RICHARD Darlington answers well Niall Simpson’s disparaging comment on foreign aid.

His point can be taken further. So long as an untreated sump of infection remains elsewhere in countries that lack the means to deal with it, in cities, in refugee camps, in places where large numbers of people unavoidably gather and exchange infections, the world at large will continue to be at risk.

This is a new disease. It might not kill the numbers of the 1918 “Spanish” flu, but it kills enough to be dangerous and disruptive. It is a global problem, and requires global answers.

The financial crash of 2008 was a global problem, and the leading economic nations came together to limit the damage. On that occasion Gordon Brown had the credentials on economic matters to command the necessary international respect to call a meeting and find agreement on coordinated action.

We now need an international statesman or stateswoman of perhaps even greater understanding and stature to provide the necessary leadership for international action in the interest of all of us. Cometh the hour...?

It is, of course, an imperative of very basic, common humanity. But Mr Simpson should note that self-interest makes the same demand.

Barry Tempest

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