Live 8 ...it's a bit rich!

IS it just me, or is there really something screamingly funny about seeing some of the most famously rich people in the world stand up and tell us to make poverty history? I read not so long ago that the amount of African debt America was refusing to write off was about equivalent to the annual US florists' bill.

IS it just me, or is there really something screamingly funny about seeing some of the most famously rich people in the world stand up and tell us to make poverty history?

I read not so long ago that the amount of African debt America was refusing to write off was about equivalent to the annual US florists' bill.

I may not have remembered that exactly right, but you get the picture. And I suspect there are countries in Africa whose total annual turnover is about what Elton John spends on cut flowers.

Yet there was Elton, along with other members of the super-rich elite such as Madonna, Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and the artists formerly known as Pink Floyd, getting up in all po-faced seriousness to urge a major redistribution of world wealth.

Well, good for them. Maybe.

Ego, and the urgent desire not to be left out, were surely what motivated many of the Live 8 performers to get up and claim their 15 minutes.

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No doubt many in the audience, both in person and in front of the telly, were honest believers in the cause of rescuing Africa from its deadly debt troubles. More, surely, were just there for the party.

Even though the bands all played for free (and the unbuyable publicity) the cost of staging all ten Live 8 gigs was reckoned at around £25million.

That might only buy one leg of Steven Gerrard, but it might also have fed and housed an awful lot of needy folk in Darfur.

The original Live Aid in 1985 was memorable, historic, and no doubt worth re-living. It also made about as much impact on starving Africa as one Blue Peter collection of milk-bottle tops.

While all those wealthy (and mostly white) Westerners partied and generally felt good about themselves, almost no one in Africa noticed.

Yet for all the cynicism, all the doubts, I'm sure Bob Geldof and Bono are utterly genuine and committed to the cause.

And if they can achieve even part of their goal, all the massaged egos, the dubious motives, and the cynicism won't matter a hill of beans. It will all have been worth it.

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