Foreign Aid and Political Conceit

All our political parties are highly enthusiastic about dishing out foreign aid. Even David Cameron has declared it is to be ring fenced.

We donate 6-8 billion every year in International Aid. (see Spectator article here). Usually these donations have no strings attached. It is a gracious gift from one ruling elite to another.

A great deal of this this money goes to India. While India is perhaps the shining (and singular) glory of third world democracy, it is hardly in a state of economic ruin.

India has a foreign currency surplus of £300 billion per year. It has an active and growing nuclear weapons program that puts ours in the shade. There is a Space program that rivals ESA and NASA. The final icing of the cake is that India has its own foreign aid budget (no sign of any money coming to Rotherham though).

This is great. I celebrate that India is a dynamic and thrusting democracy and I hope they maintain their progress. But, above all, they are an independent and sovereign nation. They make their choices with their budget as they wish.

Our Great, Good and extremely well fed, do not view it quite like this. They love the kudos for dishing out our money because it allows them to grandstand to their audience and show us all how generous and compassionate they are. We feel embarrassed about poverty in India, but really as India has enough for a large financial surplus, nuclear weapons, a large defence budget and a space programme it should not be for us to support the areas they ignore. It smacks of crass colonialism and political conceit to start dishing out money to areas that the legitimate government in a thriving democracy chooses to not to prioritise.

Take a parallel. Several years ago New Orleans was devastated by a hurricane. The USA administration abjectly failed the poor people of New Orleans and many ended up destitute and abandoned. But this did not mean we started funding them. The USA has more then enough of its own resources to deal with this problem. The same reasoning should also now apply to India. Especially now,as we are in such deep financial difficulties ourselves.

1 comment:

This Royal Throne of Kings said...

Particularly accurate in the case of India, but I would go as far as to suggest that we can no longer afford to allow grandstaning politicians - of any hue - to give away money which we no longer have.

We must suspend our planned national expenditure on 'overseas aid' forthwith and only make donations in cases of real urgency, such as that currently occurring in Haiti.

Anything other course would be financial madness... So no change there, then.