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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

International development is not a tool of foreign policy

It is difficult to know which is more disturbing, that Boris Johnson has combined the Foreign Office with the Department for International Development or that is in putt8ing Dominic Raab in charge of the new department.

The fact is that the UK's foreign policy interests are not the same as our international obligations to assist developing countries. Up until now, only the Brexit Party and UKIP have argued that the two are interchangeable, and we have already seen for ourselves the sort of racist campaigns that they have signed up to.

It is little wonder that a former Tory Prime Minister and three former Tory International Development Secretaries have spoken out against the decision. The Independent reports that David Cameron has said that the merger will “mean less expertise, less voice for development at the top table and ultimately less respect for the UK overseas."

Meanwhile, Andrew Mitchell condemned the “extraordinary mistake”, saying: “It would destroy one of the most effective and respected engines of international development anywhere in the world.”

Justine Greening attacked a distraction from the fightback against coronavirus, warning: “People will find it hard to see why it’s a priority to have a departmental organisation.”

And Rory Stewart, a former leadership contender, said: “Don’t merge the Foreign Office and Dfid. The problem is not our hugely respected development agency, but the lack of a confident coordinated UK strategy. 

 “Merging is bad diplomacy and worse development. Define a strategy and priorities, rather than move deckchairs in Whitehall.”

The fact that Boris Johnson has signalled cash currently flowing to developing countries in Africa would be siphoned off for geopolitical struggles such as resisting Russia underlines the point.

UK aid has saved millions of lives, billions of people face being pushed into poverty, while the need for international cooperation and assistance to combat COVID-19 is paramount, if we are to eradicate this virus and stop it coming back into our country.

Instead the Prime Minister wants to use the money we send to some of the worse blackspots in the world to fight his own cold war against Russia. It is a disgrace.
It implies the money will be syphoned off to 'enrich' Johnsons ideals.'Scraps' will be given for humanitarian projects.Remember Johnson likes rich people to get richer(billionaires have done well out of lockdown). Until Rashford stepped into the discussion on school meals Johnsons did not want to know about school meals being an after thought It will not look good internationally for the UK.
only the Brexit Party and UKIP
Sadly, a large section of the Conservative Party, including I would guess most of the current cabinet, also believes that the UK should only be sending money abroad if it is to benefit British business or strategic aims. They have not been exactly quiet about it.

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