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Pollard: Poverty campaign is pants


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Just a couple of weeks after The Observer came out in support of the Make Poverty History campaign, Stephen Pollard has said in today’s Times that…

This campaign is so misguided you might think Kate Moss had thought it up herself

Whilst I concede some of his points, I think his piece is far too critical of a campaign which has highlighted awareness and demonstrated public support for action in this area. He has his own ideas, but I don’t see them getting the level of support that this campaign has, and he should respect their successes as much as criticising their failures.

This 596th post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Kevan

    22.52, 23/07/2005

I haven’t read the article in the Times, the Guardian is a better paper anyway. But the Make Poverty History campaign was a resounding success for one major point alone. It raised awareness of the extreme poverty that exists in Africa, with half the populus living on under a Dollar a day.
OK, so there is endemic fraud by corrupt officials; but this is often just an excuse to be excused from caring about this very sad statistic; and sticking their hand in their pocket.
Incidentally, I was just visiting your sight for a sudoko link to add to a site, I find your blog better than Google for certain stuff. I got in early on the Olympics bandwagon and grabbed olympicseastlondon.net and want to suggest we have soduko as an Olympic sport. Why should the athletic sporty lot have all the fun, what about a bit of sport for the Maths Nerds?
Great blog site, thanks.
My daughter and about 30 other Christian types have just arrived in Kenya to do their little bit in helping others. I guess we can all do our bit, however small, even if it is only to spread the word, and some charitable donation is even better.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    11.31, 24/07/2005

First of all, thank you very much for your kind comments about the site. I only maintain it for a bit of amusement, so to find that it gives other people pleasure too, as well as actually being useful from time to time, is a real buzz.

My only qualms about the Make Poverty History campaign stem from the fact that it probably only raised the profile of Africa for a very short period of time – it will probably be all but forgotten soon – and that Bob Geldof and co are easing people’s consciences about the continent by praising world leaders in return for very little actual aid. The total amount of debt relief secured by the campaign amounts to less than is spent by the British each week in Iraq, and the USA is still nowhere near its UN targets.

It is obviously very easy to criticise, and I admit that I have no better ideas, but it does strike me that this may not be much of a way forward. Actual hands-on help, though, is to be greatly respected, and I hope to offer some of my own at some point once my medical training is up to speed… and though the idea of aid intrinsically linked with religion naturally makes me uncomfortable, I’m sure that a great many Christian Aid workers (with a big and little CA) do a great deal of good work.

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