Sunday 25 May 2008

Sensation! Man Praises Brown

Gordon Brown still has his admirers, it seems. I hope the poor fellow was listening to Radio 4's Sunday programme this morning, where I, half asleep, half heard this fellow Jim Wallis, singing the Great Helmsman's praises with gusto. In the past, it seems, he has likened him (along with Bono hem hem) to the prophet Micah; today he seemed to be saying Broon is a 19th-century evangelical misplaced in the wrong century. He praised his unparalleled insight into world poverty and injustice, its causes and cures. But has Brown really got any ideas beyond flinging taxpayers' money - sorry, 'resources' - at everything and expecting results? The world, he has said to Wallis, 'has the resources to end poverty but not the moral and political will'. That, apparently, is the job of the churches. Is this insight? It sounds more like buck passing - and it is, of course, firmly based on the exploded notion that We (i.e. the donor nations) have the solution to the world's woes, and that our aid money, if there's enough of it, will eventually eliminate poverty. If only. Isn't the 'moral and political will' more conspicuously lacking in the recipient countries, with their corrupt, kleptocratic regimes? The Broonite way of thinking ultimately reduces them to mere passive recipients, rather than moral agents.


  1. Spot on Nige, and congrats on the new blog!

    It is even worse than you allude to. We are exacerbating the corruption with our donations. Tyrants like Mugabe feed on foreign aid.

    We are also suppressing local economic growth with our largesse. How are local farmers supposed to prosper when the world community dumps food on their markets? How are technology entrepreneurs supposed to prosper when donors dump $100 laptops on their markets?

    You're right, we are not treating them like active moral agents. More like we are treating them as passive, helpless zoo animals.

  2. On Dimbleby's documentary about Russia last night a woman was idolising good old Joe, they got the numbers wrong, she said, he wasn't as half as bad as they made out, comrade, just like Gordon. Nige if word verification is an ongoing feature of your blog I am going to have to start buying reading glasses from some other vendor than Borders Books.

  3. Ah I'd better look into that, Malty. If only I understood how these blog things wrok...