Monday, 21 November 2011

Foreign Aid - Can We Afford It?

David Cameron has timed his decision very badly. To give an extra £819 million in foreign aid when cutting basic services in this country is irresponsible.
We have recently given billions to a succession of EU bail-outs. Meanwhile we are denying care to old people here in the UK and our pensions are some of the lowest in Europe. Cameron is scrapping the disability living allowance, leaving disabled people and their families in the lurch. There are homeless people in this country and some cannot afford to heat their homes as energy prices zoom upwards. Cameron has cut £100 from winter fuel payments to the elderly.
Let us be honest - the true purpose of foreign aid is not one of compassion. It is really a way of buying friends. It is supposed to encourage trade and ensure we have strategic allies.
But in many cases this policy is not working.
Why are we subsidizing Pakistan, which sheltered Osama Bin Laden? We give India £295 million [] yet they can afford a space programme and aircraft carriers from Russia. Believe it or not, Britain gave £420,000 to Afghanistan to build a theme park complete with ferris wheel:-

Picture here

And this is at a time when we’re selling off our Harrier jump jets to America for peanuts and cannot afford to defend ourselves.
While I am not against giving any foreign aid we must get our priorities right and there must be a quid pro quo. The priorities for aid should be victims of recent wars or natural disasters. We should be very careful not to pour money into the pockets of dictators or prop up regimes that violate human rights.
(Julia Gasper Oxford Mail April 2011).

I wrote that three months ago. Since then, the Indian government has made a large purchase of armaments from France, and when reproached by David Cameron for not buying them from England after all the aid we gave them, the Indian PM retorted that they don't need the measly little £280 million that we give each year.
Well, what did I tell you....?

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