Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 29 January 2010

Gates Foundation pledges USD10bn over 10 years for vaccine research

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has today pledged to provide USD10bn over 10 years for vaccine research, in a speech at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. Amazing - and pretty wonderful, too. It is good to know that there are positive things going on the world.

I'm currently watching (as I have been since 9.30am) former Prime Minister Tony Blair give his evidence before the Chilcot Inquiry; I'm not so sure any of this exercise is particularly 'helpful', other than as a political 'point-scoring' exercise.


  1. Bill Gates' altruism sparks a very unworthy thought in relation to the acquisitiveness of our late Dear Leader, who seems to have more houses than anyone could reasonably live in (and still, I gather, sponges off rich 'friends for his holidays) and his oft proclaimed christian ethics.

  2. I don't really want to get into discussing the ethics of TB in this article.

    As for altruism, there is a long tradition in the US of the wealthy and super-wealthy divesting themselves of significant portions of their wealth for the benefit of others. This happens in other countries too, of course, including the UK, but I think the US tax code is helpful in encouraging this. Carnegie (a Scot by birth) started this a long time ago and many others have since done similar things, whether Getty, Rockefeller and now Gates and Buffett. You'll know there was also another super-wealthy Scot recently who did more or less the same.

  3. I'm not so sure any of this exercise is particularly 'helpful'

    Understatement of the year.

  4. James

    LOL. In fact I was a supporter of the Iraq initiative and remain so - it is one of the few things (if not perhaps the only thing) that Tony Blair did that I supported.

    My motives, as I wrote in my blog at the time, had NOTHING to do with whether WMD existed there or not, but if belief they existed was what it took for them to act to get rid of this monster I was happy enough; I have both Iraqi and Koweiti friends who suffered at Saddam's hands or those of his henchmen and I am not remotely sorry his regime has been dispatched into history.

    I always suspected there might be political consequences for Blair and some of his cronies in due course - this is not of any concern to me, indeed it is one of the collateral benefits of the whole matter so far as I am concerned; I think I wrote here along those lines at the time, too. So far as I am concerned he (and GWB for that matter) were merely 'useful tools' to achieve what I think needed to happen - if they had had the guts to go against Mugabe I would have been happy too.


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