Pride comes before a fall as the old saying goes and certainly in this case the pride all seems to be one sided. Yes a foolish Andrew Mitchell MP Secretary of State for International Development and clearly someone with a loose grasp on what people actually think has opined that one day we’ll be proud of the fact that our government is throwing our money away on foreign aid.
The British people will one day be as proud of Government spending on international aid as they are of the Queen and the Armed Forces, the development secretary has suggested.
Andrew Mitchell said the Coalition’s controversial decision to increase aid spending while cutting other budgets will make Britain an “aid superpower”, something that should be a source of “pride and satisfaction” for taxpayers.
Mr Mitchell conceded that a growing aid budget was hard to sell to voters in tough economic circumstances, but insisted that the Government’s decisions will ultimately prove popular.
With the Department of Health, the Department for International Development is one of only two Whitehall departments whose budgets are growing over the current four-year spending round.
Overall aid spending will rise from £7.8 billion this year to £11.5 billion under a Coalition pledge to provide real increases in development funding, a real-terms increase of 34 per cent.
Now I’m a great believer of charity beginning at home, though if people want to spend their money on foreign charity work, that’s up to them, their choice, their money. International aid though is not a charity of choice, it’s the spending of taxpayers money on various projects abroad that the government decides are worthy of getting our cash. This means that spending aid money in places like India and Pakistan with their own nuclear programs along with India’s space and own foreign aid programs is likely to produce a lot of anger, not pride.
Now I haven’t a clue where Andrew Mitchell gets his thinking from, it’s certainly not from talking to the average Joe’s that I do, I suspect he’s suffering from Westminster bubble-itis though, where he only hears what he wants to because the people around him say and do the same things. But frankly I believe that the foreign aid budget should not be spent on foreign aid, it should be spent on the people of the UK, removing the climate levy on power and stopping our old and weak from succumbing to the perils of winter. Improving our education infrastructure, repairing the damage to our armed forces or simply just sorting out our transport net.
Yes I know foreign aid is supposed to buy us influence, give us access to minerals and resources, but frankly most of it just seems to go on lining the pockets of foreign dictators or is spent on countries that plainly could spend their own cash on such things, India and Pakistan being a case in point.
So no, I don’t think we’ll ever be proud of being an aid superpower, I think we’ll think it’s money that could be spent on us and that anyone like Andrew Mitchell MP Secretary of State for International Development who suggest we should or may be proud of it is talking bollocks!