The great divide


The world seems to be irreconcilably divided into two diametrically opposed realms of feeling and fear. These worlds do not talk to each other, they talk at each other. There is the realm of those who feel The Shame And Peril Of Living In A No-Abortion State and those who in equal measure feel The Shame And Peril Of Living In An Abortion State.  The measure of difference between those two sound bites is the word “No” but the measure of difference between the sentiments expressed is as an abyss.

The first is a tweet signaling another volley of rifle-fire, in the form of a blog post, at the down-but-not-out opposing army. It is totally devoid of the slightest suggestion that there is any point in listening to what they might have to say in defence of their case against “an abortion State”. These are two forces at war, and it is not pretty.

The measure of shame and peril felt on each side may be relatively equal, but the measure of power exercised by one side of the divide over the other is not.

In a recent Irish Times article Gavin Boyne drew attention to the way in which the most extreme advocates of abortion had now captured the engines of social and health policy in Ireland and were molding them into their own image and serving the culture of death. But not only are they doing so in Ireland. They are seeking to work their way around the globe in pursuit of their goal.

The chairwoman of a U.N. commission, in the face of objections from more than one member state, recently forced the adoption of a measure that implicitly promotes abortion. Who is this woman? She is Irish ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, who is recognised within the U.N. as a woman who has dedicated her life to using the Organisation to promote abortion around the world – which is probably why the government of the world’s newest Abortion State has appointed her as its ambassador there.

Controversy erupted a few months ago at the annual conference of the Commission on the Status of Women, when Byrne Nason, ignoring objections by two countries, forced the adoption of a document that promises “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services” for citizens of member states. In the language of this war, that means only one thing.

The hearing on whether to adopt the “agreed conclusion,” which involves “a set of concrete recommendations for governments, intergovernmental bodies and other institutions,” came after weeks of negotiations. It was held at the U.N. headquarters in New York late on the evening of March 22, after translators had gone home. When Byrne Nason asked exhausted delegates whether any country had an objection, diplomats from both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain spoke, citing a slew of language dealing with sexuality and the family that “disregards important red lines” for them.

The delegate from Bahrain claimed that during the negotiation process he was “bullied and harassed” by high-ranking U.N. officials and senior Commission members, “in terms of threatening me to go back to my capital, talk to my royal family to pull me out of the negotiation.” Again, language says it all. Islamophobia anyone?

The Muslim countries objected to “multiple references to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”.  But Byrne Nason was having none of it. “I hear no objection. It is so decided,” the ambassador responded as she banged her gavel.  The Bahraini and Saudi Arabian diplomats protested, but to no avail.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” a U.N. expert who advises member states on legal issues told National Review. The source characterized Byrne Nason as the “primary villain” in the situation who has “clearly dedicated her life and her work to advancing the abortion agenda at the U.N.”

A diplomat involved in the negotiation who requested anonymity from the National Review writer to speak on the record called it a “very frustrating session.” “This has never been the way” such negotiations work, the diplomat said. “Everybody needs to be on board.” If even one country rejects the document, the diplomat added, it “automatically means that there’s no agreement.”

The document in question promised, among other things, to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”

United States was not a member of the Commission but did participate in negotiations about the measure. Their team was dismayed that “the clear views of many delegations were not taken into account,” U.S. Ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform Cherith Norman Chalet said in a statement delivered at the March 22 hearing. The U.S. also took issue with the language on “comprehensive education and sexual and reproductive health information.”

The Holy See, Guatemala, Comoros, Bahrain, Belarus, Cameroon, Djibouti, Libya, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Gambia, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe joined the U.S. in expressing concerns about the parts of the document dealing with abortion and neglect of the family, and with the faulty process that led to the document’s adoption.

The unfortunate reality is that some of these countries are still in the early stages of development and have poor records when it comes to dealing with social inequality, economic progress, women’s rights, and more. This firstly allows the wise men and woman in control at the U.N. to denigrate all their values, and secondly, gives an opportunity to the neo-colonial Abortion States to package their very progressivist  policies into their development programmes.

In Ireland, David and Goliath meet again


The forces of so-called progress, namely “progressiveism”, and the forces of reason are mustering on the Island of Ireland. The war has not yet been formally declared. It will be when the Irish Government finally sets a date for a referendum on its Constitution, now due to take place in May or June next year.

Ireland’s progressivists are an embarrassed lot – feeling out of step with their compatriots in the United States, the Island of Britain and the continent of Europe. Among this enlightened elite, poor backward Ireland is still living in the dark ages, continuing “against the tide of History” to regard the child in its mother’s womb as a human being. The international media is keeping up the pressure – hoping that they will see Ireland go from the back of the class right up to the front again, as it did 3 years earlier when it became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by a popular vote.

It is all shaping up to be the greatest and most unequal contest since David faced Goliath. On one side you have the international forces of the United Nations, assorted NGOs led by a shadowy manipulator masquerading as a philanthropist, George Sorros,  by that betrayed organisation, Amnesty International, whose Irish branch is now totally dedicated to the cause of abortion – and about ninety percent of the national media. On the other side you have a very committed but numerically limited and terribly underfunded platoon of pro-life action groups defending the unborn.

Pope Francis is expected to visit Ireland in August next year. The clever progressives in the Irish Government have been very careful to ensure that he was not going to get a platform to speak his mind on the issue in any way that would have a serious impact on the result. For that reason the referendum will take place in the first half of 2018. They have no such reservations about letting the un-elected United Nations quangos have their say on the matter.

But the pro-life workers know the story of David and Goliath. They also know that in their sling they have a small still voice more powerful than anything this Goliath can throw at them and the unborn. They have the truth, the truth about our nature and about our humanity. They feel that if they can tell the story of life then the deception of abortion will be exposed – along with the untruth that choice and freedom are synonymous. All this, they hope, will be seen by the people of Ireland to be the lie that it is.

“Only the freedom which submits to the Truth leads the human person to his true good. The good of the person is to be in the Truth and to do the Truth”.

The denial of the truth inherent in the pro-choice ideology, a denial made in the face of human nature and science, enslaves its adherents – even as they demand their false autonomy.

That quote above is from Saint John Paul’s Veritatis Splendor.  It speaks not just to the Christian but to all mankind.

He also spells out, in the same magna carta on behalf of Truth, the reasons for the cul-de-sac into which progressivism has led us, and it’s dire consequences.

“This essential bond between Truth, the Good and Freedom has been largely lost sight of by present-day culture… Pilate’s question: “What is truth” reflects the distressing perplexity of a man who often no longer knows who he is, whence he comes and where he is going. Hence we not infrequently witness the fearful plunging of the human person into situations of gradual self- destruction. According to some, it appears that one no longer need acknowledge the enduring absoluteness of any moral value. All around us we encounter contempt for human life after conception and before birth; the ongoing violation of basic rights of the person; the unjust destruction of goods minimally necessary for a human life. Indeed, something more serious has happened: man is no longer convinced that only in the truth can he find salvation. The saving power of the truth is contested, and freedom alone, uprooted from any objectivity, is left to decide by itself what is good and what is evil.”

So let the battle be engaged. Nine months – the likely span of time between now and this crucial moment of truth for the Irish people, and indeed the watching world, is a symbolic duration. The great art historian, Kenneth Clark, from the precipice of Skellig Michael off the coast of Kerry, long before Star Wars arrived there, once spoke of Western civilization hanging by its fingernails from those rocks. Perhaps history will repeat itself.


This, yes this, is the human and civil rights issue of our time

LifeSiteNews this morning reports ( on how a group of Irish families, backed by one of the country’s small band of fearless pro-life politicianshave joined with international medical experts and disability advocacy groups to launch the Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care at the United Nations.

Last night in Dublin a crowd of thousands gathered outside the Irish parliament to protest against media bias on the issue of abortion in the country. The Irish Times this morning reported “several hiundred”. How about that for a sample of bias? The crowd listened with subdued anger for an hour as speaker after speaker told them stories about the saving of lives, stories exposing the culture of destruction of the unborn and stories of harm suffered by women which national media in the country have ignored. 

A section of the crowd at last night’s demonstration in Dublin

 Ireland’s Pro-Life campaign late last year analysed a sample of two weeks’ mainstream media coverage of health-related stories and found a ratio of 33:1 stories favouring the culture of abortion as opposed to a culture of life. While the demonstration – attended by people from all over the country – focussed on media bias related to the life issue it might equally have shone the light on a number of other social issues where slanted media coverage is angering that percentage of the Irish public which still places value on the common good over rampant individualism.

Some wondered why the demonstration was held outside the Irish parliament. There are probably two answers to that. Firstly, media bias is so rampant across all national general newspapers and broadcasting organisations that selection of the offices of just one would have been invidious. Secondly, the elected represenatives are perceived by the frustrated Irish public as being cowed into submission to political correctness by the pundits who dominate the newpaper colums, the chat shows and current affairs programmes.

Currently a very flawed Children and Family Relationships Bill is being rushed through the Dåil (the Irish parliament’s lower house) with backing from all parties. The Bill is the darling of the media and has been allowed to get to this stage without the normal scrutiny given to proposed legislation. 

Over the past two months there was general media moaning because a proposal from pro-abortion deputy, Clare Daly for the abortion of children diagnosed with “fatal feotal abnormalities” was rejected – depuies had no choice but to reject it because it would have been unconstitutional. It would have passed easily had Ireland’s Constitution not given its protection to the unbond child’s right to life. No one is under any illusions about the real intentions of Ms. Daly –  the overturning of this right. 

This group of Irish families taking the issue to the UN is flying directly in he face of this contrary campaign. Last night’s meeting heard numerous stories of instances where unborn children were diagnosed with feotal abnormalities and yet were born, treated, and now live normal happy lives.

The Geneva Declaration, which is the centerpiece to a a global campaign to end disability discrimination caused by the  ‘incompatible with life’ label, has already been signed by more than 200 medical practitioners and researchers and 27 disability and advocacy NGOs.  It aims to improve care for mother and baby where a life-limiting condition has been diagnosed before or after birth.

 At the Geneva event, entitled ‘Achieving excellence in Perinatal care; Babies with a illness and disability deserve better than abortion’ families from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Spain, and Switzerland said that the label ‘incompatible with life’ was not a medical diagnosis and was causing “lethal discrimination against children diagnosed with severe disabilities, both before and after birth”.

The conference was addressed by Dr Ana Martin Ance an expert in perinatal hospice care, who said that, in her experience, families benefited hugely from supportive care which allowed them to spend time with their children, whose short lives had meaning and value.

Barbara Farlow, whose ground-breaking research led to a new understanding of the experiences of families where children had a life-limiting condition, said that the label ‘incompatible with life’ had been shown to lead to sub-optimal care after birth and that the phrase dehumanised children.

In a moving presentation, Grace Sharp, Derbhille McGill, Sarah Nugent and Sarah Hynes from Ireland spoke about the love and joy their children had brought to them in their short lives.

“My daughter, Lilly Joy, was alive and kicking inside of me and then she fought so hard to have four hours with us after birth before slipping peacefully away. All she knew was love,” Grace Sharp told the conference.

They were joined by Spanish family Francisco Lancha & Macarena Mata who said the right to life of children with disabilities had been seriously eroded.

The Independent TD from Tipperary , Mattie Mc Grath, said that he was delighted to support the global campaign and welcomed news that politicians in Spain, the US and Northern Ireland had expressed support for the initiative.

Professor Giuseppe Benegiano , former director of special programmes for the UN, said that the UN should give support for this important initiative against disability discrimation.

Prof Bogdan Chazan, an eminent obstetrician from Poland said that babies with a challenging diagnosis deserved better care than abortion.

Tracy Harkin of ELC who launched the Declaration states that: ‘As medical practitioners and researchers, we declare that the term “incompatible with life” is not a medical diagnosis and should not be used when describing unborn children who may have a life-limiting condition’. It  also calls for better perinatal care for families.

Ms Harkin said that the families wanted to challenge the United Nations to recognise the dignity and value of all children with terminal illness and disability.

The UN Convention states that ‘States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children’. The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also states that a child ‘needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’.

“Yet studies show that up to 90% of children with disabilities are aborted before birth. In particular, children with life-limiting conditions are subject to discriminatory language and attitudes which deny them their humanity and their human rights. Families who are told that their baby may not live for long after birth need our full support and holistic perinatal care, but this can only be achieved if misleading and offensive language and attitudes are discontinued,” said Ms Harkin.  


Tanks approaching from the Tiber

From Tienanmen Square to the Via della Conciliazione?

Brendan O’Connor, writer with the Dublin paper, the Sunday Independent went on the rampage against the Catholic Church – again – last weekend  A little in the mold of  The Skibereen Eagle, he is threatening to send  tanks into the Vatican on behalf of the United Nations.

On a more serious level, he is one of growing band of virulently anti-Catholic journalists infecting western media in this new century whose tirades match anything that the anti-Catholic writers of 19th century have left on record. They bring to mind something from the last century which we might have thought was the swan-song of that breed: the contributions to religious debate and ecumenism in the 1960s which used to appear regularly in the Rev. Ian Paisley’s Protestant Telegraph – things like a series entitled “Love Affairs of the Vatican”. Nice bedfellow for Mr O’Connor.

Of course O’Connor had an axe to grind, having been hauled over the coals by the Irish broadcaster, RTE, for landing them in an €80,000+  bowl of soup for defamation. The naivety of the man was astounding, inviting the campest of camp transvestites to name and defame on live television a number of Irish pro-marriage writers and campaigners as being “homophobic”.

In the aftermath of that debacle O’Connor decided to launch into a defence of the United Nation’s latest own goal – its outrageous, arrogant and ignorant rebuke of the Catholic Church which effectively called on it to reformulate the Ten Commandments in the name of the UN’s brand of justice and equality.

Truth is and always has been the first casualty of war and the culture wars are not exception to that particular law of human frailty. Of course the injuries which mark this casualty are more often than not inflicted by way of half-truths and gross exaggerations than by the downright lie. The partial truth missile launched at a target is harder to deflect than the easily refuted barefaced untruth.

Of course there were wretched and renegade clerics at large among the Catholic faithful in the decades following the much vaunted sexual revolution who preyed on vulnerable children as readily as Jimmy Saville and other pop artists and celebrities preyed on the underage groupies who followed in their train; of course there were clerics in authority whose response to the discovery of these aberrations was grossly inadequate – just as were the responses of police and social service personnel; of course the approach of another age to finding solutions to the needs of children thought to be at risk may have failed both children and their parents in terms of principles of justice and charity which are much clearer in our age.

As Caroline Farrow said when she appeared on BBC television to discuss the issue on BBC1′s The Big Questions programme, No right-thinking Catholic wishes to deny or downplay the terrible harm that was caused to victims, a harm that was compounded by the attitude of those within authority who in many cases ignored or disbelieved their claims and some even went so far as to attempt to smear and discredit victims. All of this was contemptible and inexcusable – childhood abuse destroys lives and sets people up with a lifetime of mental health issues.

But truth, she went on to say, is the bedfellow of justice and without it, justice cannot be served. This report lets down the victims by serving a false narrative of orchestrated abuse and a centralised deliberate policy of cover-up, whereas the truth is that the Catholic church is massively decentralised, individual Catholic bishops have a lot more direct canonical power than their Anglican counterparts. Where there were failings this was due to the ineptness at a local level, and if we want to prevent any sort of recurrence then we have to be able to look at what happened and analyse matters objectively. Blaming the Vatican directly is far too glib and simplistic, as well as being erroneous and it lets too many people off the hook, including those members of the laity who colluded with the abuse.

O’Connor begins his diatribe by saying that there wasn’t much new in the UN report. That bit was true. But then he goes on to give his own utterly outrageous take on the whole thing:

The church has a history of trafficking babies, of discriminating against children based on their sexuality or that of their parents, and of allowing children to be abused, of protecting their abusers from the law, of moving abusers around – allowing them to abuse again, and when it came to abuse, of “consistently placing the preservation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests”. The church has even protected priests from their own children, denying children the right to know the identity of their fathers and “only agreeing payments from the church until the child is financially independent only if they [the mothers] sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose any information”.

Then he goes on to show not only his own ignorance but swallows wholesale the ignorant utterances of the United Nations Committee which produced this piece of shameless vitriol which with barefaced arrogance called for a response to it from the Holy See.

The UN report is important, he says, because it treats the church as what it is – a de facto state, geographically dispersed throughout the world certainly, but a metaphysical and legal entity, and therefore, “a sovereign subject of international law having an original non derived legal personality independent of any territorial authority of jurisdiction.”

Make no mistake, if the Holy See was an actual country, we would be at the least boycotting its fruit and at the most sending in the tanks. Here is a state that has institutionalised homophobia, discrimination against women and children, that has systematically overseen the protection of the abusers of tens of thousands of children, protecting abusers from the laws of their host countries. Here is a state that has overseen mass scale trafficking of babies, a state that opposes modern health and sexual education for young women, a state that forces secrecy on children, even those who are victims of sexual abuse.

These guys are up there with China or the worst of Africa in terms of their human rights record. And when you look at it coldly and clearly like that, your blood runs cold. Because instead of shunning this rogue state, we have invited it into the very heart of all our countries, and into the heart of our families.

Wisdom after the event is a dangerous potion. The rash and unjust judgements now being meted out, a la O’Connor and company, to the entire Catholic Church and to the entire spectrum of religious organisations which sought to and did serve the Church and society for centuries, is now perpetrating further injustice.

History will, hopefully, look at this era and see this travesty for what it is, a hate-filled campaign – not for justice for the wronged individual children and adults who suffered in the past. This is a campaign whose objective (foolish and as sure to fail as was the campaign of the pagan Roman Empire against Christianity two thousand years ago) is the destruction of the Christian religion and its removal from the face of the earth.

Not even the Soviet Union tried this

Catholic Voices tells us that the UN watchdog on children’s rights which recently hauled the Vatican over the coals for its handling of sex abuse has today released its recommendations. What is the United Nations up to? Just imagine if this organisation had power to match its arrogance and ignorance. Prepare for Diocletian Mark II.

With breathtaking arrogance, Catholic Voices’ Austen Ivereigh writes, the UN Report tries to change church teaching to bring it line with gender ideologies. In (25) and (26) it peddles the secularist myth that the Church’s teaching that sex is ordained by God for the possibility of procreation within marriage encourages homophobia, and patronisingly suggests that the Holy See condemn all forms of discrimination against gay people — which it does and has done for decades.

The Committee then criticizes contemporary Catholic teaching on sexuality, regretting how “the Holy See continues to place emphasis on the promotion of complementarity and equality in dignity, two concepts which differ from equality in law and practice provided for in Article 2 of the Convention.” In other words, where the Catechism of the Catholic Church fails to comply with the ideology of gender, it must be amended.

Amazingly, the Report also calls (36.) on the Holy See to provide — to whom, it does not say; perhaps via a helpline manned by monsignors? — what it calls “family planning, reproductive health and adequate counselling” to prevent “unplanned pregnancies.” Where this is going becomes clear in (55.), where the Holy See is told to change its teaching on abortion and even to amend canon law “with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.”

Lastly, the Report even lectures the Holy See on how it should interpret Scripture. In (39d) the Holy See is told to “ensure that an interpretation of Scripture as not condoning corporal punishment is reflected in Church teaching”.

Have we reasons to fear this organisation? In a word, on this evidence, “Yes”.

Another UN Trojan Horse Dismantled

At last we have a bit of good news showing that the Irish government can be persuaded to make a stand against the politically correct virus with which other states, endemically afflicted with this disease, seek to infect Irish society. On Monday, 10 October the busy-body UN Human Rights Council published its draft report on Ireland’s human rights record as part of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The report included recommendations from six countries for Ireland to bring in abortion.

Ireland’s Pro Life Campaign once again led the charge against this insidious interference and as an accredited NGO of the United Nations. It was represented by its legal consultant Caroline Simons in Geneva last week at the public session of the UN Human Rights Council prior to the publication of the draft report.

Also there was Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, representing the Government and he was questioned on a wide range of human rights related issues which the UN deemed Ireland’s record was in some way suspect. Some 60 stakeholders and NGOs made submissions to the Universal Periodic Review. The Irish Government accepted many of the recommendations in the report but rejected all the calls relating to abortion.

Commenting on Monday’s UN Human Rights Council report on Ireland, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said:

“The Pro Life Campaign welcomes the decision of the Government not to support recommendations from a number of countries for Ireland to introduce abortion. These calls for abortion legislation fly in the face of the UN’s own recent research showing that Ireland, without abortion, is a world leader in terms of safety for women in pregnancy.[1]

“Maternal safety in Ireland, it should be noted, is better than in the six countries pressurising Ireland to introduce abortion – Holland, Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, Norway and Spain.”

Since Mr. Shatter is someone who as an opposition politician was unambiguously in favour of Ireland introducing legislation for abortion in Ireland – and presumably personally still is – we can be very grateful that that the Irish Constitution still prohibits this legislation and will continue to do so until the people decide otherwise in a referendum. In reality, Ireland’s future generations, that is the unborn, will have to thank the Irish Pro-Life Campaign and its Trojan work to protect this provision of the Irish Constitution for their very existence. Hopefully they will be able to continue to dismantle and disarm the numerous Trojan Horses that the UN and others continue to assail them with.

[1] Report on Maternal Mortality, UN, UNFPA, World Health Organisation, 2010.

Calling All Grumbletonians

Are you a “grumbletonian”? The word – if you can call it that – looks new but is in fact at least 200 years old. You can check it out in Francis Grose’s 1785 Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. It describes, obviously enough, a person who is constantly dissatisfied with life and everything else. We would all rather not be described as such but in the present climate, national or international, it is hard not to succumb to grumbletonianism.

But the trouble with this condition is that it produces a severe partial blindness – we see only the bad and the ugly and miss out on the good. Our current preoccupation with the Great Recession and the political turmoil it has brought in its wake has infected too many of us with this virus. For example, if we were asked to give a summary of the economic developments in the world over the past five or six years what would we come up with? Or if asked to compile the top ten headlines of world news over the same period what would the list look like? It would be replete with economic chaos stories, power-shifts deemed to be of an ominous kind, debt and dropping standards of living. Certainly, there would seem to be very little to cheer about.

But in fact there is a great deal to cheer about. The dramatic changes of the past few years have not all been bad. Indeed, perhaps, the dominant and potentially more permanent change has been very good news indeed. Two fellows of the Brookings Institution in Washington, Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz, in a recent article in the Financial Times, have drawn our attention to one very good piece of news. In the years between 2005 and 2010 more people have been lifted out of poverty than has ever been done before in the history of the world, over such a short period.

Poverty has been defined by the United Nations and the World Bank as the condition of those people who are living on less than $1.25 a day. In 2005 that left a total of 1.37 billion people across the world below the poverty line – about one third of them in China and about 208 million in India. The World Bank has not updated its figures since then but the Brookings Institution has now produced a report which updates the picture and the change is, to put it mildly, very encouraging.

Their estimate is that between 2005 and 2010, nearly half a billion people escaped extreme hardship, as the total number of the world’s poor fell to 878 million people. “Never before in history”, Chandry and Gertz maintain, “have so many people been lifted out of poverty in such a short period. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals established the target of halving the rate of global poverty between 1990 and 2015; this was probably achieved by 2008, some seven years ahead of schedule. Moreover, using forecasts of per capita consumption growth, we predict that by 2015, fewer than 600 million people will remain poor. At that point, the 1990 poverty rate will have been halved and then halved again.”

Now, should we not call that progress?

This decline in poverty is universal. It is happening in all the world’s regions and most of its countries, though at varying speeds. The emerging markets of Asia are recording the greatest successes; the two regional giants, China and India, are likely to account for three-quarters of the global reduction between 2005 and 2015. Over this period, Asia’s share of the world’s poor is anticipated to fall from two-thirds to one-third, while Africa’s share is expected to rise to nearly 60 percent. Yet Africa, too, is making advances; they estimate that in 2008 its poverty rate dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time. By 2015, African poverty is projected to fall below 40 percent, a feat China did not achieve until the mid-1990s.

“These findings are likely to surprise many, but they shouldn’t,” they conclude. “We know that growth lies at the heart of poverty reduction. As the growth of developing countries took off in the new millennium, epitomized by the rise of emerging markets, a massive drop in poverty was only to be expected.

“With few exceptions, however, those who care about global development have been slow to catch on to this story. We hear far more about the 64 million people held back in poverty because of the Great Recession than we do about the hundreds of millions who escaped impoverishment over the past six years. While there is good reason to focus public attention on the need to support those still stuck below the poverty line, there is also reason to celebrate successes and to ensure that policy debates are grounded in reality.”

If all this is a by-product – in part anyway – of emerging economies unsettling the global status quo, and consequent power-shifts, perhaps we should be happy to set aside our silly and self-centred worries about loss of hegemony and start cheering again. So, let us all ease up on the grumbling. There is some really good news out there .