The UK government’s decision to merge DFID and the Foreign Office may be depressing, as I wrote last week, but it has triggered some interesting responses. These include an excellent political obituary from DFID lifer Phil Mason; some straw clutchism from Malcolm Chalmers at RUSI (who thinks DFID will swallow FCO, not the other way round, because its budget is so much bigger) and on HuffPo, Laurie Lee (Care International, ex Downing Street) says that in the middle of a global crisis, ‘the prime minister has chosen to spend time fixing a problem which does not exist’.
Tom Kirk on Global Policy argued that DFID has managed to construct a technocratic camouflage around ‘we’re just reducing poverty’ that in practice allows it to get involved in power and politics. Scrapping DFID will expose UK aid to a much greater political backlash for interfering in domestic affairs.
Still, at least some wag was able to find a suitable name for the new merged department – a big welcome to FCDOff, everyone.
And finally, here’s Tony Blair’s take on the merger – negative, naturally, as his government established DFID back in 1997.
Taylor Brown, a gentle, smart brain of the Thinking and Working Politically movement, died suddenly earlier this month. Thanks Alina Rocha Menocal and Graham Teskey for this tribute to a lovely man.
Lots of bad news on aid and Covid-19:
Humanitarian Financing Is Failing the COVID-19 Frontlines. ‘Donors have given $2.5bn, of which 74% went to UN. NGOs received only ~$73m (3%) of the total, of which specified local and national organizations have received $1.7m (0.07%)’.
‘The spread of the pandemic is a key theme for Western observers, while, in contrast, local voices are more concerned about the potential “secondary impact” of food insecurity, poverty and the spread of other diseases such as measles, AIDS and pneumonia.’
Democracy in the US is just… different.
Paul Collier gets publicly kebabed by Mehdi Hassan. I wonder if he regrets moving on from solid work like The Bottom Billion to start holding forth about migration and ‘indigenous Britons’……