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I did not know we gave foreign aid to Argentina. Or Brazil. Seeing as they are not exactly potless God knows why especially we give money as if this is some cockamamie attempt to curry favour we haven’t exactly got very far. Let’s look at the evidence shall we? Brazil has a space program, Brazil is hosting not just this year’s football World Cup but the next Olympics. It’s like crying poverty because you can’t afford to fill the Bentley. As to Argentina. Well, they fucking hate us. They shouldn’t of course because oddly enough we historically have strong links of blood and culture with Argentina but they have a perennial knicker-twist over the Falklands. Oh, and the Argentinian government has just gone on a spree of arms buying. Although God alone knows (and the Pope is an Argentine recall) what the be-buggery they will manage to do with a squadron of knackered Spanish Mirages.

Look, don’t get me wrong… I am not 100% contra international aid (there is a reason I was conceived in Zambia). Zambia had a space program as well. My parents were paid by the FCO to teach out there and I guess fair enough. Up to a point and all that but most of my adult life has seen me living in English inner-city areas: Nottingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and they all have loads of places you can wire money back to the old country from. This genuine charity is larger than the official stuff in scale and is vastly better targeted. That is the future of aid – the little things like getting your uncle a cellphone so he knows where to land the fish he caught etc. Of course that means making life easier for non-EEA citizens to work here and we can imagine the howls over that – UKip et. al. are already doing their ends over Poles and such. I don’t have a problem myself but people seem obsessed with the idea of employment as a zero-sum game. It seems connected to the idea that “creating jobs” is a “good thing” in and of itself. No it isn’t. Imagine trying to explain what you do to a pig-poker from 1725? They’d probs burn you at the stake – “He be consorting with the demons of the HTML”. Destroying jobs is the “good thing”. It of course creates jobs our ancestors would never believe. And who wouldn’t rather design computer games than wallow in shit with the piggies? A woman I spoke to on a train once doing a BSc in games design thought otherwise. Blimey, I envied her! That is like so cool.

She was also very good looking but then life is a series of events.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the Chancellor should find savings by stopping aid that goes to countries who “don’t need it”.

Mr Nuttall was speaking during a debate on the BBC show [Question Time] about Mr Osborne’s recently announced plans to cut the welfare bill by £12 billion in the two years after the 2015 election.

Mr Nuttall said: “The welfare budget under Labour spiralled out of control, it could not go on and something had to be done.

“However there is another budget which is ringfenced which comes to around £12bn, it is called the foreign aid budget.

“I am not against giving money to countries who are in dire need, people who need to be fed. But what I am against is giving money to countries like Argentina and Brazil.

“I believe the way you should pay for these cuts is by going to the foreign aid budget and taking money off countries who don’t need it because quite frankly that’s your tax and it should be spent on our own people.”

Whilst I appreciate the principle of Nuttall there is a problem. How can I explain this? Here is a start…

It was reported over the weekend that Argentina have [sic] received £2m in aid from Britain since 2012.

Now two million quid sounds a lot to you and me but in the grand scheme it is fuck all. That is money Osborne can lose down the back of the sofa. Yes, the principle of not giving Argentina money (it annoys me) is sound but if anyone believes that is going to impact the deficit then they really need to think a bit deeper. Ukip are either being thick or dishonest.

I dunno. I do know we should not give government aid to Argentina but I also know the quantities involved are not a scratch upon the buttock of the body politrick’s pissing money up a rope. I do though believe in being much more open door (which UKip isn’t) rather than saying ‘eff off but we’ll give you monies.

In 1993 I bought a PC (my first but not my last). It was a second-user Elonex 386-SX16 and was truly abysmal (cheap, mind). I am fine with Bill and Melinda Gates giving a stunning sum to the potless and starving. I did and do through them. Fine.

I believe in charity and though I am not a rich man I do not starve I believe in charity in the sense of money, goods, whatever freely given. Not, absolutely not, cash taken from me by force. Jesus Christ! In the 1980s there was a famine in Ethiopia and I (despite being a primary school kid) organised a “Santa’s Grotto” which meant wearing me ma’s tights because I wound-up dressed-up as “head elf”. We raised a few hundred notes. I did that off my own bat and my mates came in. That is charity.

That is what it should be about.


  1. single acts of tyranny says:

    I saw a beggar today in sunny Basingstoke drinking Costa coffee, checking his smart phone (sic).

  2. Paul Marks says:

    Yes Nick – the whole government aid budget is demented (Peter Bauer proved that long ago).

    But the aid to Argentina and Brazil is especially demented.

    I have a copy of a letter that my Member of Parliament sent in protest against aid-to-Argentina.

    But Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and their friends are arrogant people – astonishingly arrogant.

    Care about what the British people think?

    They do not even care what most Conservative Members of Parliament think.

  3. John Galt says:

    Definition of Foreign Aid:
    Transferring wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

  4. NickM says:

    i would like a copy of that Paul. If you are dealing like!

  5. Well I have a physical copy of the reply of the reply from Jeremy Browne (the Minister of State). August 2012.

    “Dear Philip.

    Thank you for your letter of 20 June on behalf of several of your constituents about the Argentinean Debt Default and Early Day Motion 226. I apologise for the delay in replying.

    I can assure you and your constituents that the UK is deeply concerned by the recent Argentine actions in respect of our trading relationship. including measures aimed at UK businesses. We strongly support the EU’s suit against Argentina in the World Trade Organisation, At the G20 Summit in June, the Prime Minister made it clear the U.K. finds Argentine behaviour with respect to trade and investment unacceptable. We are committed to pursuing this agenda, working with our global partners across the full range of trade and investment fora.

    Yours Sincerely.

    Jeremy Browne MP.

    Minister of State.”

    After this bullshit letter (almost certainly written by a Civil Servant – I used to write letters like this when I was at the Home Office, they are signed with an auto pen, the minister may not even see them) which does not even mention OVERSEAS AID (which is what Early Day Motion 226 was actually about) the government went on giving Argentina aid.

    And the government of Argentina continued to plot against the Falklands.

    I a tribal Tory – been so all my life (much to the amusement of fellow libertarians) but, I find it hard to even think of the name “David Cameron” without going into a rage.

  6. Sam Duncan says:

    “I a tribal Tory – been so all my life (much to the amusement of fellow libertarians) but, I find it hard to even think of the name “David Cameron” without going into a rage.”

    I’d put my name to that statement.

    Nick’s right, of course. Two million quid is nothing to governments. Our lot spends that much every 90 seconds or so (which shows you how bad things are: what Chris Tarrant would call “a life changing amount” of money to you or me gets pissed up the wall in less time than it takes to soft-boil an egg). I was going to make a crack about it not dropping directly into the tin cups of the beggars on the streets of Buenos Aires, serving instead as beer money for the Kirchner mob, but it’s probably close to the truth. Forget their space program, what would the Argentinian presidency’s annual hospitality bill be, d’you think? £2m would buy you a pretty decent pile of Ferrero Rocher.

  7. NickM says:

    Well Paul, iDave is a TINO – Toryin Name Only. What Clegg is is beyond contempt. Millipede is like whatever. Ed Balls is mental. Truly mental. The bizarre truth is that the Argentinians now lack the military wherewithal to take the Falklands by force and we lack the wherewithal to re-take ‘em. My Argentinian literary hero, Jorge Luis Borges, called the ’82 war, “Two bald men fighting over a comb”. Well, we’re both even balder now. So the Argentinians are reduced to playing les buggeurs risible and we are left with pointless rhetoric about fine naval traditions (rum, sodomy and the lash all that) which actually makes a lot more sense if you actually have warships.

    And if you want to see a bald man just ask me about the F-35 and the Queen Elizabeth class carriers and I shall get tearing hair. I also have a Swiss astronomical hero. Fritz Zwicky. He was fond of the term “spherical bastard” meaning a bastard whatever angle you looked from. British defence procurement is an absolute spherical bastard.

  8. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    “After this bullshit letter (almost certainly written by a Civil Servant … which does not even mention OVERSEAS AID (which is what Early Day Motion 226 was actually about) the government went on giving Argentina aid”

    I had a couple of these from my MP when I used to bother writing. Simply ignore the subject actually raised and copy and past from a current policy document. Utterly pointless.

    Even when the tories were the pre-2010 opposition, my worthless MP could not bring herself to condemn the Labour government dealing with criminals and buying stolen goods.

  9. Mr Ed says:

    ‘My Argentinian literary hero, Jorge Luis Borges, called the ’82 war, “Two bald men fighting over a comb”.’

    It was not that of course, it was a bunch of genocidal thugs staging mock executions on unarmed civilians and imprisoning people in huts without adequate food or sanitation being resisted then defeated by a disciplined Armed Forces acting under the rule of law, but you wouldn’t expect accuracy or respect for life and property from a literary type I suppose.

  10. Single Acts of Tyranny – sadly yes.

    Sam and Nick – yes.

    Mr Ed – yes Borges was wrong.

    But he was a good man (who has spent his life opposing both the Peronists AND the military dictators of Argentina, it took a lot of courage to oppose BOTH).

    By 1982 Borges was old – and surrounded by lunatics demanding war.

    To question the Argentine claim to the Falklands (to say the place was not worth a war) was considered treason by many of his fellow countrymen.

  11. NickM says:

    Peron hated Borges so much he removed him from his academic post and made him a market inspector. A role he did deliberately badly. So badly Peron was forced to make him head of the Argentine National Library – a role Borges adored. He shoots, he scores.

  12. Nick – I suspect that we agree that a lot of dictators would not have treated Borges so gently.

  13. Mr Ed says:

    I suppose that my comment was a bit harsh, if fair. Of course, the distance between the likes of Peron and Hitler and Stalin is obvious by the fact that Borges lived to mock his tormentors.

    I have just bought some more Chilean wine as a treat to myself and a gesture of thanks for their help in 1982. Do we give Chile aid? The fact that it doesn’t need it, and that it does harm, is besides the point, if we give aid to our enemies or even to our grumpy neighbours (as enshrined in law)

    then why not to our friends? What sickness is it that runs in these people, who should be impeached and banned from all public office (and benefits) for life.

  14. Ed – sadly the new government in Chile is no friend of the United Kingdom.

    In a future conflict with Argentina we would have no major friends in Latin America.

  15. Mr Ed says:

    Yes, only friends with East Germany, but the vineyards owners may well be on our side. Piñera, the outgoing President has been a ‘John Major’ or Kerensky figure.

  16. Oh yes – the vineyard owners will be on our side in Chile.

    Not in California – were a lot of vineyard owners are Hollywood leftists (or computer leftists) playing at being winemakers.

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