Do you remember Band Aid? It started after former Boomtown Rats’ star Bob Geldof had been shocked by seeing pictures of starving Africans on the TV screen and vowed to do something about it. This involved him and Midge Ure getting together an all-star group to sing the charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” This shot to the top of the charts at Christmas 1984, and led to the Live Aid concerts the following year.
I recall seeing the start of the Wembley gig, going to a cricket match with dad, and then returning in time to see the UK finale. A truly historic occasion.
But though Band Aid and other charities working in the developing
world have raised millions over the years, this amount pales in
relation to what is given by our Government in Overseas Aid. Which
is the Tory Chancellor’s decision to cut aid spending from 0.7% of our
Gross National Product to just 0.5% is to be regretted.
Yes, we all know that some of this money is wasted, while I
personally regret the fact that some charities pay their officers six-
figure salaries. Nevertheless, reducing the amount we spend to help
the poorest nations in the world just isn’t on. For what matters isn’t
the alleged abuses, but who will lose out as a result of Sunak’s mean-
spirited measure. And they will be those who are the descendants of
those helped by Band Aid a generation or more ago.
If we can build pointless new aircraft carriers and the wages of those
unable to work because of the Government’s own anti-Covid policies,
we can afford to support those struggling in distant lands.
And given the confusion over Brexit you’d think the Tories wouldn’t
want our reputation overseas to fall any further.