If Live8 was so great, why all the lies?

From the official website:


An estimated 3 BILLION PEOPLE watched LIVE 8 the greatest, greatest show on Earth. Add you name to the millions who’ve already done it and sign the LIVE 8 List now.

Here’s an AP story called: Live 8 rocks the globe with 3 billion people watching concerts. Only it was all a lie. You remember that the Tokyo concert was a dud. Live8 was Oakland — no there there. And here’s Mark Steyn:

At first, they said half the population of the entire planet watched. Then they revised it down to two billion. Hmm. In my small corner of the planet, I couldn’t find a single neighbour who caught the concerts. But I assumed that was just our hard-hearted Granite State parochialism. In Britain 10 million people watched Live 8, which works out at about half of what a Morecambe and Wise Christmas show would have pulled, but isn’t bad in these deregulated times. They had a big hit — and 83 per cent of the population didn’t need to be involved. For purposes of comparison, the 4 June episode of Casualty on BBC1 got 7.83 million viewers or, if you want a musical point of reference, Strictly Dance Fever with Graham Norton got 6.34 million viewers. In other words, you put together a unique once-in-a-lifetime bill with Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Her Grace the Madonna of that Ilk, the Who and the first performance by Pink Floyd since the Second Crusades, and together they pull an audience that is 50 per cent bigger than the anonymous house orchestra on a BBC talent show.

The only difference is that Strictly Dance Fever didn’t generate front-page news around the world from Vancouver to New York to London to Sydney the way Live 8 did. Those session musicians in that BBC house band can’t command private audiences of G8 heads of government the way Sir Bob and Lord Bono of the Reeks can. The every pronouncement of Graham Norton’s second trombonist is not relayed to the world as avidly as each geopolitical morsel that falls from the pink tongue of Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour.

So I’d say David Davis’s line that the Tories must ‘embrace the spirit of Live 8’ is a lot of hooey. By the time you read this, it may well have induced the G8 chaps to make some forlorn genuflection in their direction, but the ‘spirit of Live 8’ is already on the wane. Because there’s no such thing. At the French concert at Versailles ‘16-year-old Hugo Viollier sat on the grass drinking beer with friends’ and told Reuters, ‘I came because it’s free and not very far from where I live. I didn’t even know it had anything to do with Africa until you told me but that’s a good thing.’ At the Canadian concert in Barrie, Ontario, Marty Gradwell said he was there ‘to rock out and enjoy the start of a warm summer’. Asked by the Globe and Mail what cause the worldwide concerts were raising ‘awareness’ of, he gamely took a shot: ‘For Aids in Afghanistan, is it?’

We said early on that this was a scam, generating a lot of publicity and warm feelings for its promoters, but in the end little or nothing for Africa. As we said just the other day:

Economic development ain’t rocket science, fellas and gals. As Glassman says: “In 1975, Africa had a Gross Domestic Product per person that was twice as high as East Asia’s. But since then, Africa’s GDP has declined from $1,800 to $1,500 while East Asia’s has risen from $800 to $4,000.” It’s called capitalism, and it works every time it’s tried. This neo-colonialist, rock ‘n’ roll, feel good guilt trip is irrelevant at best, and destructive at worst. It is witch-doctorism, offering singing and chanting as the cure for poverty instead of logic and economic freedom.

Must we listen to all this rot about the “good intentions” of the promoters when they can’t tell the truth about what Africa’s many nations need for economic development, and won’t even tell the truth about the size of their audience?

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