No Post Today

No new stuff today, due to a touch of flu… :(

8 Comments

  1. Janet Warner

    You have my sympathy! Get better soon, God bless.
    Good news this week, The Grange Post Office & shop is up & running again with extended services.
    Every good wish to Kevin & his staff, welcome back!
    REMEMBER, USE IT OR LOSE IT! That applies to the other traders on the parade too. Tesco Express has taken it’s toll.
    These local shops are important for our community & give us choice. They have been a life saver during the bad weather.
    Thanks to them all for remaining open.
    Janet Warner.

    Reply
  2. Rayleigh Resident

    Chris and team,

    Sorry if this is not the right place for this post but…

    What is the Lib Dems approach to overseas aid, surely Cleggy and Co should be opposing this lunacy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9842051/David-Cameron-pledges-to-keep-spending-billions-in-overseas-aid.html

    Reply
    1. Chris Black (Post author)

      RR

      It is agreed coalition policy to increase overseas aid to 0.7 percent a year.

      Nick Clegg sets out the case here in 2010:

      “It is not an act of naive altruism. There is enlightened self-interest at stake here. “We can’t cut ourselves off from the rest of the world. If the rest of the world is susceptible to extremism, conflict, the volatile effects of runaway environmental degradation, it affects us. “It affects us directly. It affects the safety of British families on British streets. It affects the people who come to live in the United Kingdom. It affects our shared environment. It deprives us of economic opportunities as a trading nation. “It’s incredibly important for people to understand that this is not a commitment entered 10 years ago that can be lightly discarded when times get tough.”

      and David Cameron has said very similar stuff.
      However that doesn’t mean splashing out money for the sake of it, as senior Lib Dem Malcom Bruce rightly said yesterday:

      Committee chairman Sir Malcolm Bruce, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “We are worried that pressure to meet targets to increase overseas development aid could lead to DFID making poor spending decisions.
      “The department should be prepared to miss aid targets where there are delays or cancellations to its planned projects and it does not have good value alternatives.”

      The Guardian has a very balanced explanation on the subject from last September here they quote a figure that someone earning £25,000 per year would pay £52 per year towards overseas aid.

      If you are wondering what I think, I do believe that if we can make the rest of the world more prosperous it makes things better and more secure for us at home (except maybe on household issues like the price of certain foods etc). And I’m proud of the fact that the UK is paying to vaccinate 20 million children a year, because thats exactly the kind of thing that wealthier countries like ourselves should do. But 0.7 percent of GNP is a LOT of money – roughly the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars every 2 years. I’m not personally sure that level of target should be the way forward now. If you set yourself a target of spending a particular amount of money you are likely to get some of that money wasted, whether the target is for overseas aid, or military vehicles, or office stationary for Whitehall.
      One additional way forward that the Guardian article mention is sharing financial information and giving advice to poorer countries to make sure that multinationals pay their proper taxes in those countries (because if they are getting away with it in the UK imagine how they do in other places). That seems a good idea to me.

      Reply
  3. A.matthews

    RR.Overseas aid does not constitute a drain on our economy. It would be immoral to reduce our contribution to our former colonies .Some redistribution maybe ,ie India need to redistribute their wealth where huge contrasts exist . Many young economies in Africa have suffered corruption and exploitation, some through our legacy ,these need help to develope their democracies and their own assets . Aid should be focused on direct improvement to the population as a whole and not on arms .Both Cameron and Clegg should be commended on their stand ,hopefully setting an example to other developed countries .You may think we are a failing economy but would you wish to live in the conditions that are regularly illustrated on our wide screens in the comfort of our centrally heated weather proofed houses in leafy lanes ,slightly polluted by ” Yoof art ” better by far than polluted by human waste and diseased children .We are so fortunate to live in this country .

    Reply
  4. Rayleigh Resident

    No problem – I vote to send the £150,000 earmarked for the Lubards Farm crossing to Africa.

    You are both completely out of touch with public opinion…..in fact bonkers….

    Reply
  5. christine paine

    Got to agree with RR that you are both out of touch with public opinion, but then again what politician isn’t these days. How can anyone justify sending billions of our tax money overseas when people in this country are relying on food banks to feed their families? We owe nothing to our former colonies, most of them couldn’t wait to see the back of us, in fact many of them staged rebellions and what would now be called terrorist activities to get rid of us – remember the Mau Mau, EOKA, I certainly do. One day soon (and it can’t come soon enough) there will be a General Election. The party(ies) who put this country and the people of this country first will be the one to get my vote, and I doubt if I am alone in that thinking.

    Reply
  6. Chris Black

    Never confuse being ‘out of touch with public opinion’ with ‘making your mind up for yourself’!

    I know pretty well what public opinion is on this. In particular I have a friend who’s lived in several third world countries, he thinks that overseas aid is wasted – and he can persuade me on case-by-case basis, but not on the general concept.

    Your point about food banks is a good one, though, Pauline. The coalition is helping people by reducing the income tax paid by the lower paid. Though the changes to council tax benefit will make it harder for some of those people….

    But I come back again to tax avoidance. I read another example yesterday- that the gambling industry is avoiding about £250 million pounds a year in tax by operating in places like Gibraltar. So thats profit they get , essentially directly from peoples pockets, and I’m sure some of those people can’t really afford to gamble…

    Reply
  7. Rayleigh Resident

    Food Banks ?

    Anyway, if anybody is any doubt this is what two billion quid looks like.

    £2,000,000,000

    That’s a few new schools, improved hospitals, better infrastructure, etc all in the UK. Times are tight for millions of Britons at the moment, remember charity begins at home. I see little difference in these overseas countries despite money being poured into them for decades.

    Christine is spot on, pursue these policies and prepare to end up with less votes than UKIP.

    Reply

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