Minghella film sees Blair and Brown embrace Africa

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Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will make a direct appeal to tackle disillusionment among voters today with a broadcast stressing their joint commitment to tackling poverty in Africa.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will make a direct appeal to tackle disillusionment among voters today with a broadcast stressing their joint commitment to tackling poverty in Africa.

In an informal broadcast made by Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, the Prime Minister is filmed beside the Chancellor asking: "How can we awaken the importance of Africa in this election campaign?"

The broadcast depicts the two drinking orange juice while discussing how to take the anti-poverty agenda forward. "How do you deal with people who say they're disillusioned, they're turned off by politics, they say what is the difference between the parties, how do we actually get them to where people really do understand the nature of the choice?" the Prime Minister asks.

The film, to be released to television stations today, features Mr Brown saying that the Government has "a once-in-a-generation chance to make a difference" over Africa.

Mr Blair plays tribute to his Chancellor for getting "three times the amount of aid into Africa" and for steering a programme of debt relief.

He declares it is important to "get a mandate" for a future programme of aid to Africa, an issue "we're both passionate about". The film was due to be released after an all-night vigil by charities outside Downing Street highlighting the need for fairer trade with the Third World.

Both men say that Labour is alone in its commitment to tackling poverty in Africa. "It's a good thing we can do something, and that's the difference between a Labour government that's increasing overseas aid and others that wouldn't," Mr Brown says.

The Chancellor then discusses his experience of meeting starving people in Africa. He says that 30,000 children are dying each day avoidably.

"When I was in Africa I saw mothers saying why can't my child not even get an education, why can't I find a doctor anywhere and why do I have to pay for it because I don't have any money," Mr Brown said.

The Prime Minister says defeating poverty in Africa is a "moral cause" that the Government has a unique chance to achieve this year through the UK's chairmanship of the G8 group of industrial nations and presidency of the EU.

Mr Minghella said he was impressed by Labour's commitment to tackling poverty in Africa. "I've spoken to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown about trade justice and poverty relief in Africa. They both have a genuine commitment to making poverty history and believe that the coming year can bring fundamental and lasting change to the continent," he said.

But anti-poverty groups, including War on Want, issued an "antisocial behaviour order" (Asbo) against Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats for failing to do more to open up markets with the Third World. War on Want demanded that they "halt their antisocial behaviour towards the developing world and the environment and that they stop bullying African countries in international trade negotiations".

Labour also started a push for the family vote yesterday. It published a six-page magazine aimed at families, featuring a column by the EastEnders star Ross Kemp and highlighting Labour's pledges on children's centres, tax credits and the NHS.

Mr Brown said: "Parents' and children's concerns are so important in this election that this is becoming the school-gate election campaign. In the past, the focus of budgets was on inflation rates and trade balances. Future budgets will focus also on child care, family tax credits and educational investment."

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