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Winds of change

I remember as a child when the Gold Coast was given independence from Britain. Harold Macmillan’s optimistic “winds of change” speech made decolonisation seem the right thing to do, and Ghana became the first African ex-colony. Whilst ruled by the British the Gold Coast had an economy larger than South Korea’s or Malaysia’s, abundant supplies of gold and cocoa, and an efficient educational system and civil service.

Today it is a much poorer country with much reduced life expectancy, and most people living on 50p a day. The present government is said to have sound economic policies, but we note that according to the Times, a fleet of 50 Mercedes, 50 BMWs, and 30 Jaguars will ferry Africa’s elite to a huge party to celebrate the 50th anniversary. It is unlikely there was quite so much conspicuous consumption in colonial days. Marxist-inspired economies the world over have failed to serve their people well, but they serve their leaders very well.

It’s time for some new winds of change in Africa. And in Britain.