Bob Geldof: 'Our failure to tackle world poverty is now a joke'

From a speech by the musician and anti-poverty campaigner at a conference at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

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We are so far behind achieving what we promised - what we swore we would do five years ago in the UN millennium development goal- that the targets for 2005 will not be met until 2150. We're a joke, we are a complete and utter disgrace and we perpetrate this falsity and this lie on the head of the already trodden upon, mute and weak.

In seven weeks, seven men, plus one, who can resolve this, who can put this plan into immediate action now, will meet in this country for the G8 summit in Gleneagles. It is the specific responsibility of Scotland to ensure that this is done. And it is the specific task of the Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, to not welcome them if they are not prepared to do it. If they come here with the attitude, that they currently have today, of doing nothing, and letting them get away with it - let them stay at home. They are not welcome.

On the other hand should they come with the intent to stop this open wound they will be embraced and remembered throughout this century. But I for one cannot tolerate the 21st century Orwellian vision of people dying on my television screens every night forever.

The condition of the African people is a moral outrage and politically, extremely dangerous. How debased have we become? What more do these men of the G8, meeting in a golf course - a golf course, how emblematic, how disgustingly ironic - want?

Were 50,000 people to die tomorrow in Dundee, were 50,000 to die in Cleveland, were 50,000 to die the next day in Turin, and the next day in Toulouse, and the next day in Ludwigshafen, these people would have dealt with this problem between the first and second hole.

And I am sick of it. I'm sick to my teeth that they refuse their responsibility as leaders.

Western leaders use economic sophistry on the issue of debt, arguing: "We don't need or want the money". Yet every African is born into a debt slavery and will die owing more than when he is born. Not a single person in the West would receive less dole, less wages, would have to pay more tax. What is there to discuss?

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