The Department for International Development (DfID) claims to be “leading the UK government’s fight against world poverty”. However, by 2011 it will have spent over £1bn of taxpayers’ money on propaganda, according to “Fake Aid”, a new report from International Policy Network.
Recipients of this money include trade unions and other partisan political organisations in the UK. Examples include:
£1.2 million given to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) since 2003 for activities including: lobbying, hiring new staff and an “international buffet and wine” event to celebrate “International Women’s Day” in the UK. DfID also paid the TUC to hold lessons in how to apply for DfID funds.
£300,000 to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to “enable them [teachers] to become global agents of change”.
The creation of fake NGOs such as “Connections for Development” (CfD), supposedly a forum for black and ethnic minorities to engage “on issues relating to international development.” DfID created and is the only donor to CfD, providing it with £600,000 in its first two years, yet an independent review questioned “the purpose of the organisation.”
£10 million spent flying poor Brits to poor countries to work for free.
IPN’s Julian Harris, one of the report’s authors, said “DfID often hand-picks the largest recipients, such as trade unions, behind closed doors. This smacks of cronyism.”
The report highlights the waste of DfID funds on political campaigning while a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria in poor countries.
“The money DfID is wasting in this year alone could in principle treat 230 million people suffering from malaria,” concluded Harris.
This is a welcome extension to the work that your humble Devil and his colleagues have been doing at fakecharities.org. Indeed, we seem to have kicked off something of a fad or investigating the provenance of non-profit organisations amongst think-tanks [TPA PDF].
More details can be found at the LPUK blog, here is an LPUK press release.
It is utterly unacceptable for the government to use our money to pay organisations to lobby itself—especially as these organisations almost always lobby for more restrictions on our freedoms.
The idea that my money is being stolen so that the fruits of my labour can be turned against me is, personally, extremely rage-inducing. Not to mention that fact that it emphasises the veracity of Ayn Rand's vision of how government works in Atlas Shrugs.
Our own skills and hard work are being used against us but, alas, it simply isn't practical for us to withdraw our labour—for how would we live? At the behest of these same fake charities?