The Plastic Hippo

April 22, 2017

Banned Aid


It is difficult to decide what is the more entertaining aspect of an uncoiling election campaign; the hilarious posturing of repulsive and thoroughly nasty politicians braying their saintliness or the increasingly ridiculous and totally unachievable promises being made.

Labour cannot possibly provide free school meals for all primary school children by charging VAT on private schools fees and are bare-faced liars to suggest that this unwarranted attack on rich people forced to choose between a third annual holiday and the ritual humiliation of their offspring is fully funded. They would need to remove the charitable status awarded to the schools like Eton which operates as a business rather than a charity nurturing privileged toffs born expecting power.

The Liberal Democrats will promise anything knowing full well that their shameful coalition with the now disgraced Cameron and Osborne marks them as tarnished goods and as irrelevant as Cameron and Osborne.

The Conservatives are far more subtle and far more expert at guile, deception, smoke and mirrors. As an example, let us take a look at Theresa May`s promise to maintain the current overseas aid budget at 0.7 per cent of GDP or about £13billion in cash. If Europe has caused a schism in the Tory Party, then overseas aid is generating earthquakes off the Richter scale and vulcanicity worthy of the Galilean moons of Jupiter. The barking mad wing of the party including the clearly rabid Daily Mail and the disaster-prone kippers view overseas aid as waste of money and a waste of time. Their argument seems to be that we should not be giving hand-outs to people incapable of managing their own finances in the midst of a biblical famine or barbaric civil war when multinational corporations incapable of managing their own finances require a tax break in return for a modest donation to the Tory Party.

The other slightly less barking mad wing of the party see overseas aid as a splendid way of opening international markets and looking all nice and kind and fluffy to the electorate. A carefully staged airdrop of bags of millet in front of a simpering Pritti Patel masks the unspoken arms deals with the despots causing war and famine and allows the Conservative Department for International Development to pretend to be a humanitarian entity. If you look to the skies, any plane spotting anorak will tell you that the British millet was being dropped by Russian-built Antonov transports.

Interestingly, before Theresa May`s damascene moment on the road to Dolgellau, some minor courtier was wheeled out to lay the groundwork for a change in the definition of overseas aid. Now almost forgotten, this minor Tory MP suggested that the aid budget could be combined with the budgets for Trade and Industry and Defence. The logic of this proposal is nothing short of genius if we concede that genius can be both good and evil. The 13billion in aid would be lumped in with trade investment and arms procurement under the umbrella of national security. So instead of digging a well or building a school somewhere hot and dry, our government would prefer to lend a tin-pot dictator a lot of money to dig a mine, sink an oil well, buy riot gear, armoured cars, tanks and helicopter gunships.

There is an old and discredited adage that states if you give a man a fish then you will feed him for a day. But, if you give a man a fishing rod then he will occupy a canal towpath and hurl abuse and empty beer cans at any walker, cyclist or pilot of a narrow boat that invades his space and questioning that his lack of fishing success might not necessarily be caused by immigration might result in knuckles leaving the towpath and connecting with the liberal, do-gooder, wishy-washy face. Theresa May has announced that she will look at the way aid money is spent. That means more cluster bombs, more landmines more deals with tyrants and yet more easy, dirty money.

Given her recent affirmation of her Christian principles, one can only wonder at what God or, perhaps, her late Church of England clergyman father would make of her stance on Syrian refugee children or education or health or food banks or, indeed, anything that resembles Christian morality.

Born in 1956, Theresa May was a mere 29 when Live Aid was broadcast in 1985. It is easy to imagine her bopping to Quo and Queen and U2 and making a donation to feed those poor Ethiopian babies caught by famine and war. The sad fact is that Live Aid raised more awareness than money and raised the profiles of failing rock acts rather than the profile of the causes of famine and war. Frank Zappa was asked to play but refused and called the gig “the biggest cocaine money laundering scheme of all time”. Others have called the event the end of rock and roll.

There is still famine in Africa and our government would give a child a gun rather than a bowl of food or the means to produce a bowl of food. There is more profit that way.

You can, of course, vote in the coming General Election for the party that speaks for you and the party that best represents how you regard other human beings.

Good luck.

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