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 think 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.
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.