I’m confused. What exactly is Britain up to?
We’re paying all these millions out in foreign aid to countries that have better economies than us, and all the while trying to convince people that austerity is the way forward. Forget the illegal actions of the bankers. No, the pensioners, unemployed and soon to be unemployed should make sacrifices while we fill the coffers of other governments to waste.
When the bungling Department for Works and Pensions falsely claimed it had paid me too much Jobseekers’ Allowance it threatened action. No opportunity in court for me to prove I was in the right, just a move to take the money back from earnings, bank account or presumably force me to sell my liver.
And I still clung to the hope of being innocent until found guilty. (On a side note, they admitted I owed nothing and last week I had a letter stating they owed me!)
But politicians who have cheated and lied in fiddling their expenses have come to a gentleman’s agreement over repaying and still have their cushy jobs in Parliament. How many other ‘workers’ would have that chance?
In other parts of the world, the politicians are often called ‘law-makers’ because they, with the help of the civil service, agree to and vote in laws. In Britain, as elsewhere, they also break the laws on a regular basis. And they still keep their jobs.
As I said, I’m confused.
So to America. Where a president can be killed in public view, a nation can mourn but little be done to catch the perpetrators. Oh, yes, sorry, my mistake. Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK. And then, in what should have been the tightest security surrounding an investigation of that importance, was shot soon after by a nightclub owner who just happened to penetrate a police cordon.
Why exactly do we allow the USA to continue having military and intelligence bases on British soil? The Cold War is over. World War Two ended years ago. Don’t forget, we’re paying towards the operation of these bases. Not bad in an austerity drive, eh? Paying some of the bills of the self-styled most powerful country in the world.
We know that the Yanks have been listening in on Angela Merkel’s telephone conversations. And despite earlier denials, we know that Barack Obama personally knew of this. We know that the US National Security Agency, also hacked into Princess Diana’s phone on account of her campaign against landmines.
Let’s not forget this is illegal. As soon as evidence is shown to link Fleet Street newspapers to phone hacking, there’s a government inquiry, massive legal investigation and prompt action to arrest those concerned.
A muzzling of the press law is rushed through and public outcry is readily apparent. Quite right, too.
Except, the US is doing this, on British soil. And people neither know nor care.
The US screwed Britain over in World War Two, wringing out the best deal from a desperate Churchill in terms of cash for obsolete ships and weapons. That Lend Lease agreement was used to apply pressure on Westminster in the 1950s and 1960s when Britain, leading the way in aviation and with its own nuclear weapons programme was forced to abandon numerous projects to the benefit of America.
Today, Britain has little in the way of an aviation industry, compared to its post-war potential. Rolls Royce remains a significant force, but the plane-building industry is a mere shadow of its former self.
Concorde, the most advanced passenger jet of the post-war years, was a commercial failure largely down to American opposition and financial muscle.
In my youth, Vickers Viscounts, BAC 111s, De Havilland Comets, Tridents and VC10s were common sights. Today, my last 16 civilian flights have been aboard Boeings.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (yes, it’s still going) argues that the ultra-secretive listening base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire has been used for commercial spying to give US companies a critical advantage.
It claims that the UK government has been constantly misled over the activities of the base and that an inquiry should decide whether or not the activities carried out there are illegal.
Sounds good to me, especially given all the claptrap about Obama being leader of the ‘free world’ and the biggest ‘democracy’ on our little planet.
The UK government argues that the economic impact of Menwith Hill is significant and its loss would severely damage the national and local economy. Great argument. So why has it closed down so many of its own military installations in recent years? Or do those impacts on local and national economy only go for certain bases?
And in these days of austerity, where profit-making conglomerates are able to save money by freezing pay or laying off workers, and councils and council services are bearing a terrible brunt of Whitehall saving, just remember that the foreign aid bill is soaring by 35 per cent during the term of this Condem coalition.
According to the UK’s Institute for Financial Studies, aid for India, one of the richest countries in the world, will hit £280 million in 2014/15. Aid to Pakistan will more than double next year, from £215 million to £446 million.
The Democratic Republic of Congo will enjoy an increase in funding that must have shareholders of the utility companies licking their lips in anticipation. From £133 million this year to £258 million next. Get ready for more hikes in energy bills, because obviously we’re stupid enough to cough up that kind of cash as taxpayers. Remember, it’s our money.
And while the UK has stopped, in recent years, aid to China, our cash is used by Brussels to send aid to, yes, you’ve guessed it, China.
What can we do about it?
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I’m confused. What exactly is Britain up to?