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G8 rant

What is the matter with the G8 protesters? Don’t they know where Gleneagles is? Now they are rioting in Stirling of all places. Doubtlessly, they have made Sheriff Wyllie Robertson’s day—finally he gets to fill up his jails—but some of them will be in for a shock, for the wheels of justice grind slowly in Stirling…

The protesters seem confused; are they groping their way across Scotland in the vague hope of stumbling across the meeting venue? No, from what I can make out the police, in true style, has cancelled a legitimate protest march in Auchterarder—something that my former MSP called: “…a serious indictment of British democracy”. To which I have to say ‘what democracy’? There seems to be precedents galore. Protests are only permitted where they don’t interfere with business and preferably out of sight of world leaders. Gleneagles, next to the village of Auchterader, half-way between Stirling and Perth is easy to fence off but not easy to get to by public transport. Which is the point of having the meeting there rather than, say, in Holyrood Palace.

I just marvel at the fact that most people really seem to think that there is a right to protest in what remains of this ‘democracy’.

It’s funny to see Gleneagles at the centre of all this furore. If I was still working there, I think I would have made Chef de Partie by now but I would be junior enough to be stuck with the graveyard shift: cooking burgers for Mr. Stupid and his fat bodyguards into the small hours. The temptation to spit into the food (or worse) must be overwhelming…

While we are on the matter of G8 and ‘legitimate’ protests, what exactly is Bob Geldof hoping to achieve with his Life8 concerts, other than rocketing album sales for his mates? A few weeks before the gigs, he dissed African musicians for ‘not being mainstream enough’ and therefore not welcome on the main stage (although African tracks currently feature in a major BBC drama series and an advert for roof windows or something, so go figure!). Africans, he said, don’t have a voice (and presumably therefore he should not give them one). Forced to back-track, he hurridly put on a concert in an oversized greenhouse on the western tip of the country and filled it with Z-listers and guest-list rejects. I don’t know why the musicians rose to this insult, but it is good that they played beause it adds to the embarrassment for Gelfdof when you contrast their well-received ten hour concert with such mainstream highlights as an addled Pete Docherty, a fat comedian belting out a vulgar novelty song and Bill Gates looking somewhat out of place. What I don’t understand is what the hell makes Bob Geldof think that he has a voice? The man is a megalomaniac soaring on the inflated egos of his popstar-friends. The eight men at Gleneagles may feel vaguely flattered by the attention lavished on them but it won’t make a bit of difference to this meeting—Life8 is doing nothing that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are not doing already and the sentimental outpouring just gives Bush another tool to bully them with. The whole exercise has left me with a strangely cloying, yet vacant feeling, like eating too much candyfloss instead of a proper meal. It is usually a good idea to combine protest with music (it gets a bit boring otherwise, what with all the speeches) but not to replace it with a couple of gigs. 99% of people who attended the concerts did it for the acts that were playing and could not care less what it was (supposed to be) about. Most of the people in Paris did not even know anything about it. It was just another free festival; publicity for the artists and various attention-seeking hangers on. Who wouldn’t play to an audience of billions?

Good on Pink Floyd though for promising to donate their extra profits to charity.




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