Another day, another example of why Young Dave was spot on when he referred to UKIP as being full of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, as Godfrey Bloom, happily trousering his salary and expense package from the European Parliament (EP) despite being vehemently opposed to it, opened mouth and inserted boot when he talked of overseas aid going to “Bongo Bongo Land”.
Like Billy Connolly’s F-word, that phrase is loaded. It sums up the patronising mindset of white European superiority over the African colonials, the casual smear against their ability and even intelligence, and the idea that had it not been for the superior insights of those who colonised them, and without their continuing presence, the natives couldn’t possibly look after their own affairs.
Even Nigel “Thirsty” Farage had to admonish Bloom, who had called foreign aid “treason” and told that money was being spent on “Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it”. The conclusion reached by Full Fact was rather different: their analysis concluded that, although there was the potential for money to be misdirected, Government worked to get funds where they were needed.
This, though, was not enough to convince Bloom that he had done anything wrong, even losing his rag with Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, when the latter kept asking Bloom if he was racist. Bloom’s patronising efforts to persuade KGM to move on to another subject fell on stony ground, although the Mail’s assertion that he “stormed off”, when Bloom was at home, was a bit rich.
And there have been plenty of those willing to defend the wayward MEP, not least Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover, who asserted that “His 'bongo bongo' jibe was offensive but on foreign aid he speaks for the majority of Britons”. Really? “However insensitive he may be, I couldn’t help admiring him as he stood his ground during a fusillade of incredulous questions from the Today programme’s James Naughtie”.
Yes, if it’s not the deeply subversive Guardian to blame, it’s the BBC. Glover is stuck in a time warp of his own making and ought to get out more, but there is no such excuse for the whataboutery of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who asks “Where is Bongo Bongo Land anyway?” before asserting that Bloom’s argument has a “factual basis”.
Del Boy demands to know how “standards of governance, transparency and moral compunction in failing African states are every bit as high as they are in the UK” (note assumption of “failing”), without realising how aid is administered (he could start by reading the Full Fact analysis). And no, I don’t want to look over there, no matter how loudly Del is sneering.
Bloom got caught being a dozy bigot. He should say sorry, full stop, and end of.
Leaving aside the long and best forgotten language of 70s classics
Love Thy Neighbour and Curry and Chips there doesn't seem to be a single MP willing to admit to the true intention of foreign "aid".
Not one single one of them willing to counter the idea that we simply hand over this money from the goodness of our hearts.
Just remind me.
How much goes on foreign aid to help some people simply live another day?
And how much goes on aid to British farmers who have had the equivalent of a business problem (which other business wouldn't get help for) so that they can order the new Landcruiser or Discovery as planned?
Look at Pakistan, the Taliban attacks aid workers because they see foreign aid as undermining their control. If the Taliban feels that threatened surely we're doing something right?
In Afghanistan we could have "bought" the population and sorted out Al Queda and the heroin trade problems for a fraction of the cost of the military option but the rightwing prefers throwing money and British lives at the problem rather than be seen to give money to foreigners.
If we give money for a foreign water project and it's diverted to a Ferrari for a local politican then that's wrong. But if the politician says give me a Ferrari (or a new Landcruiser with all the toys) and I'll smash a terrorist training camp then just ask him to pick the colour! Done properly it's not foreign aid, it's British aid spent abroad.
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