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How to patronise the poor

July 16, 2009

The UK Conservative Party, most likely by this time next year the all-singing-all-dancing (nb-in all likelihood there will be very little singing or dancing) new government, released their blueprint for international development “One World Conservatism” Monday.

While more ‘mature’ commentators focus on boring incidental stuff like the gaps between the stuff that it does say (e.g. pledge to maintain the UK’s commitment to giving 0.7% of GNI in development assistance by 2012 while delivering ‘value for money’ or promises to concentrate assistance more on Britain’s former colonies) and the stuff that it doesn’t (all too little on the difficult choices all this implies) I couldn’t help but coming away with two totally different highlights.

First they suggest they will send all new recruits and senior DFID staff to spend a week living with a family in poverty somewhere in the developing world for 1 whole week (unclear at this stage whether that is a calender or working week…that could totally ruin someone’s weekend), so like, you know, they can totally understand what like those people are going through (rumour has it by the way – and by that i mean the rumour i am starting right now – that there are also plans to have ‘Food Crisis Friday’ where staff skip lunch – or at least go low carb – in solidarity with les peuples sans moniez).  Second they promise a £40 million fund (expected to be expanded) which will be spent according to wisdom of the British public through a vote on the DFID website. They have decided to call it MyAid, though ‘Britain’s Got Aid Moniez’ would seem more appropriate.


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