Home

The fallout

7 July 2005

A friend tells me that London is rallying. From here, it is hard to gauge the mood. I hear ice-creams are being eaten in parks; shoppers are going about their shopping. Ken Livingstone has offered solace and resilience.

At Gleneagles, confusion reigns. In two of the few scheduled press conferences to take place, Mexico's Vicente Fox and France's Jacques Chirac talked of solidarity, of the leaders of the G8 and G5 (the richer developing nations) united against terror.

NGOs fear that the terror attacks in the British capital may indirectly deal the world's poor another duff hand in this round of globalised poker. Though all comments are qualified with doubt (the delegations have suspended briefing), the word is that the statement on trade will be minimal, even harmful to the global south as negotiations on subsidies are curtailed.

But it is impossible to say with any certainty what tomorrow's belated communiques will contain. Make Poverty History has ensured that the vocabulary will be different, the rhetoric more compassion than high economics. Its trade arm - the Trade Justice Movement - will meet tonight to draft responses should the statement on Africa merely call for a end to the stalemate at the WTO.

That said, the consensus born of solidarity with dead and injured Londoners could bear fruit. Chirac, though he wouldn't budge on the Common Agricultural Policy, said the seven vs one stand-off against the United States on climate change was close to resolution. Though Bush still won't touch the Kyoto Protocol with a dip-stick, Washington is said to be considering finding synergies in its own environmental policy that will align the world's biggest polluter more closely with Kyoto's basic principles. At last, it seems the cast-iron scientific evidence that the planet is warming will be acknowledged.

Yet another team of armed guards has just prowled past me. Tony Blair is back, though he will return to Westminster tomorrow to chair the Cobra cabinet security committee. Journalists are dribbling in and out of the media cavern. Two seasoned summit correspondents have told me, rather depressingly, that they are basically  waiting for the leaders to tell them what to write.

London is shaken. For hundreds, life will never be the same. But we must not lose sight of what is going on in the depths of Scotland. There is a danger - a danger as real to life and limb as today's bombs - that the security consensus among the G8's leaders will allow them once again to dictate terms to the south. Though it is not in this entity's power to act democratically, we might hope that it will temper its self-interest. If, in tomorrow's rhetoric, protecting the people of the west is conflated with furthering its economic power, the pain of this week will be felt far beyond Kings Cross.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData