Give us another one

Thursday 15th February 2018

Our former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague makes a strong case for not cutting aid after and of course during the Oxfam scandal.

The UK far exceeds  the Nordic countries, Holland and France in our generosity  – and he says that to reduce our aid would  damage ‘our own national interest and our ability to deal with one of the biggest problems heading our way’.

Conflating his view, it’s that the swelling populations of Africa and the ‘Middle Eastern nations’ means that the youngest and poorest people in the world will live close to Europe.

He continues – ‘when you consider that Germany’s current political paralysis was largely caused by the reaction to the arrival of a million refugees and that there are about to be 1.5 billion extra people in the Africa and the Middle East, you can begin to imagine the implications.’

So some of the answer is good education, healthcare, a strong role for women and giving young people opportunities..

I’m sure this litany is something you’ve heard many times before.

On aid, then, Mr Haig says ‘the public needs to know the money is being spend carefully and properly. This means being able to show that there is a strategy agreed across government..that charities which spend millions of pounds of aid should be held to the same standards as the public sector and government officials.’

Dream on – the sad facts of public sector life in the UK and wherever ‘aid’ or ‘charity’ goes beyond our shores is that if it isn’t your own money then you don’t care. When public money or ‘aid’ is concerned, who can be held to be accountable for what ?

On the horrible front line of famine and disaster, who does the accounts when faced with human tragedy ?

Which corrupt African dynasties altered their ways after ‘aid’? Which cycle of drought and plenty has changed? Why would they?

Of course Hague puts his finger on the issues – but who’s going to have the courage to improve and monitor the unfailing generosity of us all in this country. It’ll take a big person to broadcast all this  properly – we dial goodwill, our transmission is easy – reception is the problem.


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