Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I have no issues with the UK, which for all its poverty is a relatively rich country, helping people who are starving or who have suffered horrific natural disaster, whether they are dirt poor (Haiti) or fairly well off (New Zealand).

It would be heartless and inhumane, too, not to provide some sort of help to countries whose climates have changed (for whatever reason) and where desertification or flooding has changed their ways of life (Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Chad).

And surely man-made disasters, which demand our help, should have what we can afford to give.

I have often watched on television a disaster unfold, frequently in a developing country, and wondered how on earth our hospitals, police, fire brigades, charities and most of all government organisers would cope. Not too terribly well if the wee bit snow we had in November and December is any indication.

I sometimes wonder, though, why we have continued to give aid to countries like China and India, which should, all things being equal, be offering aid to us.

I also have no problems at all with the government ensuring that we are kept as safe as possible from terrorists, whether they come from the east... or the west; although I sometimes think that they have a damned funny way of going about it... poking their untrained and naive noses into things about which they know nothing.

Now I would normally t
hink it a good thing to kill two birds with one stone, but I am highly suspicious of the government’s plans to reduce aid to some of the world’s poorest countries and concentrate help in countries where there are security issues that might impact upon Britain.

This means taking money away form some of the poorest nations in the world. That can't be right, can it? Not while we are still giving to countries who have space programmes and nuclear weapons.

If we have international development aid... a large, and ever growing sum of money, then let us spend it where it is most needed to lift people out of poverty and illness. Let us see it do some good, possibly by targeting it on things which are needed, and paying only for them... nothing else. (We have enough greedy bent politicians in the UK without having to feather bed foreign ones too.)

But if, in these hard times, we cannot afford to defend ourselves against unrest around the world and we need to transfer some of the aid budget to defence, then so be it. The first duty of government is to defend the nation.

But let us not pretend it is international development money... and let us be honest enough not to count it as part of the obligatory membership fee of the G8.

That just makes us look cheap and cheesy.

Pics: (1) Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development: rumour has it that he develops quite a bit of tax free profit for himself in the British Virgin Islands. He doesn't look too happy in the picture. Shame. (2) Famine because of drought in Kenya. Helping in a place like this is likely to mean that fewer young people will leave their country for Europe, to find work, food, and money to send back to their starving families.

Post Script: Interesting article here. Thanks to my mum for bringing it to my attention.


  1. Seems India, Pakistan and China will be in line for a bit less next year as the Vatican got first dibs on the cash.

  2. Now it seems that “call me”s foreign policy is all at sea as well. Twenty four hours after telling everyone that the RAF would help enforce a no fly zone over Libya it was announce that two further squadrons of fighters would be axed. I suppose we are going to rent an air force from France! It’s getting to be even more hilarious than Labour’s “ethical foreign policy”.

    They better hurry up and get those 15 spin doctors in to stop them making these ridiculous blunders while there is still someone in the UK that thinks these idiots know the difference between their arse and their armpits!

    Did anybody else get humpty-dumpty the pickled egg’s e-mail about openness in local government spending? And how vital it is that we hold town halls to account for all spending over £500. It’s our money after all! Never mind the fact that we can no longer know anything at all about the spending of the Royal family, thanks to the Tories. Is that not our money too? There was a link to find out what your local council is spending. So I typed in “Dundee City” and was directed to the contact us page of Dundee City Council. Thanks Eric, job well done then! Oh yea you stupid fat prune....your perfidious influence does not in actual fact reach to Scotland does it? Maybe the spin doctor allocated to your department could start by suggesting that you do not send e-mails to potential voters on Tory HQs database that are in Scotland!

    I think it’s hilarious that the great bloated northern toad has got off to such a good start that he has upset English local councils of all hues (Labour, Lib Dem and Tory). But like all “working class” northern/midlands Tories (Mrs Thatcher springs to mind) he has to be more Tory than the real Tories so no sign at all of the U-turn at his department. I’m guessing that it will come and when it does it will be a whopper! Let’s see how many English councils the Tories and Lib Dems can hold on to in May shall we?

  3. Sorry, I didn’t get round to saying anything about Mr Mitchell and the ring-fenced International Development budget. Mr M is a great advert for the difference between tax evasion and avoidance, he roundly condemns one, but willingly embraces the other; by salting away squillions in the British Virgin Islands! But he is in good company there as half the cabinet do the same, including flock wallpaper Osborne. It’s nice to know that helping the international community is as important to the Tories as the Health Service, so much so that those were the only two budgets ring fenced when the spending axe was wielded by old flock. Now of course we realise that all that money was the admission fee to keep “call me” at the top table, keep on being the USA’s junior partner, secure his seat on the Security Council and most important of all keep the UK in the G8 as one of the richest countries. So we most definitely have to keep that Vicuna coat on no matter how gray and holed the knickers are underneath!

    As to aid to China and India? Tris: I’m amazed you don’t realise that, that is a bribe to keep them buying their cluster bombs, water cannons and nuclear stuff from the UK plc (it’s our only growth industry). Don’t you remember that “call me” whizzed over to India and promised them help with their nuclear things? You must remember that! I suppose I should ease peoples’ memories by relating it to the obligatory blunder. Remember then when “call me” went to India and accused the Pakistanis of being terrorists? Despite them being a key ally in the war on Terror in Afghanistan, them being next door and all! Mrs Clinton was not too pleased and within twenty four hours a bit of heavy duty back pedalling was in order plus a whole pile of quid-pro quos to President Zardari (that’s Mr 10% to us ordinary mortals as he apparently gets that amount of everything) including a state visit from “call me” (which I guess they are not too keen on as he will probably announce when he is there that the Indians are a bunch of chiselling criminals or something) and more importantly a whole pile of nuclear stuff as well (Mr 10% will be frothing at the mouth over that, as will, no doubt, the gnomes of Zurich; where he doubtless keeps all the 10%s). Job well done eh! I’m not surprised you forgot, it’s so easy to lose one blunder among so many.

  4. Well, they are quite poor in the Vatican Anon. Why I saw Old Benedict in the same coloured robes twice the other day.

  5. AH yes, I had indeed forgotten that particular blunder Munguin. Keeping up with the London governments' blunders over the years has left me prematurely aged and exhausted, so you excuse, I am sure, a little forgetfulness on my part. I would have to say that the Brown government was every bit as blunder prone... and I suspect that Tony Blair was just a better spin man, assisted by the Dark Lord, as he was.

    I am rather concerned, though, that you are receiving emails from Billy Bunter Pickles.

    I advise you not to read them. They may well contain dark magic (not Black Magic, he’ll have eaten all of them) that will go to work on your computer and turn it Blue... then your computer will work against you in the fight for an independent Scotland...

    Anyway, they are full of garbage.

    PS: Maybe we should arrange for Mr Pickles to come to Edinburgh and have a curry with Mr Salmond.

  6. I think I once signed a petition or something that the Tories were doing and once clinched you are theirs for ever! So now I get an e-mail concerning every one of their cock-a-mamy ideas and policies. Supposedly from the minister concerned; but we really know that some flunky at Tory HQ writes them and sends them out en masse! I guess we are supposed to feel like we are really included and get a warm feeling from the honour of getting an e-mail from the likes of Iain Duncan Smith, Baroness Warsi or indeed Eric Pickles, or honour of honours from the great white Cameron himself!! Those latter ones I print out in gold writing on gold paper and keep locked in a solid gold box with a gold key so that every time I want to feel the honour of feeling honoured I can get them out and bask in their warm glow!

  7. I wouldn’t wish Billy Bunter Pickled Egg on anyone least of all on Alex Salmond. His record as leader of Bradford City Council was one of standing on every tradition that kept the Tories in charge by the skin of their teeth. One Tradition he is very keen on keeping of course is First Past the Post, he slated the then PM Gordon Brown for his brief dalliance with AV in 2010. But then he would seeing as his seat of Brentwood and Ongar is the third safest Tory seat in the country. Bunty has nothing to fear from AV as he got 53.5% of the vote last time round, that’s tantamount to a Glasgow seat for a Labour politician!

    Interestingly a chip shop in the constituency dubbed their pickled eggs the Eric Pickled Egg in 2006, Bunty wasn’t happy about it and said it was in “bad taste” and it was a slight on his weight. Don’t they know that he is a Tory now and wouldn’t be seen dead in chip shop or eating pickled eggs, its cold collation of Pheasant at the Ivy for him now! (Well maybe more like collation of Turkey, dinosaurs being extinct and all.) Why would anybody have a go at his weight? Oh yea because he is a big fat blimp, even Alex wouldn’t get a look in.

  8. Surely cutting off aid to some of the poorest in the world breeds the sort of contempt and anger that can spill over into future acts of terrorism? This seems myopic, 'killing two birds with one stone' showboating in order to impress the xenophobic middle Englanders and Daily Mail readership, while refusing to engage with the real causes of terrorism. And while we're on the subject of terrorism, let's not forget that, 'the weapons and drugs of dealers/kill more in months and weeks/than all of Al Qaida's victims/for the cartel's greed.' Stop dealers, stop suppliers, and crime in the UK will fall, and how do you stop the drug cartels? Stop going after the shadow of terrorism, stop harassing users, and make legal crops profitable - even if it means standing up to our Daddy Mr America and telling them that their GM crops are destroying the marketplace for grain and causing generational poverty in the third world.
    Security Threat Number One is not terrorism, it never has been. Security Threat Number One is the group of rich white men that monopolise and exploit, causing poverty and reactionary terrorism.

  9. lazaruszine

    Legalize drugs will kill the criminal element stone dead.

    No1 terrorists worldwide.

    There are rich people of all colours.

  10. Munguin,

    Conservatives like me are motivated out of humanitarian concern, I will not sit back and watch children starve to death in Bangalore just because you want someone else to foot the bill.

    You and Tris are very cold hearted on this one.

  11. Oh imagine having an email from Dave....

    Munguin, you are lucky.

  12. Yes Laz, it will create even more poverty, which is likely to cause even more discontent and more young people with no work adn not enough food...

    And I agree about the stupid white men.

  13. It's certainly an idea CH.

  14. I'm not in the least cold hearted Dean.

    I would happily take all the bonuses of the bankers and the excess fortunes of the royals and aristos and give them to poor people in wherever.

    I'm not desperately happy about the skimming that ends up the numbered accounts in Zurich for use by the likes of Mubarak, which is why I would suggest that instead of just handing out money, we agree with countries what projects they want completing, and then we oversee the financial aspect of that project, be it putting water in, building a school, a hospital or a road or rail network.

    That way the country gets to chose what projects it needs completing, the donor provides money, the project is completed by the workers of the country, and none of the money is stolen by corrupt officials or MPs, and as we well know every country has plenty of them.

    I mean if you were Chinese and giving aid to the UK, would you want Jacquie Smith pocketing 30% of it so that her unpleasant husband can watch porn at your expense?

    There is no meanness here Dean, but aid has been mishandled and it needs to be sorted, and we must not use the aid money for security, whilst cutting the armed forces in order to hoodwink the international community into allowing us to remain in the G8, when we have no real right to be there..

  15. Munguin..

    " it was announce that two further squadrons of fighters would be axed."

    It was two bomber squadrons. but I agree with your general post.

  16. CH: Agreed that there are rich people of all colours, but it is the rich white men that control capital (leaving aside the Saudis)

    Also legalising drugs I am totally behind from an anarchist standpoint - but in the community I live in? By free association, I don't want anything to do with them, but I think if someone wants to waste their life that way, they should be allowed. Unfortunately, legalising drugs is something entirely unlikely to happen, not unless it can create a sustainable profit and not make the corporation responsible for visible addiction (unless, like the alcohol industry, they can play it up for laughs).

  17. I know what you mean Laz... Stupid White Men, who run the world... except their boss is now a black man!!

    Legalization of drugs is another matter which is complex in the extreme. Some countries have gone some ways in that direction.

    It does seem ridiculous to me that you can buy cigarettes and gin, which can be far more harmful to health than cannabis. And certainly it seems that alcohol is far more harmful to the general public than most drugs would be, if they were on sale in a government store, clean, checked and sold at a reasonable price.

    If it can work for drink and fags, why not for drugs.

    And while they are on it why not follow up of Edinburgh’s example on prostitution. The world’s oldest profession is not going to disappear because the government looks down its nose at it. And girls (or boys) would be safer in brothels than they are up dark alleys, where, I’m told, they currently ply their trade.

    Law can’t beat any of these things. It’s what people want (sometimes even when they say that they don’t), it always has been and it always will be...