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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Charity should begin ... ... where it is most needed!

So, "Hurrah!" for the UK.  Through its government, and announced by its Prime Minister, it is immediately donating no less than £6million (some reports speak of £10million) to provide much-needed relief for the hurricane-stricken Philippines.  It certainly sounds impressive to those of us who are unlikely to earn even £1million in a full lifetime.  And the need is certainly obvious.  The pictures that we have seen on our television screens, and in our newspapers, are of total devastation. 

However, before we pat ourselves (or the government) on the back too much, let us remember another donation in the form of foreign aid.   India is receiving a £1.6billion package of aid, over a period of eight years (an average of £200million each year!), and that in spite of the fact that it recently spent at least £52million (accurate figures are difficult to come by!) on a space exploration programme to Mars!  At the same time, many of its citizens (some would claim that it is a clear majority!) live in abject poverty, not a great deal, if at all, better than the current living conditions of those survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Obviously, I am not privy to the goings-on of national governments, but it seems to me to be something of a travesty that such a large sum should be given by the British taxpayer to a country in which the elite, reportedly, drive Rolls Royce Phantoms (the most expensive car in the Rolls Royce 'stable'), Ferraris, Aston Martins, and even the Bugatti Veyron, with an eye-watering price tag of almost £1.5million; while a relatively paltry £6million is provided for the saving of human lives.

Perhaps it is, indeed, time for the whole British foreign aid programme to be looked at more carefully, to ensure that any such aid goes to those who truly need it - and not to fund the lavish lifestyles of the political elite, of despotic rulers, and of unnecessary space programmes!

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