TIMES: ' Give money for aid...but not to DFID'

Alice Thomson and The Times ....

  • Have DFID bang to rights - hear bloody hear!

    Votes: 9 69.2%
  • Have got it all wrong - it will all end in tears

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Should jolly well stop interfering in matters of State - pass the port.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Are plainly a catspaw of Global Neocon Conspiracy.Terminate with extreme prejudice...Nurse!

    Votes: 3 23.1%

  • Total voters
    13
  • Poll closed .
#1
Excellent article in The Times by Alice Thomson Give money to aid. But don

quoting a new book by foreign Correspondent Jonathan Foreman called 'Aiding and Abetting '

At a time of cuts in public expenditure, Britain's Coalition government is committed not only to maintaining the UK's foreign aid budget but to increasing it, in order to meet the target of 0.7 per cent of GDP, despite opinion polls that show it to be unpopular with the electorate. Jonathan Foreman explains why scepticism about the utility and even morality of much foreign aid is more than justified; why so much of the rhetoric used to justify the UK's lavish aid policy is disingenuous or dishonest; and why 0.7 per cent of GDP is an arbitrary number unconnected with either poor country needs or rich country capability. He argues that after six decades and more than three trillion dollars of official development aid, there is little evidence for its effectiveness. Development aid tends to undermine good government, enrich corrupt tyrants and subsidise warlords rather than promote economic growth. Meanwhile, emergency or humanitarian aid, the imagery of which is used by the aid industry and the government to market all foreign aid, is a much more complicated, difficult and morally problematic activity than its promoters and many practitioners would like the public to know. While government officials claim that British aid benefits the UK as well as its intended recipients, by winning goodwill and by making foreign conflict and mass immigration less likely, there is little or no evidence that any of these claims are true. Foreman does not argue for an end to aid, but rather that it should be reality-based rather than faith-based, i.e. it should rest on realistic calculations about the likely fate of donations to poor country governments, UN agencies, international bureaucracies and large charities. He recommends abandoning the 0.7 per cent target; a Royal Commission to investigate the purpose of foreign aid; shifting up to one third of the aid budget and a significant part of UK emergency aid to those branches of the armed forces which have the capacity to deliver it more effectively than NGOs; and the funding of the BBC World Service from the aid budget.
In her article Alice Thomson comments:
Foreman's book, published this week by the think-tank Civitas, argues that not only is much of Britain's foreign aid budget destined to be wasted or stolen by recipient officials or institutions, but much of what does arrive in the right place fails to promote growth and often does more harm than good.
Having worked in Afghanistan and iraq, {Foreman} believes that the Minisrty of Defence should be given some of the [£11Bn] money. it is well suited to coping with humanitarian disastersand already has helicopters and hospital ships (sic) and a staff who know how to run emergency operations without inadvertently sponsoring local warlords. they can maintain order while winning over hearts and minds.
Ahem...Dear Jim30, yes we KNOW you have a blog. yes we KNOW you have worked in MoD ( though not as long as some of the older and bolder here on Arrse)...please let some of your peers on this board who have direct experience of attempting to administer Quick Impact Projects in dusty places have their say too ;-)
 
#2
Quite right, we don't 'inadvertently sponsor local warlords', we cut deals with them directly.
 
#4
I had the 'luck' to be on a CP team in Afghanistan sometime ago that was looking after a team of DFID contractors.

I found them to be very anti British Army and dismissive of any advice or requests made to ensure their safety.

They seemed to see ISAF as part of the problem in the country, which I found very strange from another government department!

Very NGO in their outlook.


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#5
I have said this before on other threads, but from working with the DfID crowd in Helmand I found the majority of them little more than an exercise in diversity. They were fine as long as they could mince around the Fuhrer bunkers in LKG, where the only Afghans they ever meet were cleaning up after them.

Ones sent out to FOBs were useless and out of their depth. This did change once they started recruiting ex forces types. Some seemed obsessed with pushing 21 century western values to a 13th century population and could not see that from a cultural awareness point of view, you may as well have been handing out Bacon sandwiches.

I left the comprehensive approach experience with the view that the sole purpose of DfID was to preserve DfID, with a secondary roll as a pipe line for Bribes (sorry aid) to countries that may buy crap from Big and Expensive.
 
#6
I have said this before on other threads, but from working with the DfID crowd in Helmand I found the majority of them little more than an exercise in diversity. They were fine as long as they could mince around the Fuhrer bunkers in LKG, where the only Afghans they ever meet were cleaning up after them.

Ones sent out to FOBs were useless and out of their depth. This did change once they started recruiting ex forces types. Some seemed obsessed with pushing 21 century western values to a 13th century population and could not see that from a cultural awareness point of view, you may as well have been handing out Bacon sandwiches.

I left the comprehensive approach experience with the view that the sole purpose of DfID was to preserve DfID, with a secondary roll as a pipe line for Bribes (sorry aid) to countries that may buy crap from Big and Expensive.

Delete DfiD and insert RAF.





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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#9
It was kind of a given that the Arrse view of DFID would be ' They're Arrse'....but it would be interesting to know if Auld Yin and his crew of book reviewers got hold of Jonathan wossname's book and let someone on here who has done the CIMIC/POLAD job give it the once over, for the good and benefit of the Troop, as it were ?

I met some people from DFID a few years back just after Teflon Tone was installed ....can't say I was overawed with their brilliance....
 
#10
The part of the article where she writes

Alice Thomson said:
The Foreign Office must learn to survive on £1.36 billion a year. Instead of squeezing it further, the two departments could be merged so that diplomacy, trade and aid work together. Instead of their civil servants competing against each other in their separate lavish compounds across the world, they need to combine forces.
does on the face of it seem rather sensible. Since one of the arguments given for international aid aside from doing the right thing is that as soft power it's an adjunct to foreign relations and getting people to like us, bringing these two together - what with jointery/joined up government being all the rage - would appear to be the obvious choice. Of course you'd have have to make sure that measures were in place so that the Foreign Office didn't try and raid the funding to help prop up their own spending programmes or shuffle it off into an ignored second class posting but that's hardly an insurmountable challenge. Likewise the idea of diverting some of it off to the MoD, I remember reading about the US Marines commanders on the ground having some form of discretionary funding that they could spend fairly widely on whatever they felt would do the most good whether that be helping with infrastructure projects, buying in stuff the locals needed or simply hiring local youths to do manual labour improving the local environment and also provide alternate employment to the Taliban.
 

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