"Yeah, but.." UK AID in the world

Parliament's Commons Select Committee published a report today calling for aid programmes to be cut in countries that don't honour agreements or avoid transparency.

Definitely worth having a look at if you are interested in what the British government does abroad.

A couple of questions jump out to Londonstani:

1 - The report seems to assume that host governments are going to be cowed into good behaviour because they fear the loss of the UK tax payer's millions (or thousands, ok, maybe hundreds). What happens if, actually, the UK government's contribution is a small part of a country's total aid package?

2 - Even if the UK government is a major donor, does aid spending actually give you clout? Not as much as you might think if the Malawian president's decision to chuck out the UK high commissioner is anything to go by. "So you don't like private jets, Mr. Ambassador? Let's see you row home."

3 - What if the host country decides to thank the international community for paying for the care of its poorest, and then decides to hold those same vulnerable people to ransom if the donors get crazy ideas about demanding accountability or transparency.. cough Sudan cough..

Don't get it twisted, Londonstani agrees with the MPs recommendations - in principle:

"The MPs urge DFID to set out specific governance conditions under which it will provide direct budget support to fragile states, and any under which it will be withdrawn and apply these consistently. They also recommend that DFID invest more in community-led local initiatives which respond to community priorities and give communities more confidence to hold their governments to account."

.. but you gotta wonder if they've figured out how these ideas work on the ground.