It’s often claimed in British politics that the Labour Party was the party that threw the refocus of the UK onto international development and that all its members, especially those in both houses–the House of Commons and the House of Lords–have all become pro-development and pro-aid–supporting the UK’s aid/Official Development Assistance (ODA) provisioning. From 1997 onwards and even now with Labour in opposition, it is widely seen that Labour MPs and Peers are the most supportive of aid.
Oh, then here comes this news report, stating that Lord West, a Labour Peer, is recommending cuts to the aid budget–especially aid to India–in order to re-bloster the weaken Royal Navy. Defence cuts are not new to the RN at all, but pretty sharp under the present coalition–that I won’t focus on since its not really a development issue.
My point being, how can a Labour member and Peer speak out for cutting aid when it was and is his party that increased UK aid and proposed reaching the 0.7% aid target set by the UN? Even more so that West was a security Minister under Labour and Labour was very much focusing aid–see Ngaire Woods’ article The shifting politics of foreign aid. Ok, West was also Admiral West but hey, he’s a Labour member.
Don’t get me wrong, I support aid and the vision by any political party to provide foreign aid. I’ve no qualms about any political party. Just thought that this is very interesting…