Sunday, July 03, 2005

Make Poverty History - Edinburgh 2nd July, 2005

Well, we were there. All 225,000 of us. It took hours just to get onto the route of the march. There were loads of church groups, Islamic Relief, Jewish groups, trades unions, NGOs and thousands of folk who just thought it was important enough to be counted. I rather like the fact that there were more of us in Edinburgh than at Hyde Park! We made a white band around the city centre that began at noon and was still going on when we flew home at 6pm!

And of course it was fun. Even Edinburgh Castle entered into the spirit of things and the TARDIS got the campaigning bug. Lots of locals joined in, leading chants from windows over the route and making us feel welcome. There was live music, and we even got to see some of Live8 from London (Macca and U2 play Sgt Pepper - fantastic!).
Having seen the press coverage, and heard some interminable crap on the radio about whether it was worthwhile, I find myself remembering that in 1998 I was in Birmingham in a human chain of a mere 70,000 people for Jubilee 2000. Similar things were said then. But debt relief got onto the agenda of the G8. Now, 7 years later, it's top of the agenda and finally debt relief looks to be happening. Aid and (especially) trade may not be dealt with as they should be, but they're on the agenda and people are watching how they are dealt with. But, as Gordon Brown said, getting rid of stupid poverty is not the job of a day or a weekend, or even of a summit - it's the job of a lifetime. It's a commitment that we need to stick to. So if the result is bead, we'll be back. In the last seven years the numbers marching have tripled. Let's see what another seven will do!

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Keith said...

Hm, funny, didn't see you there...

We went from just over the bridge in Cardiff, but travelled overnight by coach, and are still recovering. But wouldn't have missed it.

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