http://www.blogger.com/template-edit.g?blogID=27684744 ARTYFACTS: Day 7: Local or global? Debate - not really

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Day 7: Local or global? Debate - not really

Ask the right question to get the right answer. This was a vague question and therefore a muddle. It fragmented into a lot of sub-debates about foreign aid, financial markets and the current election. Indeed the opposing parties, two on each side ended up supporting each other and flipping back and forth on the issue. What we got was a series of journalistic observations, which is hardly surprising, as that, essentially, is what the panel consisted of. There was no academic analysis of the issue(s) no heavyweight thoughts, no depth. The debaters were like 1% fat milk, they looked like the real thing but were as thin as water.

One sub-debate did take off, and that was on foreign aid. The World aid budget is actually quite small at $120 billion, about the same amount that the US spends on Botox, breast implants and vaginal realignment. Our aid budget is about 8 days of the interest we pay on our national debt. Then there’s the recent analysis of aid in terms of feeding corruption, fuelling wars and fuelling dependency. Aid spends on education, health and women’s rights, but fails to recognise that health, educated people need jobs. The solutions are therefore political and economic. It’s as if we give them ladders then swipe the ladder away from them when they’re on the bottom rung and send them bandages and soup. Aid in this sense will never stop as it reinforces itself.

The only other interesting observation was on the nature of protest. He gave a withering critique of carline Lucas’s statement after being elected, to the effect that she’s would first and foremost protect the interests of Brighton and her constituents. Not the world, Europe, UK, England or even Sussex, but Brighton! Then came the attack on the NO-sayers. We Brits love a little march to say NO to something. We’ll trivialise politics by saying no to cuts, no to the closure of the most inefficient of schools and hospitals, NO to Tesco, No to anything. We rarely say YES to anything and that’s the problem.

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