Alex Singleton moved from the Adam Smith Institute to set up The Globalization Institute (which as far as I can tell is just him, with a couple of guest appearances from the irrepressible Tim Worstall). Sweetly, Mr Singleton refers to himself as "we" – The Royal We – presumably to bolster the illusion that he is in charge of an organisation. That’s OK with me. I always thought Walter Mitty was harmless. For the record, I’m also just an opinionated bloke with a laptop. But it does frustrate me that the Globalisation Institute blog does not accept comments (unless I have missed something). Some of what "The Royal We" writes is such tosh that it richly deserves to be thoroughly fisked. The latest posting is an example. We are told that a poll has found that:
The majority of people do not believe the Live 8 concerts and demonstrations at the G8 summit will have any significant effect in tackling poverty in Africa, according to a new poll. In a survey carried out by YouGov/Sky News only 16 per cent of respondents thought the concerts in London and cities round the world would make a significant difference. Only 6pc believe the demonstrations outside the summit at Gleneagles in July, called for by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, will have any real impact on poverty. Instead nearly three-quarters of people believe decisions taken by governments in Africa have the biggest impact on the continent’s economy and standard of living.
Well, doh! I don’t suppose that even St. Geldof thinks that having a rock concert in Hyde Park or a demonstration in Edinburgh is, by itself, going to reduce poverty in Africa (if only it were that simple). The point of the concert and the demonstration is to put pressure on the G8 Heads of Government to make decisions which will enable those governments in Africa to take the decisions which three quarters of those polled believe – rightly – are so important for reducing poverty. If we reduce trade barriers, give debt relief, and give more and better aid, then Governments in Africa can get on with doing just that. And that will only happen if the governments of the rich world believe that it is in their political interests to do so. And that is the point of the concerts and the demonstrations. Perhaps this is too complicated for the Royal We to hoist in?