I have noted on this blog on a previous occassion that there is a Polly Toynbee rule. Without exception, any cause or policy that the dreadful Harridan supports is one that any right thinking person would oppose. Toynbee is a great way to check your sanity. Just use google to search out her views on any matter and if you disagree 100% with what the old trout says then you know that you still have your marbles. Irish rock singer Bono is another person happy to express his strong views on all matters of global importance, or that he deems to be of global importance. To be fair to Bono he is not wrong about everything. Just almost everything. Why anyone should listen to the man just becuase he wrote a few great songs a long time ago is not exactly clear to me but he appears to have the ear of those in power. We live in a strange world.
It should be clear by now that I think Bono is a prize git. But in the interests of balance I must admit that my birthday play list of 200 includes two U2 tracks.I can almost forgive him for being an IRA sympathiser ( well okay I cannot forgive him) during the era when he produced Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year’s Day. Okay the sentiments behind the former offering are a bit suspect given Bono’s views on the Troubles but the way he has airbrushed his former leanings from history suggests that he might almost regret his youthful folly. I do hope so. Sadly as the quality of U2’s output has declined into droning self indulgence the quanitity of Bono’s elder statesman of rock pronouncements on serious matters has increased. There seems to be some sort of inverse correlation at play.
Whilst conceding that Bono occassionally gets it right there is a rock solid rule relating to his sermons. Firstly the solution to any problem that he addresses will require vast amounts of money and that money must “on moral grounds” come from the Governments of the West. And secondly, when the craven vote seeking politicians cave into Bono’s demands, the money they allocate on behalf of their grateful taxpayers is invariably pissed away and fails to assist those Bono thinks we must save one iota. These Bono rules are golden rules and can safely be applied to anything the man supports. We might at this stage note that Bono and his pals in U2 are themselves not great ones for paying more tax than they have to. This is the rare occassion where Bono is correct, in that he recognises that no-one has an obligation to pay any more tax than they are legally obliged to and as such I cannot fault him for the various wheezes he uses to ensure that he retains an incredibly high percentage of his earnings, leaving rather less than you might assume for the taxman. None the less you might think it a bit cheeky for someone who takes that view to demand that Governments that are running huge deficits increase those deficits to fund his pet schemes, leaving other taxpayers and future generations of taxpapers to pick up the tab. Bono is heavily into unfunded committments. That is committments for other folks.
I trust that I have explained the Bono golden rule and a number of reasons why I think he is a prize git. This brings me neatly to foreign aid and a cracking story out today, not surprisingly, in TheDaily Mail . The gist of the piece for those who cannot bear to visit the celeb packed Mail website is that the Millenium Project ( a Bono pet) wants to bring poor Africans out of poverty and has spent a vast amount of money on a village in Ghana but which has absolutely no effect whatsoever as the cash has all been siphoned off and spent on the wrong things. As if the poor sods in this village had not suffered enough they also had to put up with a visit from the dreaded Bono himself. The amount spent works out at seven and a half grand per villager and, guess what, the British Government is pissing away 11.5 million pounds on this Millenium project nonsense.
Let’s start back in Britain. The British Government is heavily and debt and despite the promises from Call Me Dave and his useless chancellor Osborne that debt grows daily thanks to a bulging budget deficit which the coalition has done nothing to control. Indeed the deficit is in fact greater than it was under Labour. So when Call Me Dave agrees to spend 11.5 million quid in Africa to make Bono happy/make people stop thinking Tories are nasty/ appease his conscience that is 11.5 million quid Dave has not actually got. All he is doing is adding to the legacy of debt he passes on to the next Government, or rather to future generations of taxpayers. Britain cannot afford to give a penny in foreign aid and indeed there are very moral reasons why she should not.
The first is that aid is almost always stolen by incompetent administrators and corrupt officials. The best definition of foreign aid is “the transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.” Why you may ask does Ghana need foreign aid? It is the world’s third largest cocioa producer and its fertile well waterered lands also support large palm oil plantations and many other export and food crops. It is the world’s tenth largest gold producer and also produces vast amounts of diamonds, silver, bauxite, etc etc. Check out the CIA handbook HERE if you doubt me. The fact that there are poor people living in such a well endowed country where the poor folks actually seem to be getting poorer is simply becuase whichever crook rules Ghana at any given time steals as much as he can. Meanwhile state officials steal as much as they can. If you pour foreign aid into a country like Ghana it simply means that a)those who are engaged in organised theft as a profession ( ie the rulers and the officials) will have more to steal and b) there will be no incentive for Gahan or Ghanains to reform a system which so grotesquely misallocates wealth and capital. Cut off the aid and subsidy and that will itself force reform (although it may take a long while). Aid of the Bono variety prevents reform. What Africa needs is honest Government, low taxation and capitalism ( as Mozambique has shown). It certainly does not need vast amounts of cash sent over by bankrupt Western countries which will merely make the kleptocrats richer and cap any internal pressure for much needed reform. The odd village might just get clean water thanks to the Western billions but if you want a whole country or continent to change you need to change the way those countries are run and aid delays that process whilst enriching already rich thieves.
Africans need more Millenium projects like they need another visit from a git like Bono.