Great Britain

Let’s sort out foreign aid con job then stop the council junkets abroad

THIS pandemic will leave ­Britain strapped for cash and on its uppers.

There will have to be cuts to services and tax rises, probably coming next year.

Take foreign aid. Last year we spent an incredible £15.2billion of your money on overseas aid. An awful lot of that money went into the Swiss bank accounts of Third World tyrants. Terrific.

But did you know we also donated a whopping £67.9million to China — the second richest country in the world?

Some of that was spent on syphilis tests for men. No, not kidding.

Look, I have great sympathy for some Chinese bloke whose todger is about to fall off. But it’s not really our lookout, is it?

China has its own space programme. It is rolling in money. It has more nukes than you could shake a stick at.

More to the point, it is a hostile, ­belligerent and repulsive communist ­dictatorship, which has no regard for the human rights of its own citizens.

There is no way on earth we should be subsidising its appalling government.

And yet, incredibly, we also spent foreign aid subsidising a leading ­communist politician, Zhou Qiang, on his trips to the West.

I’m, like, WTF? I would prefer to ­subsidise him NOT to come to the West.
The closer you look at overseas aid, the bigger the swizz and con-job it seems.

Your money spent buttressing dreadful governments, or on fatuous programmes which make not a ha’porth of difference.

And on stuff like a photographic project aimed at teaching Chinese people about their rural past. No — again, not kidding.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is poised to cut our foreign aid budget, perhaps by as much as £4bn. It’s a start.

But I would get rid of it entirely, except for when we are responding to ­international crises. Foreign aid doesn’t work. It never has.

So there’s one way our hard-earned money is wasted. Let’s move down the list and look a little closer to home.

Local councils. Listen, councillor. Make sure our bins are emptied on time. That’s your main job. Stick to it.

'Spending your money on a jolly'

But councils are saying they now need ten billion quid to plug the “spending gap”, whatever that is.

Ok, fine. Then how about you cut out the foreign junkets abroad, for starters?

Last year town hall bosses spent nearly £100,000 jetting about the globe — and that’s probably a big underestimate.

For example Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, in Northern Ireland, spent £23,000 on on overseas trips, including £12,210 on business class flights to China. Come on, you wouldn’t want your local councillor to sit squashed up next to ordinary people in cattle class, would you?

Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council spent nearly £4,000 enabling its representatives to stay in a boutique hotel so they could attend the Paris International Air Show. They said this jaunt was “hugely important”. Yeah right.

Comparatively small amounts of money, then, when compared to overseas aid. But the principle is exactly the same.

People in positions of power taking YOUR money and spending it either in order to make themselves feel good about themselves or just for a jolly.

These are hard times. Hundreds of thousands of people have had their incomes cut or now fear for their jobs.

And yet there are still plenty of people eager to spend your money. Time to call a halt, no?

Philip's Planet Dearth

APPARENTLY Prince Philip – the Duke of Edinburgh to you, you pleb – is obsessed by UFOs and the search for extra-terrestrial life.

He reads books about it all the time.

Given that, with the Queen and Princess Anne excepted, almost everyone in his family is a whinging, narcissistic bore, do you blame him for hoping against all hope that there’s intelligent life SOMEWHERE in our universe?

We'll all be in lockdown again

WHAT tier do you reckon you’ll be in, then? The one where you are allowed to have your rellies over at Christmas?

Or the one where in all good faith you can say: “Ah, so sorry. Wouldn’t want to contravene regulations. We’ll have to give it a miss this year. Thanks for the card.”

It’s no use checking the maps of high infection areas. By the time the new system has been announced a whole bunch of different regions will occupy the top positions.

In truth, we will all be in lockdown again, under a different name.

Meanwhile the rate of infections is at its lowest in eight weeks.

We had passed the peak BEFORE we went into this current lockdown.

He can't a-Biden the UK

DON’T say I didn’t warn you. One of Joe Biden’s first acts as President of the US was to start telling us what we can and can’t do over Brexit.

He’s worried about the Irish border problem. Probably because he doesn’t understand it.

Donald Trump was as mad as a swarm of hornets in a blender.

But awful though he was, he was an ally of this country. The Democrats cannot stand the UK.

We’re in for a rough ride.

Pet peeves

HORRIBLE story about the family whose cockapoo went missing.

The mum asked a local farmer if he’d seen it. He said yep, I just shot it.

It’s in the back of the van – help yourself.

Reminds me of a time a friend was distraught when her cat went missing. She put up notices all over the area, with a photo.

One bloke rang her and said yep, I’ve found your cat, come round and collect it.

So – delighted and relieved – she turned up at his house.

“Where is he?” she asked. “He’s in the freezer,” came the reply.

Letting off stream

TALENTED award-winning singer Nadine Shah has been explaining how she can’t afford to pay the rent.

The problem is that the online streaming services don’t pay artists a fair whack for the music they make.

And streaming services now account for more than 50 per cent of music sales. Nadine makes a good point.

The likes of Spotify are great for customers – but a colossal rip-off for the artists. And musicians have already had a really terrible year of it.

The online giants need to up the percentage they pay to the artists. Better still, if we all went back to buying hard copies of albums we like, such as on CD.

Yeah, I know, those days are past.

But it was fairer for the musicians.

Ives been thinking

CONGRATULATIONS to St Ives, in Cornwall. It’s just been named the happiest place to live in Britain.

Quite why the Cornish are so happy is a bit of a mystery. There’s no tin left in the mines.

And they’re not allowed to cause shipwrecks and pillage the contents any more. The only answer I can find is that it’s about as far from London as it’s possible to get.

And when posh Londoners come down to visit in the summer, the local tourist board usually tells them to clear off.

Nuts at Crimbo

THREE stories in the papers that let you know Christ­mas is fast approaching. They happen every year.

  1. A lefty Church of England vicar announces he is banning O Little Town of Bethlehem. Because it’s not lying still, is it? Not while it’s under the jackboot of Israeli oppression.
  2. Another C of E vicar makes a lot of toddlers cry by telling them Santa doesn’t exist. And also that Santa is an anagram of Satan. And if they see him climb down the chimney, they should pour ­boiling water on his head.
  3. The BBC gets its knickers in a twist over Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.
    On this last issue, the BBC is playing different versions of the song.
    Older people who listen to Radio Two can hear the proper version. Sensitive young people, though, get to hear the one with the word “f****t” removed.
    If only writer Shane MacGowan had made it crystal clear what he meant. Perhaps he wasn’t being rude about gay people. Perhaps he was simply referring to a dish made of meat off-cuts and offal and herbs.
    But then even in that context “f****t” is in trouble. Facebook has banned it because of the “double meaning”. What a bunch of rissoles.

Scot luck

GREAT news, ladies. Scotland is making some women’s sanitary wear totally FREE.

The bad news is that the Scots won’t let you into their country to take advantage of this generous offer.

I wonder when this country will get progressive enough to make male shaving products free?

Or at least reduce the price of razor blades so normal human beings can ­afford them?

Rishi Sunak confirms foreign aid will be slashed to pay back Covid debt

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