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Of course we know exactly where it's coming from. There are just shy of thirty million individual taxpayers in Britain, and of those about 6 million are public sector employees whose pre-tax salaries are paid out of other people's taxes anyway, leaving 24 million people. This
So what are you getting for your money? Well, not a damn thing, obviously, but what are the Africans getting for it?
Among the projects to be funded will be schemes to help African farmers insure their crops against flooding and drought while other projects include installing solar power in rural villages and building slurry pits that can produce gas to power generators.In themselves these don't seem like terribly bad ideas, not least because they don't seem to be about appeasing the angry sky gods so much as acknowledging the fact that things don't always stay the same and adapting to it. Oh, and the very worthy goal of getting power to people who don't have it, or not much of it, at the moment. But...
The move, however, is expected to attract intense criticism at a time when the UK economy is struggling to recover from recession.Indeed, and every other thing I blog at the moment seems to be about Britain's government spending money it hasn't got as fast as or faster than even its recklessly profligate predecessor. And I hadn't even got round to Cleggy's latest brain fart about jobs for da yoof paid for by, you guessed it, the taxpayer. Maybe later, or maybe I'll be too despondent to blog it at all, but for now it's enough to state that that's yet another billion pounds. Now back to Huhne-hoon and his bounteous munificence with your money.
One of the countries which will receive money is South Africa, the most economically advanced in the continent. Last year its economy grew by 2.8 per cent, while Britain's economy rose by 1.8%.A little misrepresentative, this. By just about any metric, GDP nominal or PPP and absolute or per capita, the UK is much wealthier than the RSA. But then the UK has run up far greater debts than the South Africans have, again in both absolute and relative terms, and how much wealthier Britain really is after allowing for the phantom wealth that's come from living beyond its means for so long is tricky to say. On top of all that Britain's likely to go back into recession soon, which makes all these billion here and billion there stories more than a little worrying. So why... ?
The timing of the announcement, however, is being seen as a cynical attempt to "bribe" African nations into signing up to international deals being backed by the British Government at the climate change negotiations in Durban.Ah, now it's becoming clear. The UK government, like that of many western nations, has caught the religious warble gloaming zeal and is determined to show its faith by righteously fucking its own economy hard in the arse until its well and truly buggered, but hasn't become quite so insane that it thinks its own citizens won't go nuts if they don't see developing nations - the ones that turn out to be causing more of the problem that we don't really know is a problem - making sacrifices too.
Oh well, I suppose the government bribing other people with your money is at least a change from bribing you with it.
* But no cigars of course. The restaurant's long since been forced to go all non-smoking.