Archive for the ‘poverty’ Tag

Desperate Measures In Desperate Times

Most people would never think living in a field under a plastic sheet in northern France, or setting off across the open sea from the south Mediterranean coast in a leaky, overloaded boat. Neither is conducive to good health or a long life. But that is what hundreds and thousands of people do each year as they try to get to England. Why would anyone want to endure such hardship, often paying a significant price for the privilege. Freedom and the opportunity to drag them selves out of poverty and hardship.

The west has fought long and hard for its freedoms and wealth, we enjoy a high standard of living because of the sacrifices our forefathers made. Its much the same story for those in many poverty stricken countries around the world. The west is their nirvana and they will risk the ultimate price to get here. Its a measure of how desperate life is in their own countries, or at least how desperate it is for some in their countries.

No country is wholly poor or destitute, what they have is a massive gap between the majority who are poor and the minority who are rich. The few who have power use the country for there personal benefit, skimming off money, pocketing bribes and squandering resources. However they cannot do this without some cooperation from other countries, its only through trade does the natural resources of a country get turned into wealth. The countries these desperate people which to reach are often the very ones that have helped to put them at the bottom of the pile. ‘If the fathers eat bitter fruit, the children will have stomach ache’, how true.

World Leaders Stop The World

The level of disruption and size of carbon foot print caused by the G20 makes one wonder if its worth bothering. The chances of an agreement are zero. Oh, they’ll sign up to something, but it will be woolly worded, contain no real commitments or make any difference to our problems. The leaders are already jousting with words to ensure the US does not try to act as the leader of everything. The French want banking controls that go far beyond anything everyone else wants, Gordon Brown wants to chuck dustbins full of cash at the problem, and Obama wants everyone to do what he says.

Stuck in the middle of all this are the people of London and those who’s travel plans are being disrupted due to the overblown egos of the the world leaders. The level of security is way beyond anything that is needed to protect the precious cargo that are our prime ministers and presidents. Yes there are risks but not to the extent the security forces think, but we must let them have their day and keep the secret service personnel feeling special.

The president of Brazil decided to take the low carbon option to travel from Paris to London by taking the train. For the French President Nicolas Sarkozy such a choice was to demeaning, he will arrive by private jet. The total cost of the G20 will probably be more than the gross domestic product of many poor countries. Perhaps that would have been a better investment and more effective than a round of back slapping and back biting that will take place this week.