Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lord Ashcroft's greed. Britain you are better than this.

Stuff Reports 

Billionaire says turn aid taps off

                                                                                     Lord Michael Ashcroft 

A billionaire lord has urged the British government to "turn off the golden taps" of foreign aid and stop pandering to "St Bob and Bono".
Lord Michael Ashcroft, who made his debut on the Forbes billionaire list this year with an estimated worth of $US1 billion, has written an open letter to newly-appointed International Development Secretary Justine Greening, cheekily signing off "Michael xx".

"At a time when libraries are being closed and people with disabilities face benefit cuts, there is growing fury over giving away ever-increasing sums to foreigners," Lord Ashcroft wrote in the letter, published on a conservative blog.

Yeah why worry about people starving to death, why bother to attempt to save them, why not cut taxes so the rich can get richer and the libraries no longer have the funds to stay open.
Lord Ashcroft, a government adviser and major Tory donor, once held the record for the largest private donation to an Australian political party, having given the Liberal Party A$1 million in 2004.
In the letter published yesterday, Lord Ashcroft wrote he had spent much of his life travelling in Africa, Asia and South America and saw the "grinding" poverty.

Did he really see it ? I suggest not. Does he care well Wikipedia gives us some insight

"On 1 March 2010, after 10 years of holding his tax status as private, he revealed that he did not pay tax on his overseas earnings in the UK."

 So we have a man who avoids paying tax and now wants to dictate where the people who actually do pay tax are able to spend it. He may sit in the House of Lords but he has never faced an election, he represents greed.

"If aid worked, I would endorse the government's attempts to cosy up to St Bob and Bono.
"But I have always approached politics in the same way I approach business - relying on rigorous analysis of all available evidence.
"That is why I am urging you to do the same, since it is clear Britain's approach to aid is flawed and self-defeating.
"So I urge you to recommend to the prime minister to turn off the golden taps and stop flooding the developing world with our money."

" Our money " he means the British tax payers money, and the amount given

" Oxfam's chief executive Barbara Stocking said Dr Fox was wrong to question David Cameron's commitment to donating 0.7 per cent of Britain’s GDP in foreign aid. She insists that British aid offers great value to the taxpayer."

Not a lot 0.7 %, but Lord Ashcroft has also forgotten where British wealth originates from the ruthless and ongoing exploitation of the developing world from the colonial era through to today.

Ms Greening is heading an audit into revelations that consultancy firms working on Third World programs have been paid millions of dollars from the foreign aid budget, The Daily Mail reported.
She has asked that the spending of the Department of International Development (DfID) be reviewed "line by line".

Lord Ashcroft's letter went on to say that aid from Western nations "undermines progress".
"As it is often said, you cannot build democracy on other people's money.
"Aid corrodes civil society and encourages corruption and conflict."

Really ?  Ever heard of the Princess Ashika 74 lives lost at sea and the role of aid money in ensuring it doesn't happen again.

Tonga’s new ferry has arrived in the island nation, replacing the ill-fated Princess Ashika.
The new vessel, built in Japan, arrived in Nuku’alofa on Friday but it is not yet known when services will start.
It was paid for by the Japanese government under its aid programme, at a cost of around NZD$50 million."

Before signing off with two kisses, he wrote: "Don't allow your agenda to be determined by self-aggrandising pop stars and self-interested lobby groups.

Yes far better to allow billionaire parasites that don't pay their share to determine the focus and amount of British aid. Far better to let the people of South Asia and Africa starve and the people of Tonga to drown than to give just 0.7 % of British GDP in aid.
"If you really care about international development then you will shift your new department's focus towards a modern outlook that recognises the emerging shape of the world."

What he means by " emerging shape of the world " is financial aid to the corporate world allowing global banks for example to socialise their debt and privatise profits. It is almost inconceivable that this attitude still exists. I am a Kilted Kiwi born in the UK and Lord Ashcroft we are both in New Zealand and the UK better than this. You represent greed you do not speak for me you don't speak for us. 


Terence comments below I have linked to him here it is well worth going over and reading.


  1. Thanks for the critique Hamish. I thought it was an infuriating letter and that the coverage of it was pretty poor. The main problem I had was that it's factual accuracy is very questionable. I go through some of the actual facts on aid flows and aid effectiveness here:
    Thanks for the critique. The trouble with Lord Ashcroft is that while he claims allegiance to the to the facts, his letter is factually wrong, or at the very least misleading, in quite a few instances. He completely represents the aid effectiveness literature, for example. I go through this in some detail here: http://devpolicy.org/lord-ashcrofts-taps/

  2. Hi Terence
    Just read your post at development policy blog. An excellent piece of thinking.