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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Catching 'em young

'I do continue to make generous donations to Christian Aid via the Inland Revenue. I'd like to think the change of government will lead to some rather more rigorous questions being asked about what it is they do.'

- I wrote last week.

It's looking promising already:-

'Less than a week after becoming international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell began fulfilling his pledge to ensure value for money on aid by cutting development education projects.

'As part of "a drive to re-focus aid spending", Mitchell today announced an immediate funding freeze on five development "awareness projects", a move expected to save the department more than £500,000.


'The five cancelled projects are £146,000 for a Brazilian-style dance troupe in Hackney, London; £55,000 to run stalls at summer music festivals; £120,000 to train nursery school teachers about 'global issues'; £130,000 for a 'global gardens schools network' and £140,000 to train outdoor education tutors in Britain on development. The money saved will be "redirected to areas where it will have a greater impact on global poverty".'

(Hat tip: Julia M)

Allergy advice: this post may contain traces of schadenfreude. I've nothing against Brazilian-style dancing in Hackney except that it ain't overseas development, so they can jolly well join the arts funding queue like everyone else. But it's the nursery school teachers bit that's the dead giveaway, isn't it?

Andrew Mitchell is stressing the value for money angle, but he won't need telling that there's more to it than that. This is fat-trimming in the fullest sense, not just excess pounds we're lugging around but stuff that's positively bad for us. It's about the development business not only telling us how to think but doing it with our cash - cash that it can more or less help itself to because it's doled out by tame civil servants who already think all the right thoughts because they've been parachuted in from the development business. It's grown into a very cosy arrangement over the last thirteen years, and it's an arrogant, fundamentally undemocratic abuse of power.

And when the indoctrination starts in nursery school... what's not to like, as they say, about Mr Mitchell and his new broom? A word to the wise: I wouldn't count on him being a huge fan of Friends of Sabeel UK.

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