Friday, October 01, 2004

"OF COURSE, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE AN HONORARY KNIGHTHOOD, WHAT WITH MY BEING AN IRISH CITIZEN": We haven't actually mentioned Bono's speech to the Labour Party Conference yet, so we should probably get round to that. It wasn't a bad one, actually - not that staggering, nothing very unexpected, and mildly amusing in parts (Bono's confession to having had a mullet the last time he was on stage in the Brighton centre.) Something interesting is thrown up by comparing the speech as it was distributed to the press before it was made (the "check against delivery" version) and the various reports of the speech (such as Simon Hoggart's in the Guardian) is that the already slightly conceited gag "Excuse me if I appear a little nervous - I'm not used to appearing before crowds of less than 80,000 people" turned into "less than 100,000" in the hall. An upgrade of conceit, then.

We're amused that he fell back on the Blair/Brown as the Lennon and McCartney of social democratic politics - a couple whose bitter hatred of each other split the band into pieces and prevented them ever working together again. Whenever someone suggests they're the new Lennon and Macca, there's always a flurry of wondering who's who - and although at the moment Blair is looking more like the Stuart Sutcliffe, the answer is pretty simple: which looks like the man who would do the Frog Chorus? (clue: imagine the phrase "Frog choruses, certainly. But also choruses of frogs")

Its hard to disagree with Bono's claims that we should be doing more about Africa, and the problems faced by some the countries there. It's more interesting to watch him trying to perform acrobatics to explain why he's taking the stage to prop up Blair after Iraq:

And I know that on certain issues this room is already divided.
I know many people - and I include myself - were very unhappy about the war in Iraq.
Still are.
But ending extreme poverty, disease and despair- this is one thing everybody can agree on.

Well, yes... although, surely, the whole point about the differences over Iraq boils down to a fundamental difference in the belief about the best way of ending poverty, disease and despair in Iraq - do you do it by dropping depleted uranium encrusted shells more or less randomly on civilian heads, or do you find some other way? Part of Bono's speech is counselling Blair to use next year's stewardship of the G8 and the EU wisely, but here is a man who lead a war the head of the UN describes as illegal - surely Blair has already harmed the concept of international agreements and done more damage than he can put right in the ordering of biscuits and blotter pads for other groups? Indeed, by helping Bush demonstrate that the UN only counts when it gives the answers America wants to hear, Blair may well have done more to undermine the process of global consensus than ever Thatcher managed.

But like Bono says: he's just a rock star. Odd, of course, he didn't mention his growing role on the international finance markets.

We're betting, by the way, that Bono will get his knighthood in Blair's resignation honours list.

No comments:

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.