Friday, February 14, 2014

Give up giving out

A couple of days ago the Daily Heil - that brave crusader for the people - launched a petition demanding that the UK's foreign aid be diverted to help the victims of the current flooding. Charity begins at home, and all that. Given that David Cameron has pledged that "what needs to be done will be done and paid for", the Heil's call looks completely unnecessary and irrelevant. Could there perhaps be another agenda at work here?

Why yes there could. As part of Wednesday's article trumpeting the petition's success thus far (which boasts that signatories include a Tory MP, a Tory councillor, Gloria Hunniford, Jilly Cooper and Paul Daniels...), the rag gave space to Ian Birrell to blather on about political instability, corruption and aid money being squandered in various countries which receive our assistance. Yes, that's right - what the Daily Heil is actually doing is cynically using a natural disaster that is affecting thousands of people as a means of scoring some cheap political points. It's not just "Why are we giving these foreigners money when we need it at home?"; worse than that, it's "Why are we giving these foreigners money at all?" Such compassion, such humanity. Dacre, I bet you must be so proud of yourself.

It's also interesting to note that they didn't launch a similar petition when flooding affected other areas of the country (Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Cornwall, my home county of Northumberland) in recent years - and neither did the government make a similar commitment to financial assistance. Admittedly it didn't affect as many people then, but many of those who were affected suffered greatly. Anyone would think that the current flooding is impacting on people who are both core Tory voters and core Daily Heil readership...

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