Check out what these leading British liberal lights think about the world's reaction to the tsunami tragedy and whether ... 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty:
THE RIGHT REV TIM STEVENS, Bishop of Leicester
I am hopeful, but we must see a real commitment to changing the economic relationships between the West and the poorer countries. As well as charitable giving, we need to tackle these fundamental issues.
I'd like to think he's advocating free trade, but sadly, I doubt it.
RORY BREMNER, Comedian
On an individual level, it is not just about what we are prepared to give, but what we are prepared to give up. Having left Afghanistan and Iraq in their wake, can our leaders be trusted to fight a war on poverty?
What we are prepared to give up? So one's commitment to progressivism is now measured by how regressive we need to be? Bloody freedom, overrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, in't it guvner? To paraphrase California's governor in Commando, "You're a funny man Rory, that's why I'm going to kill you last."
KANYA KING, Founder, Mobo awards
No longer can we exist in isolation when we see lives and livelihoods being destroyed. All of us need to be pro-active to change things, but we have shown that public opinion and the media can influence government.
No longer must tens of thousands of people die for this vise-like grasp on the short and curly hairs of the obvious to take hold in Kanya King's brain.
STEPHEN TINDALE, Executive director, Greenpeace
It seems churlish to say it, but while it's relatively easy for most of us to give £50, it would be much harder for us to make the changes in our modern lifestyles that are needed if we are to move to a fairer world.
Seems? No, I think you've got churlish spot on old boy.
DR GHAYASUDDIN SIDDIQUI, Leader of Muslim Parliament
Compassion, care and concern for mankind joins each of us - whatever our faith or ethnicity. The tragedy has shown there is a formula on which all mankind can be united to help each other. Mankind has moved forward.
Bloody hell, how'd that bit of common sense creep in here? But let's hope it doesn't always take a world class tragedy to get us to work together.
BILL BAILEY, Comedian
It was the same after 11 September. Everyone said it was a great opportunity to try to understand the world but it was used by the US as a reason to go on a rampaging adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Note: Why the Independent keeps turning to "comedians" for serious geopolitical commentary is something I haven't figured out yet, though apparently liberating Afghanistan and Iraq seems to have taken the piss out of a number of them. Have they been deprived of a source of material or something?
MO MOWLAM, Former cabinet minister
I think most people will simply forget. Some charities say people will even forget how much they pledged to give. I wish it would change our attitudes to other people in other countries, but I'm afraid that it won't.
That's the spirit, bloody proles can't be bothered to remember how miserable their existences are. No Mo-mentum here, though Mo's got that whole Right Said Ed "other" thing down pat. What's the matter, did the Independent lose Clare Short's number?
SIR JONATHON PORRITT, Environmentalist
The response reveals a deep sense of empathy that could be of lasting value. If it is just a philanthropic flash, then we have seen those before, but if people gain a sense of their interdependence, we will be better off.
"We are the world, we are the children..." Uh huh.
DINOS CHAPMAN, Artist
Western capitalism demands that people must be impoverished. I cannot think that anything will change this year, because we are the ones who have made the world the way it is. I don't believe in altruism.
No, no, western capitalism only demands that small-minded, self-centered artists be impoverished. But Dinos' last comment indicates he's somewhat confused about this whole philosophy thing.
LORD HURD OF WESTWELL, Former foreign secretary
The danger is that resources which might have gone to Africa will go to this instead. While huge publicity continues to be given to the tsunami, human beings are killing each other in Iraq, and places like Darfur.
One of which is in fact in Africa! I am reminded of something Ian Hislop once said in reference to his Lordship on Have I Got News For You, "Rhyming slang, rhymes with turd." Of course, being a politician and having to prioritize your actions given limited resources is such a bitch.
SIR MAX HASTINGS, Journalist and historian
We have to bear in mind that we have been here before. There have been tragedies before, and many fine things have been said, a lot of them by the US. We just have to hope that in this case they will follow through.
We've been here before? And Sir Max is a historian? Sure, journalist I can understand, but an historian? I can think of three things in the last sixty years that killed more than one-hundred thousand people in as short a time, and the first two involved the use of atomic weapons and were not immediately followed by an outpouring of sympathy from the American people. One thing you should remember about the US though Sir Max -- when we decide to follow through, we can follow through.
J G BALLARD, Novelist
It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs mankind has ever experienced if we pooled our wealth in order to look after the poorer people of the world. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.
No, it won't. But sadly, I don't think J G has a clue as to why.
SUE MACGREGOR, Broadcaster
I hope politicians will take note of the public reaction. But it is difficult to tell whether it will do anything to change the way politicians see things, when our own Prime Minister chose not to break his holiday.
Nose to the grindstone Tony, never let up. Isn't it funny how poorly understood democracy seems to be, even amongst those who claim to be its protectors? Gosh I bet Sue's just the life of the party down at the pub.
TONY BENN, Former cabinet minister
It may make people realise that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that.
Thank goodness his title starts with the word "former." How about we start with the IRA and Al Qaeda, eh Tony?
SIR RICHARD BRANSON, Entrepreneur
I think that politicians must realise that people do care about these issues and want them to do more. If 2005 could become the year when people make a real effort, then it could make a real difference.
Paraphrasing Homer Simpson: "Stupid fake efforts of the past." Suddenly, picking Sir Richard for the 2005 Dead Pool doesn't seem in quite such bad taste.
Listen, all of you. Get up off your collective asses and do something about the problems in the world around you instead of wringing your hands and expecting your government to do it all on your behalf. When you grasp this subtle nuance of how Americans approach problems, perhaps we'll all be able to work a little more closely together in the future. Until then, sod off.
Oh, and Rory, "I lied."
P.S. Note to Rory and Sir Richard, its a bloody joke. Ok? Feel the irony. Embrace the irony. Be the irony.