The only bit of Live 8 that made any sense to me was the Who’s performance. They played Who Are You? with the faces of world leaders flashing up behind them and followed it with Won’t Get Fooled Again – one of the best records ever made – meet the new boss, same as the old boss – right every time. And they didn’t say anything in between. Everybody else made speeches – the idiotic boy Barbie Doll singer in Razorlight came out with the amazingly erudite: ‘we’re here to make poverty history, right?’ which got him a lot of applause and made him look really good even though, if this was real life, he wouldn’t make it fronting a Stooges tribute band.
Saint Bob bought on an Ethiopian woman, a survivor of the famine of 1985, and made a speech. He introduced Madonna who came on dressed in white, the same as the band and choir which I read as a sort of show-biz code for we’re all equal, and dragged the unfortunate woman all over the stage like a human prop. Jo Whiley (who openly professed to NOT being a Who fan) interviewed people on the front row –
‘Are you enjoying the music?’
‘And what about the cause, you know, Make Poverty History?’
‘Eh? Oh yeah, that too. Yeah, great.’
The cause is a worthy one but the intention to ‘Make Poverty History’ is utterly naive. It’s about as realistic a possibility as smashing capitalism. Capitalism is at the root of third world poverty. Poverty is a necessary side effect of capitalism – the accumulation of wealth and the creation of an underclass. Without poverty there can be no wealth.
A leading botanist recently claimed that if every nation on earth lived as well as America and Great Britain it would take three planets to sustain us. So there’s the answer, and try telling this to Chris Martin, Bono, Sting, Madonna and co – let’s Make Wealth History.