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Justin Mottershead
recent graduate (Manchester, United Kingdom)

I started blogging around a year ago although have only taken it (slightly) seriously for the past few months. I usually blog about football so am hoping to use this platfrom as an ideal opportunity to branch out. Being something of a luddite, you may sense there is a lack of media in some of my posts, but slowly and surely I am getting better, and by the end of this competition you may even see links and videos on my blog!

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Which British Party will deliver for the developing world?

Published 01st April 2010 - 1 comments - 1983 views -

With a British General Election looming, one of the least discussed topics amongst the electorate is which party will benefit the developing world the most. At first glance this may seem as though the people of Britain are being selfish and ignorant- two traits we’ve actually mastered over the years. However let’s be brutally honest, at a time when we are still in the grip of a recession many people have a right to be concerned as to which party will benefit them the most rather than developing nations.

There are still those amongst us though, who are genuinely concerned at both Labour and Conservative policies when it comes to topics such as African aid and debt. While hardly a vote winner both Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron are fully aware that they must have some form of clear policy which is neither harsh on Africa nor overly generous in such a difficult economic time.

Personally I would like to see one or both leaders take a stance when it comes to African debt, a real commitment on not just aid to developing countries but something more substantial such as reward based schemes which can help to ensure money being spent is put to the most effective use. It is my firm belief that part of the problem in Britain when it comes to aid to developing countries is that many Brits are sceptical regarding whether the donated money gets to the actual people who need it. Schemes such as these could help encourage more people to take aid seriously and dispel the myth that all the money is merely being wasted by corrupt or inept politicians.

Speaking of inept politicians the Conservatives hardly covered themselves in glory two months ago when one of their Members of Parliament Christopher Chope blocked a bill which would have seen the world’s poorest countries protected from ‘vulture fund’ companies. These companies are basically loan sharks who buy up debt from poor nations then sue them for immediate repayment. A bill protecting countries from such deplorable practices would seem like an absolute no-brainer to the majority of us. However Chope begged to differ, obviously felling more sympathy towards the poor loan sharks than to the horrible nasty starving people who will be affected by this decision.

All I’ve got to say on Mr. Chope is well done. You’ve single-handedly proved just how insensitive and out of touch with reality some MPs can be. It’s little wonder many people in Britain feel a general apathy towards politics with cretins such as Chope making ridiculous decisions on our behalf.

However one bad apple does not mean the entire barrel should be thown out..or does it? Is Chope’s attitude indicative of the rest of the Conservative Party’s? Well to be honest after trawling through both the Tory’s and Labour’s manifestos when it comes to fighting global poverty and international development there isn’t a whole lot of differences.

Both advocate reaching the United Nations agreed target of 0.7 % of the Gross National Income to be spent on development assistance by 2013. Both promise to make an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals –which are eight internationally agreed goals-by 2015 for Labour, while the Tory’s don’t give an actual time-frame.  

The Tory’s advocate a “cash-on-delivery” scheme which will see governments rewarded for achieving certain goals, they also promise to demand real increases in health and education spending. Quite how they expect their ‘demand’ to be met are anyone’s guess but there is an argument that at least they have some ideas which could make full use of aid and also encourage more to be given.

Labour, boast of their achievements when it comes to aid stating how “At Gleneagles in 2005, Labour led an international campaign to cancel 100 per cent of multilateral debts for the poorest countries and secured agreement on an extra billion of aid for all developing countries.”

Labour also promises to encourage free healthcare to developing countries as well as championing the Ethical Trade Agreement.

The fact is one could argue the case for either party benefitting the developing world, Labour has a not brilliant but at least decent record when it comes to aid, while the Tories can make promises which unless they are elected no one will be able to discern how true they are.

Personally I think the fact that Cameron’s speeches and interviews have a times been contradictory, does not bode well for any promises he makes.

We all know Brown can be capable of the occasional mistruth- Iraq enquiry anyone?- but his record as chancellor when it came to advocating a clearing of African debt for poorer countries was admirable and Labour has achieved more than the previous Tory government ever got close to, in terms of helping developing countries.

Although attitudes towards global development will probably not be foremost in the British public’s minds come polling day- it will be interesting to see how many of the promises whoever is elected can deliver.


Category: Politics | Tags:


Comments

  • IVA on 08th April 2010:

    Whoever wins, Labor or Conservatives should work for the nation’s best interest. Cutting expenses on wars and giving a solid financial policies to recover from crises not at the cost of Tax payers. I think Conservatives should be given a chance to see, Labor’s we have seen.

    IVA from UK


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