"While the G8 agreement commits the richest countries to increase aid and write off the debt of 18 countries, it requires developing countries to pursue a raft of free-market policies. The G8 is united behind this agenda, which Britain has taken a lead in pushing. Gordon Brown’s new deal talks of the poorest and richest countries "each meeting our obligations". Poor countries’ obligations are to "create the conditions for new investment" and "more favourable business environments" while "opening up trade". Only in return for these will rich countries provide aid and debt relief and open up their markets. One might think that countries where poverty kills thousands every day have no obligations towards the rich. But in the world of Brown and the G8, they are to help western companies make more profits by pursuing policies that have increased poverty and inequality from Ghana to Zambia… It’s a cheap strategy, too – last month’s G7 finance ministers deal cut in aid what countries got in debt relief…

"The basic aim of British elites has traditionally been to help companies get their hands on other countries’ resources. Secret 1960s files state that "we should bend our energies to help produce a world economic climate in which our external trade, our income from invisibles and our balance of payments can prosper". The key was to protect sources of raw materials in the Middle East and southern Africa by promoting "freer" global trade and "increasing our efforts to open up new markets".

"Postwar planners never intended to allow African countries to be truly independent. After decolonisation, they sought to establish pro-western elites – like those who now welcome the G8 agreements – and impose indirect economic rule through levers such as aid. The Attlee government, which established the aid programme in 1948, drained millions from Africa to help Britain’s postwar recovery. Current development policies are ways to control nominally independent economies in a post-imperial world."

And again, this is a sinister coin that’s paid out on both sides of the Atlantic.

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