Click here to send us your thoughts on the G8 summit
If you've visited Paul Mason's blog, you'll already know that Newsnight is discussing the forthcoming G8 summit. Paul will keep updating his blog at least twice a day...
Meanwhile, Newsnight would like to gather your comments and views. What should the purpose of the summit be? What should be achieved? What of the role of America?
Considering all the "loose" talk about trade, with no quantifiable definition that holds any water, I doubt much will change. Although talk is all of "fair trade", there is very little down in writing from any G8 leader regarding "open and FREE trade!" - there is a difference!.
Annie O, London
If they don't make even a little difference, it will be a terrible mistake.
There may well be some welcome decisions made at the summit. But they will be within the context, I suspect, of a continuing lack of genuine political commitment to improving the situation in Africa, because politicians believe that their electorates, deep down and whatever wristbands they may wear, don't care enough about Africa to vote or consume on that basis. If people really want to help Africa they will vote on the basis of which party will offer Africa fair trade and they will not purchase from companies making money out of the exploitation of Africa through the diamond trade or the demanding excessive profits for essential medicines. But the politicians calculate, probably correctly, that people care more about which party will deliver the strongest economy leaving the most money in their pocket. No one ever won an election on an internationalist and humanitarian agenda.
Dan Simons, London
Don't throw money away because you have it. Send responsible people out to Africa to oversee the spending and distribution of it. I spent 20 years there working with young people, but some governments have taken away all the good we did.
William Adams, Larne
You ask us to send you what we think of the G8. I'll tell you what I think - I think it's a load of "crap". They won't listen to what we say; they never do. They just carry out their own agenda. This is why the world is in the mess it is.
Mr A Goldie, Dudley, West Midlands
I watched the report on corruption in Sierra Leone [30/06/05] and what the UK is doing on a small scale. It was magnificent. No handouts, no crying babies, no
bags of grain. We can give aid to Africa, or we can send ourselves - real people: Britain's police, army, town planners, accountants and secretaries - all as tutors. Give Africa knowledge.
Stephen McHugh, London
I understand the concern for Africa's citizens but surely far more control can be made to stop the funds lining their inappropriate rulers' bank accounts? I am also concerned that so many in this country are dying or suffering in agony because of a shortage of funds or staff in our hospitals.
D. Tudor Greaves, "Sunny Porthcawl"
I have just watched the Panorama edition on maternal mortality in Chad. The crystal clear message coming through is the complexity of the issue and that it CANNOT be solved by the gesture politics of Tony Blair or Bob Geldof. The throw-away line that the problems of Africa emanate from that continent becomes clearer when one realises the corrupt nature of the ruling class in many countries and the inability of billions of dollars of aid to make any real difference. What is needed is a long-term strategy with the African countries making the decisions, not the G8 who will give with one hand and take away with the other by actuarial sleight-of-hand far beyond our gullible, ill-educated media scrum.
Trefor Jones, Neath
Now the US is talking about putting weapons in space as part of the American Missile Defense programme. George W Bush almost brags about tripling the amount of aid given by the US to Africa (..."and of course we must do more") and the UK Government continues to tie up lucrative arms contracts to Africa. The double standards and hypocrisy are staggering. It does not make sense. The connections between military spending, weapons development and the appalling situation concerning starving and dying people must be made at the G8 summit.
Lindis Percy - Joint Co-ordinator of Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases with Anni Rainbow, Hull UK
George Galloway has a cheek, piggy-backing on a whole movement he's had hee-haw to do with so far. He's going to 'lead' a march is he? Who asked him? This movement has no leaders.
George Frampton, Glasgow
G8 Security. While the G8 delegates are to be protected by some 10,000 officers of the law during their stay at Gleneagles, spare a thought for the residents within the Tayside Police region. In order to protect the G8 meeting, Tayside police are shifting fully 50% of their manpower to Gleneagles guard duty. Things are little better with regard to the other emergency services. The ambulance service in particular will struggle to provide a level of service that the local community will find acceptable.
Is there not a danger that development of Africa, western-style, will lead to even more global warming? There must be a way round this; development African-style? There should be an action plan that utilises the money / aid constructively, not causing more harm than good. That might set an example to the West.
This is a perfect time in history to create a new world of opportunity. The agricultural policies are holding us back. When tea and coffee were first imported into the UK, they created new markets. The same could be said for allowing more flexible trading agreements for African products and other continental farming products. The money saved from the EU agricultural policy (phased out over time), could be used to provide a phase in changes of resources in France. The point is this is a perfect time
to make the world a better place for third-world countries. Instead of staying in the status quo new inspiration should be welcomed with open minds and hearts.
George Horton, High Wycombe
Jeremy Paxman's interview with Bono was a watershed for me. Before this I thought Bono to be a celeb seeking publicity for his core career (selling records and making himself mega-rich). I was wrong and I am humbled. Bono's take on the problems of Africa, and indeed the world, seem much more rounded and substantial than most politicians and pundits. Please pass on my congratulations to him and also my best wishes for the realisation of his vision. From a fellow Irishman who feels proud by association.
What a pathetic viewer panel about money for Africa you set up on tonight's (Thursday 9 June) Newsnight. They were all speaking from an emotional point of view and I'll bet not one of them had lived in Africa. A totally loaded set up.
Brian Ellis, Warwick
PROGRAMME EDITOR SAM WHIPPLE RESPONDS:
The point of going to our focus group in Milton Keynes was to get the views of ordinary people in Britain. We wanted to find out how they were reacting to Sir Bob Geldof's Live8 plans and Tony Blair's Africa policies. They might not have lived in Africa, but as British voters their views on whether they support the government's decision to spend more money on Africa, or whether African governments should be doing more to deal with the problems, are still relevant. The panel had been chosen to represent all mainstream political views in Britain.
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