Monday, June 13, 2005

Africa: a stage for political poseurs

This summer's crusade is driven more by a crisis in Britain than 'over there'

Why Africa, why now? How has the continent suddenly come to dominate the political agenda in Britain, so that a boring old G8 summit inspires a concert, Live 8, that has somehow become the news story of the summer?

Of course Africa is still blighted by serious problems of poverty and conflict, malaria and AIDS, and remains the most oppressed continent on the planet. Yet there is no headline-grabbing crisis in Africa today, on the scale of the Ethiopian famine that gave rise to Live Aid in the 1980s. So what has prompted the sudden outpouring of interest in African affairs?

It seems that the crisis that has brought all of this about is not in Africa, but in Britain. There is a crisis of authority afflicting the political class, and a crisis of common values in our society. There is a poverty of leadership at every level, and a dearth of any sense of purpose that is bigger then oneself...

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