Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Disaster tourism

Well, he got his photo-opportunity and a nice collection of snaps for the next party brochure – to say nothing of the website. And what better for the leader of the caring-sharing Girlie Party to be cuddling a nice, carefully sanitised little black baby. How sweet!

But the Boy is only one of a long line of disaster tourists to visit the camps outside the Sudanese town of El Fasher. They have received a host of world leaders. Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Jack Straw have witnessed the dust and despair of its shelters. Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, joined the list last month.

According to The Times, however, the stream of politicians has caused frustration within the ranks of aid workers. "The problems here are well known and these camps are pretty well managed," a humanitarian official in El Fasher said. "It would be more productive for people to go elsewhere and raise the profile of some of the other, more-neglected areas."

The Boy will have plenty of time to reflect on this issue as he flies back from Africa in Lord Ashcroft's private Falcon jet, lent to him for the occasion. We know the great hardship he will have suffered in getting there and back, from a brochure which tells us that:

…the beautiful design, unrivalled comfort and outstandingly high performance put the Falcon 900 in a class of its own. From its large cabin to the innovative flight deck and proven technology, this wide body business jet redefines business jet travel.
Nevertheless, the Boy's aides are anxious to tell us that trip was "carbon neutral", and the Girlie Party is paying for the planting of carbon-absorbing trees to match the greenhouse gases generated.

We are sure the refugees in Darfur will be mightly impressed.


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