The numbers which are coming in of the casualities in south-east Asia are just incomprehensible. I have tried in the past to put the September 11 attacks, terrible as they were, in perspective by pointing out that twelve times as many people die every day from starvation. Current estimates are that nearly 40 times as many died last Sunday.

Now, I’m very proud that my country has pledged more than any other country to help with disaster relief for the tsunami victims. The UK, at nearly $100M, is offering more than twice as much as the rest of the EU and nearly three times as much as the US, for example – astonishing in itself.

But it’s still a small amount of money in global terms. Estimates of the cost of the ongoing Iraq conflict run to more than that per day. Wouldn’t it be good if our governments spent even a tiny fraction of the amount of money on saving innocent people that they spend on killing them?

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