The Old Vic production of Just for One Day tells the story of the Live Aid Concert of July 13, 1985.

The Live Aid Concert was a momentous occasion as leading musicians from across the world came together to put on an momentous show to raise money to alleviate famine in Ethiopia.

David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Status Quo, The Who and Queen were among those who performed at Wembley while other concerts were simultaneously performed around the world.

The Old Vic production tells the story of how Boomtown Rats lead singer, Bob Geldof and lead singer of Ultravox Midge Ure, with the help of a few others, made it happen.

A shout out here for Wanstead resident, Jackie Clune, who plays a central role, as narrator, Suzanne, in the production.

Just for One Day brought back memories of the 1980s, raising money to combat poverty and people coming together for change.

These actions by hundreds of thousands of young people were rather against the political narrative of the time when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and the response of her government to crises like the famine in Ethiopia was grudging, to put it mildly.

The musical covers how Thatcher was dragged along with the popular clamour to act. Never slow to see a good PR opportunity, she clambered aboard.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan remembers the 1985 Live Aid concert Paul Donovan remembers the 1985 Live Aid concert

The Live Aid/Band Aid extravaganzas bred a whole plethora of charitable enterprises headed by celebs looking for good PR - from Comic Aid and Sport Relief to Children in Need.

All do great work but all are about charity. They are not about changing the unjust structures that create the crises in the first place. At best, they are a plaster on the wound (a band-aid), at worst an excuse to not act.

The charity versus justice question was illustrated to me a few years ago when campaigning for refugees locally. A church congregation reacted with great generosity to a call for clothing, foodstuffs etc to support refugees.

There was though, decidedly less interest in examining why the refugees had fled their own countries seeking sanctuary elsewhere.

Today, things seem to have come full circle since 1985. The country is richer now than then, yet food banks proliferate. Feeding the world has taken on a wider meaning.

Tory politicians praise the institution of food banks rather than hang their heads in shame that they have become necessary

Charity will always be needed but charity must never obfuscate the need to attain justice. Only then can the real obstacle to a more equal, just world be attained.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (