BootsnAll Travel Network

The G8

The lead up to next week’s G8 summit in Gleneagles, less than an hour Northwest of Edinburgh, has been pretty intense. I’m not sure what level of attention it has been receiving back in Australia, or in the US, but here in the UK it is dominating the news (well, at least after Tim Henman and Andy Murray were knocked out of Wimbledon). The summit is a gathering of the most powerful leaders in the world, who are meeting to discuss whatever it is leaders discuss at such get-togethers. Sport and porn I’m assuming.

Much like the previous G8 meeting in Genoa in Italy, and the World Economic Forums held in Melbourne and Seattle, large-scale protests are expected in the city of Edinburgh. As evidenced by those previous demonstrations, it only takes a couple of dickheads looking to cause trouble, or a few policeman drunk on power, for violence to start. A peaceful march through the streets of Edinburgh has been organised for the beginning of the summit, in support of the “Make Poverty History” campaign, where up to 200,000 participants are expected. Of course, demonstrations like these are excellent at bringing together those who support the cause, but the real challenge lies in changing people’s ideas; reaching out to the apathetic, distracted, self-absorbed, and just plain ignorant population who would rather switch over to Big Brother than watch another documentary showing skinny black kids too weak to swat away the flies covering their faces.

Sir Bob Geldof, welcome.

When Sir Bob Geldof got involved in early June, things took a bit of a turn. Whether that turn was a good thing, or a bad thing, depends on who you talk to. Sir Bob is generally seen as one of two things; a self-absorbed old git trying to relive the glory days of Live Aid back in the 80s, or he is a champion of the African people, bringing much needed focus to their plight and putting long-overdue pressure on world leaders to take action.

Sir Bob has organised a series of concerts to take place simultaneously around the world designed not to raise money, but simply to create awareness of the starving peoples of various African nations, and help put public pressure on world leaders to cancel third world debt, increase aid, and promote fair trade. It is reported that 30,000 children die each day from poverty – a truly ghastly figure and one difficult to comprehend. The Live8 concerts are to be held at a number of locations around the world; London, Philadelphia, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Toronto, on Saturday July 2nd, the same day as the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh.

But then, Sir Bob went and organised another concert, this one in Edinburgh, for a few days later; Wednesday July 6th, and called on one million people to descend on Edinburgh. He’s imploring all the concert attendees in London to make the trip up North to show the G8 leaders that the world really is concerned about Africa, and that change is needed.

Well, if this hasn’t sent the authorities into a bit of a head-spin. Articles have been appearing in the papers calling Sir Bob an irresponsible lunatic, who is putting people’s lives in danger by calling for such a huge number of protesters. There is no way the city can accommodate such a crowd, they say. Hospitals are calling for more blood donations to cope with the expected increase in demand. People are being told that their bookings for surgery are to be postponed until after the protests, in order to keep hospital beds free for that week. Clearly, the authorities are expecting the worst. The fact that ‘worst’ being considered seems to indicate that World War 3 is to erupt in Edinburgh seems lost on some media commentators.

Hopefully the sort of violence being planned for will not eventuate. No doubt the Make Poverty History march will be a peaceful gathering. It is the more subversive, anarchic groups who threaten to divert the peaceful message being promoted, with a planned gathering on Monday July 4th that is expected to target large financial institutions in the centre of town, as well as the usual symbols of American capitalism; McDonalds and Starbucks.

This is where I get just a little bit concerned, given that I am currently working for an Engineering company that is one of the largest contractors for the US Federal Government, and particularly the Department of Defence and Homeland Security. In this role, the company provides, amongst other things, Flight Services and Training, and Field Services; quote, “We provide maintenance and repair services for vehicles and other equipment at more than 65 sites to support military logistics operations in the U.S. and abroad” ( ). Basically, the company is up to its eyeballs in US military shit. Not the best place to be, then, given that these sorts of protests generally have a distinct anti-American flavour.

Whether this makes our office a realistic target or not, I don’t know. We are a little way out of the city, about a ten-minute walk. Maybe the protesters will be all worn out after smashing up McDonalds. That new fan-dangled safety glass can be tough to break you know.

But whatever happens, next week will surely be an interesting time. I’ll try my best not to get beaten up as I walk to work in my suit. Actually, maybe I’ll leave the suit at home, eh.

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2 Responses to “The G8”

  1. Mark Hogan Says:

    Mate, you’ve gone all political on me. What the hell’s going on? I never realised you had a conscience, yet alone expected you to turn into Michael Gawenda.
    Let’s just hope your boss doesn’t read The Fanta Pants, or you might be looking for another job!
    Good luck with the protests, don’t expect me to come over there and save you if you end up in the shit.

  2. Posted from Australia Australia
  3. Dave Says:

    Mate, just telling it like it is. We’re actually really looking forward to the protests. Despite there being a small section of locals that are against the whole protest thing, there seems to be a real buzz around the city that some positive change could be realised.

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