John Hilary is really rather funny in his rant against the cuts in overseas aid. We’re left with the impression that it’s all being gutted and that we’re going to leave the poor to starve in the gutter. Then he gives us some examples:
Information received by Michael McCann MP indicates that Mitchell has already told the Treasury he can cut 165 jobs at DfID’s East Kilbride office in this autumn’s comprehensive spending review, making one in three of its employees there redundant.
Sacking bureaucrats in Scotland really is such a fundamental betrayal of our moral duty to aid the poor, feed the hungry and clothe the naked, isn’t it?
Indeed, the government announced the first cuts to the UK’s international development programme within days of taking power. On 17 May, Andrew Mitchell scrapped the DfID’s £6.5m global development engagement fund, a scheme designed to increase public understanding of the causes of global poverty and to mobilise action in support of international development.
As is cutting an advertising program to make people think more kindly about the donation of development aid.
Mitchell was also quick to scrap the DfID’s development innovation fund, a new scheme which had been widely welcomed because it offered direct support to the anti-poverty initiatives of civil society groups in developing countries.
Just as it is obviously vile to be cutting the funding of John Hilary’s muckers in other countries.
There is real concern that Mitchell’s fixation with “output-based aid” will inflict long-term damage on the quality of the UK’s international development programme.
Can’t you just feel the vileness of insisting that aid actually does something?
Ultimately, a country’s development path is determined by historical forces and political choices at a far higher level than aid, and it is these more complex factors that risk being overlooked in a narrow focus on measurable, short-term outputs. The DfID must support those systems that empower poorer countries and communities in the long term, so that they can overcome the obstacles to their own development. Only this will see an end to global poverty.
As yes, that’s it. Hilary thinks that aid is best spent changing the political and social systems of other countries so that they accord with his own prejudices.
Just a small note but the Bennite autarkic socialists never really went away. It’s just that having accepted that we’ll never go for it they decided to use our money to try and impose it on all those brown and poor people.
Aren’t they the lucky ones?