Vladimir Lavrentiev shares his views on Godfrey Bloom’s comments
In an ironic twist of fate, the UK media has highlighted an important issue by attempting to make sensational controversy from something very petty. UKIP have once again placed its policies to be debated nationally without having a single Member of Parliament.
Godfrey Bloom MEP has spoken out again the UK’s Foreign Aid budget by saying it is absurd to give away money we do not with to “Bongo Bongo Land” and do so with an unaudited trail. The Guardian had released an article a month after he said it condemning the phrasing as derogatory. Personally, having some bongos in my living room, I see nothing derogatory about it. However if it if the phrasing was provocative, was it worth it?
India has one of the largest shares of the “aid” from the British taxpayer. India is a country where poverty is daily and corruption is rife, yet a country that also has its own nuclear and space programs. If India had wanted to allocate more money to other programs it would have done so already. There may have been some pragmatic purpose behind the aid however. The ring-fence came at a time when Mr Cameron was trying to agree on a trade deal with India as well as a £6.3 billion Eurofighter Typhoon deal on the table. In a country where it is hard to get an MOT for your car without a bribe: it may have been wise to give India some unaudited tax-money to win a military contract. There was even a hint of this from Andrew Mitchell, the Development Secretary, but in hindsight, neither the contract, nor the free trade deal occurred.
On top of all of this its Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has spoken against it saying the aid acts as negative PR to the country’s foreign investors. And he isn’t the only prominent international figure to notice the long-term negative effects of aid. Andrew Mwenda had suggested that aid displays “despair, helplessness and hopelessness” of Africa to Western countries destroying possible wealth creation and enlarging corrupt unproductive public sectors. He gave example of his own country: In Uganda’s case almost a third (32.2%) of the 2006/2007 budget went to the public administration. That’s over US $250 million for:
• 70 cabinet ministers
• 114 presidential advisors
• 81 units of local government
• 333 members of parliament
• 134 commissions and semi-autonomous government bodies
Looking at the figures, was it irrational of Mr Bloom to say that some of this was spent on Ray-Bay sunglasses and Ferraris?
This is all being done when HM Government is practically insolvent. Even by the lousy argument that a democratically elected government has been voted-in with the power to collect taxes, what right has Mr Cameron got to say that British citizens will fund foreign countries with borrowed money and pay interest on them? Mr Bloom may have saved our country up to one billion pounds a month at the expense of a politically incorrect phrasing. In my opinion it is a price very worth paying.
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