Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:00 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:00 | SYDNEY

What foreign aid is really for


Sam Roggeveen


2 February 2012 16:03

UK Conservative Party MP David Davis may have committed what is known as a 'Kinsley gaffe':

...a Kinsley an occurrence of someone telling the truth by accident. Typically, it refers to a politician inadvertently saying something publicly that they privately believe is true, but would ordinarily not say publicly because they believe it is politically harmful. The term comes from journalist Michael Kinsley, who said, "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth."

Here's Davis reacting to the news that French aerospace giant Dassault beat Eurofighter, a part-British company, for a huge Indian fighter contract:

In the Commons, (David Cameron's) senior Conservative Party colleague and a contender for the party leadership David Davis called for him to pull his full weight to get India to change its mind pointing out that “we give aid to India many times more than what France gives.”

Ah, so that's what foreign aid is for — to subsidise the marketing efforts of local arms merchants. Really, how could the Indians have been so ungrateful?

A related question: if India can afford £7 billion worth of jet fighters, is Britain's foreign aid actually supplementing the Indian Government's efforts to help the poor, or just substituting for it?

Photo by Flickr user Romeo66.