions involve African countries doing much themselves? But this always was more about us than them.
What a terrible fraud.
More aid might help Africa. Freer trade most certainly would. But nothing can truly help Africa until it helps itself -- by becoming as free, open and accountable as is the West.
But who wants to go to rock concerts to demand an end to African corruption? That's so . . . judgmental.
Let Kenya be a warning.That must be an ice water douche for ole Bob. More bad news in It's tyranny stupid!:
The British High Commissioner there, Sir Edward Clay, has publicly accused corrupt officials of "vomiting on the shoes of donors", and named 20 big public projects riddled with graft.
In February, the US Ambassador, William Bellamy, backed him, saying the money stolen in one of those projects could have paid for enough anti-retroviral drugs for every HIV-positive Kenyan for the next 10 years.
It's a notion that forms the foundation stone of the Africa Commission.More by following the links, but I have one question that doesn't seem to have been asked: Can Bob Geldof be sued for damages caused by the Million Goof March?
'Things are changing on the continent, with African governments showing a
new vision ... Africa, at last, looks set to deliver,' the commission's report gushes, while assuring us it has done its best to be 'blisteringly honest'.
To which, in 'blisteringly honest' mode, I can only say: utter balls.
Let's take a few examples. Uganda, say, where President Yoweri Museveni, who once said no African leader should spend more than 10 years in power, has now governed for nearly two decades and is set on amending the constitution to allow him to stand again. It's strange that the Museveni case doesn't weigh more on Geldof's mind, as Sir Bob was recently demonised in Uganda's press for telling Museveni to step down.
And then there's Kenya. True, the opposition won the elections there in 2002 and, for once, an old-style Big Man leader agreed to stand down. But the public mood has turned sour and angry, for the corruption of President Mwai Kibaki's new administration makes Daniel arap Moi's regime look almost restrained. The American ambassador to Nairobi worked out that the sums stolen could have paid for every HIV-positive Kenyan to get antiretroviral treatment for a decade.
Take Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose leaders are arms-shopping while relying on the international community to feed their drought-hit millions. Or Ivory Coast, where Laurent Gbagbo has encouraged the militias who support his presidency to talk the language of genocide. Or Ghana, where President John Kufuor's new administration, local commentators estimate, include more than a dozen members of his family. But enough.
The point is that there are precious few signs of this enlightened 'new leadership'. The fact that more African countries are run by nominally elected governments instead of military dictatorships obscures just how structurally similar the new administrations often remain to what went before. The elites that have sabotaged development since independence have adapted to the times, learning to play the democracy game with panache. Africa's lootocracies have reinvented themselves.