Floods and Foreign Aid


Britain spends nearly £12 billion a year on foreign aid.  By international standards, we are almost grotesquely generous.  We are the second largest aid donor in absolute terms (behind the USA), and the sixth largest in relative terms, at 0.56% of GDP.  Sixth may sound unimpressive, but the top five are all small countries.  We are by far the largest donor, in relative terms, amongst large nations — ahead of the USA (0.19%), and Germany (0.38%).

We in UKIP say that’s disproportionate, and that we should focus first on disasters closers to home, like the recent floods.  And the public seem to agree with us.  A Taxpayers’ Alliance poll found that 69% of the public would like to freeze foreign aid, which the government plans to increase.  Well over 140,000 people signed the Daily Mail’s poll calling for foreign aid to be diverted to British flood victims. 

But not everyone agrees.  I’ve been called “wicked” on Twitter simply for stating UKIP’s position.  And even Peter Oborne in the Telegraph (for whom I have great respect) makes a strong case against our position.  He argues that while the floods have been dreadful for victims, the scale of the disaster in the UK is completely overshadowed by the much larger scale of floods and other disasters elsewhere in the world, and in poor countries, and therefore foreign aid must be maintained. He argues that it’s pretentious and disproportionate even to make the comparison between our (relatively) modest flood problems and overseas disaster relief.  I think he’s wrong.

The first point to make is a simple one.  It is the first duty of a British government to provide for the security and welfare and governance of the British people.  It is not their first duty to seek to provide security for the rest of the world.  It is arguable whether Britain has a moral duty to deal with all the world’s problems, and equally arguable whether, if so, the government is the best agent to do that work.

Which brings us to the second key point.  The demand for aid, globally, is almost unlimited.  While we debate whether to admit a few hundred Syrian refugees into the UK, there are millions more in desperate straits.  We can’t help them all.  There are volcanoes and tsunamis and earthquakes and floods all around the world, and even with our large aid budget, we can merely scratch the surface.  So we are reduced to what a cynic may describe as gesture politics.  Overcome by survivors’ guilt and post-colonial angst, we want to be seen to be doing something, anything, even though it has little effect.

The current UK flooding, on the other hand, is something we could do a huge amount to resolve, both in terms of immediate relief and of longer-term flood prevention.  And we could do so for a fraction of the foreign aid budget.  So in my view we should do it, and the government has an obligation to help these British people.  It has no such obligation for the rest of the world, even though we should all, of course, like to do what we could.

That is why UKIP would support a more limited foreign aid budget, focused on direct disaster relief.  Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes.  Tents, blankets, food, medicine.  But we do not believe we should be going to countries like China and India which can afford nuclear weapons and space programmes, and helping to finance their social services.  These growing economies can and should be looking after their own people, and we should be looking after ours.

We are all familiar with the old cliché about money given by poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries — but there is a lot of truth in it.  And there is ample evidence that money sent with the best of intentions is poorly administered and goes astray.  Lorries used until the diesel runs out, and then abandoned, or commandeered by the bad guys.  There are even rumours that DFID is simply unable to spend the flood of money allocated to its budget.

But foreign aid, as a source of funding for developing countries, is completely over-shadowed in financial terms (though sadly not in media terms) by two other major income streams: trade, and overseas remittances from nationals working abroad.  This has been pointed out by many commentators, including the erudite (if fogeyish) William Rees-Mogg.  In fact we could probably do more for poor people in the Third World by scrapping the EU’s protectionist Common Agricultural Policy than by any amount of foreign aid.

There is one final point which will appeal to libertarians and may, I hope, appeal to Peter Oborne.  Broadly speaking, governments should do things that the people individually cannot do for themselves.  Things like armed forces and policing.  But philanthropy and overseas disaster relief can indeed be done by the citizen, not the state, and in my view it should be done that way.  If we had a more rational tax system in the UK, we might also start to see more of a culture of philanthropy, such as we see in the USA.

So I have a message for those internet trolls who fulminate against UKIP’s stand on foreign aid.  Put your money where your mouth is. Get out your cheque-book and send some money to www.dec.org.uk.



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48 Responses to Floods and Foreign Aid

  1. catalanbrian says:

    That rant alone is quite enough reason for any reasonable person to not vote UKIP. And before you ask. Yes I do pay taxes and yes I do also make my own contributions to overseas aid.

    • Charles Wardrop says:

      C’brian, you are impervious to balanced reason, and actually such an extremist that your position is quite likely to backfire, garnering support for the UKIP policy views you abhor!

    • Kevin Algar says:

      You’re absolutely right. That rant alone is quite enough reason for any reasonable person to not vote UKIP because it’s knee jerk reactionary nonsense.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        Neither of you have attempted to make any factual point. Indeed you look, as Brian has previously, like a paid troll.

        It may be that you both give 0.7% of your annual income to overseas charities (you certainly must if sincere) and nothing stops you giving more, from your own income, but what you are demanding is that as a non-reactionary (though Brian has elsewhere shown himself to be an environmental reactionary) you have some inherent right to demand the government takes money from those who don’t want it, to give.

        You can ethically both give far more of your income. I suspect if those who disagreed with UKIP all had the honesty to give 5% of their income to overseas charity that would do it. Are both of you willing to confirm that you do – or will now that it has been pointed out, or do you just want to control other people’s money?

      • catalanbrian says:

        Why do I need to make a factual point? I am simply expressing an opinion, and that does not demand any factual points. And let me tell you once again that I am not paid to hold my opinions. They are my own and I am free to broadcast them as widely as I like, in just the same way as any other person commenting on this blog. And in answer to your question about my personal donations take note that I currently give in excess of 5% of my income to charity.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        I said specifically giving it to “overseas charities” – do you give 5% to such. we all pay a lot more than 5% of our incomes to government on the theory that they are using (much of it) for essentially charitable purposes. If you want to take that much from my pocket specifically for overseas aid you should be willing to pay yourself, on that specific issue.

        Unfortunately, experience of alarmists, socialists and others demanding more government spending online, as you and I have previously discussed, shows an unfortunate but understandable trend of them making claims about their personal qualifications which seem improbable. On the other hand Kevin hasn’t answered my query.

        When I express opinions I try to have them at least related to fact. For example I pointed out that there is good economic reason to believe free trade will do more than “aid” so those supporting the latter should, logically, support quitting the EU even more, but they generally don’t.

  2. Me_Again says:

    You haven’t argued a single point Brian.
    The first duty of government is to look after the people they are to govern -by our consent- and the country in which we reside.
    Aid is charity and is in NO way the business of government. I cite the following extract as being the definitive reason why charity is a personal thing, the sad thing is that it has to come from across the pond from a time when America was more British than Britain.

    From the life and Times of Davy Crockett. Bear with it. Sockdolager is a knockout punch.

    SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

    The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favour of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favour of the bill.

    The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

    So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field ploughing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: “Don’t be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted.”

    He replied: “I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say.”

    I began: “Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…”

    “’Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

    This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

    “Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.”

    “I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.”

    “No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?”

    “Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.”

    “Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?”

    Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

    Davy Crockett”Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.”

    “It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centres, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

    So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favouritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

    No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

    The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.”

    I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

    “So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.”

    I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

    “Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plough has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.”

    He laughingly replied:

    “Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgement of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.”

    “If I don’t,” said I, “I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.”

    “No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.”

    “Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye… I must know your name.”
    “My name is Bunce.”
    “Not Horatio Bunce?”
    “Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go.”

    We shook hands and parted.

    It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

    At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

    Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

    I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

    I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him—no, that is not the word—I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

    But to return to my story: The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted—at least, they all knew me.

    In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

    “Fellow citizens—I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.”

    I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

    “And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

    “It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.”

    He came upon the stand and said:

    “Fellow citizens—It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.”

    He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

    I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

    “NOW, SIR,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

    “There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men—men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased—a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I suspect the likes of Bill Gates can track the gifted spend…if he were worried about it? The rest of us have quite some difficulty doing that. Just how much of a £1 helps the ultimate target? Who would reliably audit and as such would they be allowed to. Some say No ! Some have seen the guns appear if you mention …a little checking.

    As far as I can tell many of the aid organizations are businesses and that means a couple of things. Mainly admin and profit. Ok, nobody can do stuff for nothing, Just say Haiti and you’ll get the drift about this business.

    Newsnight (17 Feb) had an invited expert (engineer) to tell us the the UK is going to change physical shape quite dramatically by the end of this century. Just say London will go undersea and you’ll get that drift as well. I think he qualified that with a ‘could’ or a ‘maybe’ as is the norm with such statements. Lowering CO2 is the fix although the cause is not quite understood…you know that could/maybe stuff.

    So the case is made for swift and direct aid to UK asap…..might all goto London if the London boys watched that Newsnight programme.

  4. neilfutureboy says:

    Well summarised. it is not just that we have a use for the money, or that so much of it is stolen (“poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries”) but that if helping were really the aim, far more would be done by quitting the EU and allowing the 3rd world to trade freely with us. This does not seem to be part of the agenda of the “caring professions”.

    If we want to provide aid the best way would be to play to our high-tech strengths. Mobile phones are the driver of growth in Africa (people can now arrange trades in advance) and we could provide a communications satellite that would give good mobile phone coverage to the entire continent.

    In this spirit I would also like to disagree about India’s space programme being a reason to stop aid. This seems to me to be meanspirited jealousy (across the IK political spectrum) of our former colony for having a programme we could easily have if it were not for the Luddism of our ruling class. India has benefited in weather forecasting and educational broadcasts far beyond the cost of its programme & the correct response is not to castigate India for running in the space race but to compete as well.

  5. Me_Again says:

    Matt Ridley has a different take on the floods:-
    There is no evidence, Mr Miliband, Lord Stern and others, that our floods and storms are related to climate change

    In the old days we would have drowned a witch to stop the floods. These days the Green Party, Greenpeace and Ed Miliband demand we purge the climate sceptics.

    No insult is too strong for sceptics these days: they are “wilfully ignorant” (Ed Davey), “headless chickens” (the Prince of Wales) or “flat-earthers” (Lord Krebs), with “diplomas in idiocy” (one of my fellow Times columnists).What can these sceptics have been doing that so annoys the great and the good? They sound worse than terrorists. Actually, sceptics have pretty well all been purged already: look what happened to Johnny Ball and David Bellamy at the BBC. Spot the sceptic on the Climate Change Committee. Find me a sceptic within the Department of (energy and) Climate Change. Frankly, the sceptics are a ragtag bunch of mostly self-funded guerrillas, who have made little difference to policy — let alone caused the floods.

    What’s more, in the row over whether climate change is causing the current floods and storms, the sceptics are the ones who are sticking to the consensus, as set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — you know, the body that the alarm-mongers are always telling us to obey. And it is the sceptics who have been arguing for years for resilience and adaptation, rather than decarbonisation.Mr Miliband says: “This winter is a one-in-250-year event” (yet it’s nothing like as wet as 1929-30 if you count the whole of England and Wales, let alone Britain) and that “the science is clear”. The chief scientist of the Met Office, Dame Julia Slingo, tells us “all the evidence” suggests that climate change is contributing to this winter’s wetness. (Why, then, did she allow the Met Office to forecast in November that a dry winter was almost twice as likely as a wet winter?) Lord Stern, an economist, claimed that the recent weather is evidence “we are already experiencing the impact of climate change”.

    All three are choosing to disagree with the IPCC consensus. Here’s what the IPCC’s latest report actually says: “There continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.” Here’s what a paper published by 17 senior IPCC scientists from five different countries said last month: “It has not been possible to attribute rain-generated peak streamflow trends to anthropogenic climate change over the past several decades.” They go on to say that blaming climate change is a politician’s cheap excuse for far more relevant factors such as “what we do on or to the landscape” — building on flood plains, farm drainage etc.

    As for recent gales caused by a stuck jetstream, Dr Mat Collins, of Exeter University, an IPCC co-ordinating lead author, has revealed that the IPCC discussed whether changes to the jetstream could be linked to greenhouse gases and decided they could not. “There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jetstream to get stuck in the way it has this winter,” he says, in a statement that raises questions about Dame Julia’s credibility.In 2012, the Met Office agreed: “There continues to be little evidence that the recent increase in storminess over the UK is related to man-made climate change.” So please will Lord Stern, Dame Julia and Mr Miliband explain why they are misleading the public about the science?

    That consensus, by the way, has never said that climate change will necessarily be dangerous. The oft-quoted 97 per cent agreement among scientists refers to the statement that man-made climate change happens, not to future projections. No climate change sceptic that I know “denies” climate change, or even human contributions to it. It’s a lazy and unpleasant slur to say that they do.Sceptics say it is not happening fast enough to threaten more harm than the wasteful and regressive measures intended to combat it. So far they have been right. Over 30 years, global temperature has changed far more slowly than predicted in 95 per cent of the models, and has decelerated, not accelerated. When the sceptic David Whitehouse first pointed out the current 15 to 17-year standstill in global warming (after only 18 to 20 years of warming), he was ridiculed; now the science establishment admits the “pause” but claims to have some post-hoc explanations.

    While the green lobby has prioritised decarbonisation, sceptics have persistently advocated government spending on adaptation, so as to grab the benefits of climate change but avoid the harm, and be ready for cooling as well if the sun goes into a funk.

  6. Mike Stallard says:

    “It is arguable whether Britain has a moral duty to deal with all the world’s problems, and equally arguable whether, if so, the government is the best agent to do that work.”
    Would someone please explain to simple little me why I have any responsibility for, say, children soldiers in the Congo? Or, say, for people who are suffering from AIDS in South Africa?
    Only asking…

  7. Jane Davies says:

    As the old saying goes charity begins at home. The 12 billion so generously gifted to other countries is not government money it is hard earned taxpayers money and the fact is this present government seems to forget this. David Cameron has said money is no object and the UK is a rich country and those affected will be helped….yea right! So if, as he stated, the country is rich (what happened to the austerity?) why are so many British pensioners living in poverty? How many have perished so far this winter because of an inadequate state pension? Why does this rich country freeze the state pensions of just 4% just because of where they live? Was it Mahatma Gandhi who said poverty is another form of violence? This ‘rich’ country picks on the elderly and disabled for this special form of violence and it seems nobody gives a damn about this ongoing blatant victimisation and discrimination. Still, it means Cameron can strut around the world stage patting himself on the back for being so generous with taxpayers money…so that’s OK then.

  8. Paul says:

    Still no mention of EU directives and the direct result they had on the floods. Why?

  9. silverminer says:

    “Broadly speaking, governments should do things that the people individually cannot do for themselves.” Well said Roger (Libertarians would like to hear more of this from UKIP).

    Stealing money from the People, as all taxation is theft, simply to give it away cannot ever be justified. It can’t even be argued that the victims (tax payers) are getting something in return (second rate healthcare or having their children brainwashed for instance) for the money that’s been stolen from them.

    Any individual with a credit card and internet connection could give all their money, and more, away to charity this evening if they wanted to. But what gives anyone the right to vote that a slice of somebody else’s money should be give away against their will? Only someone with no understanding of where our rights come from would support this, because all rights stem from property rights (think about it….).

    As if this weren’t bad enough, the £12billion per year of our money being given away completely unnecessarily by the Government is being borrowed, every penny of it. So what these people supporting Government foreign aid are actually doing is tying debt milestone around their childrens’ necks to create a slush fund which is used largely used to support British foreign policy objectives rather than help the poor…but I guess it makes them feel good.

    Cut the foreign aid budget to zero and shut DFID. Let the People provide the aid directly if that is what they wish to do. That’s the way a free society works.

  10. Me_Again says:

    Borrowing money to then give away, and paying the interest on it too…….what muppets run our land.

  11. Alan Bailey says:

    Theft from the taxpayers is correct – if I choose to keep my money, help the unfortunates in the UK (really mean England!) or give it to corrupt countries ( and a few deserving ones) then that should be my choice.
    Why should the government be allowed to give some of my tax payments (or worse, borrow money in my name ) away in foreign aid. I note that the majority of the MPs, Ministers and many others on the gravy train are eager to give away what is not theirs to give, whilst almost drowning by getting their noses too deep in the trough of tax revenue.
    Where is the modern Churchill, Thatcher, Cromwell, Boudicca, Robin Hood or Hereward the Wake when they are sorely needed????????
    We had one civil war, is it time for another?

  12. Flyinthesky says:

    When in doubt, ask. The problem is there is no doubt. Care of our PPE programmed, divine right to rule fraternity, asking would be democratic representation wouldn’t it and they’re not going anywhere near that. I do hope that UKIP is mindful af actual democracy.
    UKIP’s declared position is to question the eu position, one should be mindful of the UN position, the eu on steroids!, far in excess of it’s origonal mandate and expanding exponentially. A great deal of eu mandate originates from UN nudge and directive, lobbied for by vested interest corporates. A prime example would be global vehicle harmonisation, it has nothing to do with road safety but the facilitation of global trade for the corporates, simmilarly GM food, it has nothing to do with feed the world but to cartelise agribusiness and exclude potential competition. We oooo and ahhhh about all these things without realising none of it is for “our” benefit.
    Way beyond my lifespan the ultimate winners will be the autonomous nations, a state we passed some 30 million people ago.
    What we have is a triumvirate of ruling parties, the challenger, UKIP and a few fringe parties. Within the constraints of what we have there are always enough of the divine right to rule class returned to maintain the status quo, the quangocrats, the envirocrats and the we know best come what may o’crats.
    It’s time we mucked them all out but are we that nation anymore. Until we have the courage to change something nothing will change.

    • Me_Again says:

      Extremely well said Sir.
      I for one will do more than spit nails if UKIP turn out like the others.
      The real danger for any party achieving government for the first time is the civil service. Last thing they want is any change -substantial change that is, not governmental change.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        I don’t agree with Fly’s objection to GM or some other things but I do agree with your worry. For UKIP to be different we have to have distinctly different & sane policies, otherwise we are just the LDs saying “vote for us we aren’t the ruling party”. While I am impressed with Roger’s open and constructive stand on energy policy there does seem to be a movement of avoiding having policies at the top level. Of course my antennae may be oversensitive in this direction.

  13. Paul says:

    I think UKIP is correct in their assertion that Man-made climate change is really happening and can be proved beyond doubt. Of course where they differ from mainstream political parties is whether or not we adapt or try to do something about it. As UKIP’s policy, if I read it correctly, wind and solar do have a place in the energy mix. What is at issue is whether or not coal and gas should be phased out within five or ten years.
    The same can be said of UKIP’s stance on, say, the recent flooding. UKIP, rightfully so, consider the EU role in this as non-existent and the fault lying somewhere between the foreign aid budget and a volunteer army which, if it were in force before the EU denied funds for it, could have cleaned up after and indeed stopped any flooding by way of ranks of volunteers tightly packed to stop the water going any further than the levels.
    Any talk of EU directives has, by now, been well and truly batted out of the ground by way of the overwhelming evidence provided by UKIP. Well done.

  14. Dan says:

    I have previously never paid much attention to the European elections and by extension to whomever was my MEP, but in an endeavour to better understand the Ukraine crisis which is intangibly linked to the EU I did a little research and found myself here and I must say I am deeply concerned with the policy’s and views on display here, this latest article I found a particularly painful read, and the argument’s in question being to my eye’s at least completely illogical.

    For instance in the first paragraph Roger states that our aid budget is ‘grotesquely generous’ the fact that the government ring fenced the aid budget despite the country being in a severe recession does not speak ill of our character as a nation rather the opposite, that despite being in difficult times we still chose to give aid to those in even more dire straights instead of turning our backs and averting our eye’s we held out a helping hand this in my opinion was one of our finer moment’s in modern history.

    In the following section he then goes on to equate the funding needed to repair the damage after the recent storms with the Aid budget simply he gives an either/or choice you can have this but not the other, as if there is no other possible way for the money needed to be drawn from other less vital areas or for taxes or levee’s to be raise, or deals with the insurance company’s reached for them to part fund future flood defence’s, no the money HAS to come from the aid budget there is apparently no other alternative I must admit this is a clever political ploy but not a sign of conscientious governance and as such this is very troubling to me,

    The next part I would say is the most disturbing of all “While we debate whether to admit a few hundred Syrian refugees into the UK, there are millions more in desperate straits. We can’t help them all. There are volcanoes and tsunamis and earthquakes and floods all around the world, and even with our large aid budget, we can merely scratch the surface. So we are reduced to what a cynic may describe as gesture politics. Overcome by survivors’ guilt and post-colonial angst, we want to be seen to be doing something, anything, even though it has little effect”

    I would agree to use a crude phrase that against the worlds problems the British Aid program’s budget is pissing in the wind but those millimetres we gain fighting against the tide are measured in individual incredibly precious human life’s nothing is more important then that surely? I would like to pose a question to you Mr Helmer now if I may. If we did what you suggest and used the entire aid budget to improve flood defence’s and by doing so withdrawing from the numerous and vital vaccination’s shelter medical education and sustenance programs that this money goes towards. How many life’s will be lost or irreparably maimed as a consequence? A hundred? a thousand? ten thousand? more? Sincerely I would ask you to rethink an incredibly immoral policy.

    To end on a bright note I would like you to think of all the benefit’s that the Aid budget brings to the UK it’s difficult to refuse British businesses if the Brit’s are investing in your country’s infrastructure, its rather hard to want to blow up British citizens if they feed your kid’s, it’s trying to resist a future call for Aid from a country that gave when yours was in peril. It’s impossible to be diminished by a course of action that is entirely noble.

    Yours sincerely a trouble constituent

    • Me_Again says:

      Your last paragraph is just unbelievable…….I can’t deal with the rest of the twaddle for thinking of that last bit…….
      Naivete springs to mind as a generous accolade for you, delusional is not so nice.
      It is not the responsibility of this government to GIVE away taxpayers money to ‘charity’ which is what foreign aid is. Any citizen is welcome to donate to charity as much or as little as they wish.
      Charity is an individual act, not the business of government other than disaster relief.

      • Dan says:

        Thank you for your reply, to start off I have to vehemently disagree with your assertion that “Charity is not the business of government” when everything the executive section of government does is an act of charity.

        For example let’s create a fictional character called Anna, she need’s a operation to fix a dodgy spine and so using tax’s that you and I contribute her operation is paid for and she can continue on with her life, now you and me don’t know Anna nor are we ever likely to , and yet we gave money to help her suffering completely anonymously due to the fact that she did not have the fiscal resource’s to help herself in this matter, it goes without saying we derived no benefit from this personally so if this is not the very definition of charity then what is?

        In short everything the government funds that is not of direct benefit to each individual taxpayer IS an act of charity by the taxpayer I believe it is called the welfare state.

        I would also draw your attention to my central point that if the government did not give away sum’s of aid money than vast numbers of people will be maimed or die, for example there is a little on earth that is as good value as vaccination’s for the price they cost and the result’s they give, can you imagine what would happen if tomorrow the government announces no more overseas preventative medicine programs there to expensive! I can not imagine that pile’s of dead children make good policy can you?

      • Me_Again says:

        Well Dan I believe you are totally incorrect on just about everything.
        Taxes raised in this country and used for the benefit of people in this country are not charitable, it’s what they are for. Build a motorway or footbridge and it is used by a small number relative to the population but it isn’t charity. health is not charity because when the state aids people’s health it is helping the nation indirectly to have a more productive person.

        I would refer you to this piece of work to explain the difference and why it isn’t a government function to provide charity.

        I would recommend reading that in its entirety. In fact I would recommend that all those elected to serve their constituents, at local or nation level, read that piece and abide by it.

    • silverminer says:

      Dan, with all due respect, you are missing the main point here. Charity is not charity at all when it is forced at the point of a gun (try not paying your taxes and you’ll see what I mean). If you put your hand in your own pocket and voluntarily give of your own resources to an overseas good cause, then all power to you. You have chosen to support something that you believe to be worthwhile and the only person harmed has been yourself (through loss of your own wealth). This is the true meaning of charity and I agree it is a noble thing.

      The Foreign Aid budget is something quite different. The State steals your money through taxation (or borrows it loading the cost on our children), which is not voluntary and you’ll be imprisoned if you fail to pay. It then sets aside an arbitrary sum, I believe it is working towards 0.7% of GDP, which it then claims to use for overseas development aid, i.e. the meme is that we’re helping poor people and aren’t we nice people because of it. What this money is actually used for is a slush fund to facilitate UK foreign policy. It’s grease for the wheels of the Anglo American Empire. Some of it finds a worthwhile home, to give a veneer of respectability, but very much of it doesn’t.

      State Foreign Aid is another tool in our meddling overseas and would be better done away with entirely. There is no honour in this and it is not charity, i.e. we have no right to feel any pride over it. The people of this island can help the poor in foreign lands themselves, if they choose to, with their own money through private charities, without any help from the corrupt psychopaths who feel, for some reason, that they have some divine right to rule over us and confiscate our resources.

      • Me_Again says:

        Well said Silverminer.

      • Dan says:

        Thank you for your reply you made a lot of interesting point’s there so I apologise in advance if I do not address them all, your initial statement is that state sponsored taxation is essentially theft from the individual , I am not going there, people have spent their lives’ battling this point backwards and forwards so I can not really give a good enough argument in this comment box.

        However I will say that unless you don’t use power the road’s any other transport the NHS, eat food you have grown yourself or just about any other facet’s that make up modern existence. Then you have a moral obligation to pay tax as government funds either paid for or subsidised all of it, if you don’t then I’m impressed with your wilderness skill’s especially since you seem to have cobbled together a working computer and broad band connection out of stick’s and deer poo.

        I can not speak for the “Anglo American” empire or our nation’s poor foreign policy, but your central point is that not all the money goes were it should do, to which I
        agree to, personally I would rather the Aid budget went towards a creation of an overseas uk agency that carried out the implementation of the programs the budget fund’s itself rather than handing it to local agency’s which have too little oversight although I can see how my approach would be undiplomatic and wasteful in some scenarios but an acceptable compromise considering our domestic politics’.

        In your last section you raise a common argument that, people should fund charity’s themselves if they feel that strongly about it, when charity donation’s are at an all time low and without government funds there is no way that we will reach the amount that we are currently giving, as a result of this preventative medicine programs will be discontinued and thus we will be left with a pile of dead children this is not even bad policy this is evil.

        I would like to ask the commenter’s a simple question if the Aid Program was discontinued would it not cost a lot of children their life?

      • silverminer says:

        Dan, if someone breaks in and robs your house over night and steals your money out of your wallet, then goes out and buys you some groceries with half of it, leaves them on your doorstep with a nice ribbon wrapped round them expecting you to be grateful, then keeps the rest, do you have a moral obligation to leave the door on the latch for him next time? I’d say no. Better that he’d left your money alone and you’d gone out and chosen your own groceries, things you actually wanted, the following day. The State is illegitimate, all logic points to that conclusion. We’ve been brainwashed otherwise for such a long time that when someone states the obvious and says “the Emperor has no clothes”, it takes a while to get your head around it. They have to keep you believing that we need them or it’s over for them, the Elites, and we’re free :).

        As for the “pile of dead children” I’d point you to this:-

        Vaccines are extremely poor ways of improving health, they actually degrade the immune system, but make huge profits for Big Pharma. Clean water, decent food and sanitation were what did it for us, i.e. economic development. I’d say keeping our noses out of the Middle East, rather than fomenting faux revolutions would be a good way of keeping the body count down, that and quitting the drone attacks, imposing IMF austerity plans etc. We’re doing more harm than good in the world. We aren’t the good guys any more (if we ever where…). Many private charities are doing good work and I’d like you be able to keep more of your money so you can support them better.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Dan, As I said in my earlier comment this rant by Mr Helmer is alone a good enough reason to not vote UKIP. And from the various other comments you will see just how reactionary and selfish the UKIP supporters are. Don’t even be tempted!

  15. Richard111 says:


    Paul says: “I think UKIP is correct in their assertion that Man-made climate change is really happening and can be proved beyond doubt.”

    Please post a link to this proof beyond doubt.

    • Me_Again says:

      He’s doing doublespeak Richard. Been on here for a couple of weeks batting on about how UKIP should expose some EU conspiracy to flood Somerset or something. Suggest you ignore or play along.

  16. DICK R says:

    If Catalanbrian is so generous of spirit I am sure that he and I can come to some arrangement with HMRC whereby he pays may share of the tax that goes into subsidising third world banana republics .

  17. Paul says:

    “Been on here for a couple of weeks batting on about how UKIP should expose some EU conspiracy to flood Somerset or something. Suggest you ignore or play along.

    You see this is why UKIP is ultimately doomed. They really are swivel eyed golf club types. I didn’t believe it really until recently reading the inane comments such as those above. Helmer worship has got the better of you all just like Farage worship is the cause of the tailing off in the polls.
    So to suggest that the EU directives leading to flooding as a conspiracy theory merely serves to expose the utter moronic mindset of this party.
    I posted that ludicrous piece earlier to get a reaction and you idiots fell for it hook, line and sinker just like I knew you would.
    You guys are no different to the Guardian reading trendies only you wear purple rather than red.
    Gave me a chuckle to know how predictable you lot really are.

    • Me_Again says:

      Well paul don’t vote for us. OK?

      Ps I’ve never played golf in my life.
      I worship no one and nothing.

      Simply because you waffle on about directives without actually naming and numbering them means you’re talking through an alternative spout mate.

  18. Paul says:

    Oh dear you really do labour under a delusion don’t you Me? It comes to something when a supposed clued up party whose sole aim is to expose the inner workings of all things bad in the EU can be so naive even implying that those who know more of the inner workings of Brussels as conspiracy theorists. What a joke of a political party. Even Roger Helmer himself has admitted that these directives have had a direct effect but is shy to go further because he knew that UKIP was asleep at the wheel when it comes to even voting against these measures.

    Oh well, here goes:
    European Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC).
    Bathing Waters Directive, Natura 2000, the Drinking Water Directive, the Freshwater Fish Directive, the Shellfish Waters Directive, the Habitats Directive, the Nitrates Directive and the Urban Waste Water Directive, not to mention the Groundwater Directive. Directive 2008/105/EC, Directive 2000/60/EC on and on and on.

    I’m not going to make your life too easy by directing you to what lies behind each one but google is your friend. Ask Mr. Helmer he might help you…………Oh wait, perhaps not he’s not brought these to your attention but instead concentrates on safe issues just like you guys like it. You know – wind farms, immigration and red meat issues which golf club types love to lay into.

    • Me_Again says:

      European Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC)
      Well, read the first one. Nothing in there to alarm unless its written in invisible subtext or are you saying the words written aren’t the ones implemented. Don’t see what your problem with it is.
      The Bathing water directive you mention is a testing regime to prevent humans from swimming in turds as far as I can see. Do you like swimming with enterococci? It’s not like swimming with dolphins you know.

      Natura 2000 is a good idea in principal, I imagine it might give some farmers a problem but unless you’ve studied environmental science at high level -like me- then you probably won’t understand why biodiversity is as important to us in the long term as it is the species concerned in the short term. Preventing land owners from doing certain things on their land is not new to Natura 2000. Planning permission need be obtained for a variety of things not just buildings. So by restricting which activities may safely take place on a particular piece of land they are merely using an existing authority.
      I’m starting to get bored now. I haven’t seen anything to raise an eyebrow yet, never mind about becoming alarmed. These directives appear to be what they say they are, if you have any specifics please feel free to point to them.

      I would have preferred that these instruments had come through the Houses of Parliament, proposed by those elected to serve the national interest but I can see no evidence of a subtext.

      I am utterly against intensive farming since it isn’t in itself sustainable, merely destructive. I am utterly against building ordinary houses on a flood plain -out of common sense rather than fear of rising sea levels. I would rather these things were dealt with through commonsense but I have met some obtuse farmers……

  19. Paul says:

    You should join Greenpeace. I expect you believe in Man-made climate change to boot.

    • Me_Again says:

      No, Greenpeace are a bunch of loonies who only see one side of a story and they ahve hijacked sensible environmental concerns. There is insufficient evidence for man made global warming at present but if evidence does become available I’m prepared to examine it, and if the evidence is compelling, to change my opinion.

  20. Paul says:

    Tell you what Me. Read through these updates and then question why UKIP are being so silent on this issue. The evidence is overwhelming:


    • Me_Again says:

      There’s no evidence there, just Northy ranting on about it. Where is the evidence you speak of?
      You’re as bad as the warmistas declaring evidence of global warming where there is none.
      You have two sets of opinions as usual which oppose. The problem with this stuff is that you have a crossover of two memes. On the one hand idiots are blaming climate change for the unnatural flooding -ridiculous IMHO, just bad weather, and then on the other side people putting farmland and houses above the environment and accusing TPTB of choosing to flood them -as if they are the only possibilities!

      Without the adverse weather was there a problem in Somerset? Yes, but it wasn’t as bad and locally contained in terms of complaint, probably good idea that it is now public and can’t be ignored. There’s a lot to be said for the notion that the closure of ROF37 and the subsequent lack of pumping has contributed greatly [yes I’ve read Mr Gobby North on that [he makes you seem tolerant] and also the chap who posted on Tallbloke and then added even more specifics about ROF37]. But mostly the simple fact is that it isn’t clear what the solution might be. It is certainly true that trees are 67% more efficient at causing rainwater to soak into ground than grassland -that’s an empirical fact and easily verified. What is difficult to ‘guess’ is how much by way of forestry do you need on the upper reaches to take a significant amount of volume away from the river to compensate for extra concrete and reduced dredging lower down. The idea of soak-aways to cope with extra high tides and even ordinary high tides is sensible. Why spend millions raising a dyke by 2 feet if you can achieve the same by opening a breach in selected areas? What these measures, and probably no other, can do is account for an unusual aggregation of factors which conspire too overload the system. I bet lots of folk in the EA and wherever else who had input to the soak-away idea, thought that those measures would cope with even what we faced. They were wrong. But then the question is how much more do you spend defending against what could be indefensible? Might there be a point at which you say I’ve mitigated against a 1:1000 event, do you want to mitigate against a 1:10000 event now? As you do that a 1:100000 event occurs -cue much gnashing of teeth and wailing in the aisles as well as finger pointing and the blaming of witchcraft. Might you also decide that future policy would be to NOT allow domestic premises to be built on flood plains without flood defences built in?

      I just can’t bring myself to give credence to any deliberate policy of flooding -other than as soak- aways. But that’s my opinion, you are welcome to yours.

  21. Paul says:

    You’ve just got a downer on Richard North because he knows UKIP inside out and they don’t like that. As for refering to him as Gobby North does your point of view no service at all. Go on, rely on Helmer and others for your view even though Helmer seems to agree with North on this one (he said so directly) but chooses to ignore the issue for his own reasons, along with the UKIP leadership.
    During your wordy response you claim that it’s not clear what the solution might be.
    Try looking back pre 1994 to see how well the farmers and land owners coped for centuries for a clue to your quest.
    The evil hand of the EU which your party go on and on about are at the heart of the problem and ironically your party is the last to use this opportunity to call this one.
    Not a way to run a nightclub you know.

  22. Paul says:

    Game , set and match.

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