She wanted the post abolished, so it’s not surprising that now she’s been created secretary of state for international development Priti Patel is planning some drastic changes in the way we support the world’s have-nots.
She has a piece in today’s Daily Mail (that is, the Wink’s Daily Maul) outlining her ideas. They are, of course, extremely Mail-friendly.
Nobody will argue with her observation that large amounts of aid find their way into the coffers of unscrupulous dictators and their cronies – and we’ll be cheering her on if she can do something about that.
But beware of her warning that she intends to challenge the global aid system ‘so that it properly serves the poorest people in the world and the taxpayers who foot the bill’.
Hoorah to the first part of that wish, but what are we to make of the second? After all, she stresses that her approach will be ‘built on some core Conservative principles’.
How about this line: ‘We need to empower the poorest to work and trade their way out of poverty, not treat them as passive recipients of our support.’
Well, yes – far better for those in deprived areas of the world to be standing on their own confident feet than simply holding out a desperate begging bowl. But who do you imagine Priti Patel is putting first?
‘Poor countries need more investment and trade, not less,’ she says. ‘I want to use our greater freedom from leaving the EU to deliver better value for UK taxpayers.’
Stand by to see the aid budget used as a means to generate greater UK trade with the Third World – no doubt, as usual, to the greater benefit of the First.