Well, I did it. I got through the whole of yesterday without mentioning Live8, Bob Geldof, G8, Make Poverty History, Africa, Wimbledon, Venus Williams, cricket, Aussies, Rugby, British Lions, or antidisestablishmentarianism come to that, at least on these pages.
The last seven links are just transient sporting pleasures or disappointments. The former are more meaningful, serious subjects. So why do I feel, deep down, that despite the best efforts of our pop glitterati, nothing much will change?
I remember Live Aid, or at least the start of it. Me and the still then to be Mrs P were sitiing on a yacht (named Hippothoe which is Greek for Imperious Mare, although its owners told me at the time that it translated as White Horses, as in waves) chugging down the River Lune. And the radio signal gradually faded and that was that.
The Parrots minor bought me the DVDs last Christmas and I’ve watched bits of them, but somehow I can’t bring myself to do the whole marathon. The reason being that, despite all the earnestness of the event and the money raised, nothing has changed. People still die of malnutrition and dictators still drive around in their pound-in-the-rattling-tin-funded Mercedes.
And what makes me most uncomfortable is that the people lecturing us and the politicians to cancel third world debt are so incredibly rich themselves. Okay, so Bill Gates, who turned up at the London gig yesterday, is doling out £20 billion of his own cash to fund a children’s vaccination programme in Africa, but when you’re worth £50 billion, well you’re not exactly going to have the bailiffs banging on the door are you?
I’ve sympathy with the views of a letter writer in one of today’s papers that we might be able to provide more aid for Africa by Making Obscene Riches Extinct. MORE as in more of a contribution to putting right the ills of the world.