Saturday, 29 December 2012

Should aid be used as a political tool to encourage change?

A few weeks ago I was asked if I’d lend a hand to (or at least try and interest Isle of Man Freethinkers in) the local arm of a major campaign which will kick off in 2013.
Though I and others involved have some doubts, unfortunately, by the terms of the invitation, I cannot yet say more than it is another attempt by one powerful interest group to consolidate both their stake in (and the terms of debate for) foreign aid. This is possibly before another powerful interest group can beat them to it: though actually I suspect the boat set sail months ago with that other interest group navigating it. For now, I can only say that the campaign is due to launch in the UK around 17th January, so possibly also in the Isle of Man.
Thankfully, others seem to share my worry that what is wrong in this debate is the attempt by two fixed though opposing interests to rig it so that the general taxpaying public think we are involved, contributing and being listened to while, in actuality, we are jerked around by equally abhorrent puppet masters who think it is our job to simply shut up, pay up and, in general, leave it to the experts.
The sick joke being that neither pseudo-side in this potential pseudo-debate has yet demonstrated the ability to organise a chimps’ tea party – never mind a full blown domestic policy – in a former colony.
Think of the worst, most petty-minded Manx public body you can and their disastrous attempts to, say, fix a hole in the road or organise a bin collection. Then think of the same bunch of blow-hards, malingerers and pocket-lining plonkers being let loose on a large impoverished country.
Worrying, isn’t it?
So, before the ‘official’ local debate between the official (if somewhat calcified) parties begins, why not join an honest attempt to discuss this knotty problem?
On Sunday, 13th January, 2.30 PM at Douglas Yacht Club, Andrew Dixon (Chairman of the Freethinkers) and Phil Craine (Chairman of the One World Centre and local Christian Aid worker) ask ‘Should aid be used as a political tool to encourage change?’
Both are personal friends, and both people I’ve worked with on ‘good causes’, so, though their views on this topic will differ astronomically, I am sure both speak with honest and humane intent. So I also have no hesitation in urging the real Manx public to get along and get the debate going - before it is taken out of our hands.

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