I’m quoted in today’s Scotsman newspaper about the forthcoming G8 meeting.
Above all, however, he vowed to concentrate on the plight of Africa and climate change. The priorities have not changed. This week he and Gordon Brown face the task of making good on their progress so far. "The [UK’s] objectives for the summit are ambitious but achievable if our political leaders are willing to give sufficient priority to them," said Owen Barder, a former official from the Department of International Development who works at the Washington-based Centre for Global Development. "In Whitehall parlance, they are ‘stretching’. The aid and debt targets are achievable: compared to other public spending programmes, only modest additional resources are needed, and straightforward institutional changes would improve the impact of aid. The trade objectives will be more difficult." ‘Stretching’ is an apt description of Blair’s negotiating stance. Despite the ground-breaking deal to relieve 100% of debts owed to international institutions by the world’s poorest countries, a number of Britain’s G8 partners remain reluctant to go further.