camcorder guerillas

G8 2005 picture galleries


it says, built in 1919, the year of the peace after the great war
Please click on the photograph to enter the G8 picture dump gallery. 

These pictures were taken in the run up to, and during the 2005 G8 conference at Gleneagles from the 6th to 9th of July. Please click on the picture above to view the G8 galleries, or read on for my summary of what the G8 summit achieved.

The G8, just in case you weren’t aware is when the seven richest nations on the earth, plus Russia, meet to decide the future of the global economy, along with many other issues.

The big issue on the agenda this year was to be Africa. Yes, the richest nations in the world were to meet and solve the problems of the poorest nations, so we were told. Issues on the table concerning the African continent also of course have much wider implications. The main economic issues are debt, aid and trade. One of the other big issues, and one which affects the whole world, was global warming.

So after a few rounds of golf, the odd wee bicycle ride, (who let Bush loose on a bicycle?) and a few million spent on accommodation and security, what did they achieve? They must have come up with something, surely. Let’s see.

Africa, the debt, aid and trade.

On the debt issue, they agreed to cancel the debt of 18 of the world’s poorest countries. Now while that sounds great, the reality is that the debt was not being serviced, for the simple reason that these countries had no money with which to service it. So while this move looks good, and I suppose is a step in the right direction, in reality it doesn’t cost the G8 a penny. Now will these countries get the aid and the trade deals that they need to develop and stay free of such debt in the future? We’ll come to that in a minute.

The G8 announced that it would double aid to Africa. Aid to Africa will increase by $25 billion over the next few years, more than doubling the amount of aid given to Africa in 2004. That sounds great. But hold on a minute. The major charities are telling us that this is not new money - "the G8 have recycled old announcements to reach the $25 billion" and "the deal on debt falls far short of what is needed to reduce poverty." (source Christian Aid web site).

Nor was there any commitment to stop tying aid to economic and other reforms. In other words, if the rich western countries can’t find a way to profit quickly from that aid, well they won’t give any aid.

Now, of course, the key to the future development of African countries, and many others round the world, is trade. They need fair trade, not free trade. They need an end to the free trade system, which allows the rich western countries to dump their surplus subsidised products on the poorest countries in the world, which along with the privatisation programmes attached to the aid deals, allows the west to profit from aid. This destroys any hope of a sustainable economy in most African nations.

So what did the G8 come up with? Well they admitted that there is a problem with ‘free trade‘, but we all knew that. They stated that poor countries should be able to choose their own economic policy. This suggests an end to the policy conditions attached to aid and debt cancellation. However no specific action plan was included. The G8 also failed to set a date for the end of export subsidies. In other words no action will be taken.

Global warming. Then there is the small matter of Global warming - an issue that could affect every single person in the world. So what did our world leaders come up with? Well, finally they all agreed, including Mr Bush that Global warming was happening and that mankind was contributing to it. Unfortunately, that’s all that they managed to agree on, other than to talk about it again in November.

So what exactly did the 2005 G8 achieve?

Bush, Blair, Chirac, Martin, Schröder, Berlusconi, Koizumi and Putin, they played golf, they enjoyed the facilities of one of Scotlands finest hotels. They wined and dined on the finest produce Scotland and the world has to offer, all free, or to be more precise at the expense, this year, of the British tax payer.

And what did they do. What did they do to stop the millions of people who die of starvation, needlessly, every year, as result of their own corrupt policies? What did they do to change the injustices that hold billions of people unnecessarily in appalling poverty? What did our leaders, the would be unelected leaders of the so called ‘free world’ do to tackle the growing problem of Global warming?

Nothing. They choose to do nothing. Not a damn thing. Nothing at all.