Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nick Clegg: Aid "not naive altruism"

Nick Clegg (may he live forever) will be in New York today to make a speech to the United Nations.

Speaking to reporters, he has defended the principle of overseas aid in trenchant terms:

"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."

1 comment:

Nick said...

For once I find myself agreeing with Nick Clegg.

My only concern is the lack of specifics, and also a nagging doubt as to whether he has done his homework on this.

Is all aid good aid ? Should aid be targetted at the most needy, and if so, how ? Do all NGOs have the same objectives, or do differing approaches imply they in fact have different aims ?

These are all important questions, which have been around for some time, but it`s unclear what responses Clegg has, if any.

The fact that this posting has a label relating to Oxfam, an organisation that has alienaed many former allies, including other aid agencies, does kind of illustrate that there are questions to be answered here.