TWENTY years on from Live Aid and nothing has really changed - Bob Geldof has gone grey but he is still swearing at us in manic frustration.

And it is because nothing has changed that the forthcoming Live 8 events in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Rome and Berlin are of such huge importance.

For all that Live Aid is remembered as a momentous and joyous day, raising millions for Ethiopia, it was merely a finger in the dyke in terms of world poverty.

What Live 8 aims to achieve is vastly more significant. Its objective is not to raise money but to apply political pressure to force world leaders fundamentally to change their attitudes to African nations where 50,000 people die every day from extreme poverty.

It may be idealistic to expect world leaders attending the G8 summit in Edinburgh in July to eradicate world debt and resolve trade and aid issues.

But the beauty of Bob Geldof is that he aims for the stars, believes they can be reached, and has the ability to make others share his vision.

Those global leaders who gather in Gleneagles next month will dine very well indeed. Live 8 is an opportunity for the world to stand together and make them understand that we all share a responsibility to wipe out extreme poverty and starvation.

We hope the events of July 2 are the success they need to be - such a success that, unlike Live Aid, they make a lasting difference.