Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some thought processes I simply cannot understand

The Boss of EUReferendum, my erstwhile home, and I do not always see eye to eye. In fact, we disagree on various issues and, let's face it, how could we not? However, there are times when I acknowledge quite freely (OK, get off the phone now, I am acknowledging) that he has absolutely whanged the nail on the crumpet, as Lord Peter Wimsey says in one of the novels.

He has surpassed himself in his posting about foreign aid going to India, the country, we are told, that is developing so fast it will overtake the West any minute now together with China, Brazil and Russia (please stop guffawing at the back). As it happens, India's economy is developing very fast and many millions of people have been able to clamber out of the oppressive and very real poverty (not simply being unable to afford a third holiday in a year). That development is unlikely to be speeded up by foreign aid; to the contrary what foreign aid is likely to do is to make India's worst problem, all-pervasive corruption, even worse.

There is no point in my adding anything to his analysis but I want to open the subject up a bit. On the whole, I can usually understand the thought processes of people I disagree with. I often think that they are wacky but I can understand how they develop.

For example, I do actually understand why real supporters of European integration and of the concept of a single European state think (or, to be precise, used to think since there are precious few real supporters around). Given the fact that in the course of the twentieth century European countries committed virtual political suicide, the idea of a single state rising from the ashes may well have seemed like a good one. It wasn't as it happens but there is logic behind that idea.

There is even some logic behind the idea that one needs proper planning to make an economy work as an unplanned economy is likely to throw up some real surprises, some of them very unpleasant.

The problem with those two is that people might hang on to them in defiance of all historic experience. That is when these ideas become incomprehensible. Why, given the experience of the Soviet Union, would anyone think that planned economies are efficient?

There are, however, people whose thought processes (if one can call it that) are completely incomprehensible. I simply cannot fathom why they should think the way they do and come to the conclusions they do. It's not that they are wacky, they are, in my opinion, completely incomprehensible.

What exactly makes our politicians (for lawmakers they are not) think that giving aid to India is a good idea? What precise process of thinking (if I may call it that) leads them to the conclusion that shelling out money to bloodthirsty kleptocrats in Africa helps anybody to achieve anything? What is behind all that? Is it just ordinary mushy emotionalism? Is it a desire to prevent the developing world from actually doing any developing? Is it a sense of their own superiority? What is it?

Or take another idea (OK, I am using the word very loosely): the Big Society, hereinafter referred to as DC's BS. What on earth makes that idiot the Prime Minister think that organized welfare is any different from big government socialism? Come to think of it, what sort of thought processes fuel his supporters who keep nodding like toy dogs and saying four legs good, two legs bad big state bad, big society good?

Then there is that other cracking idea, the Big Society Bank, which, as far as anyone can understand will take money from all kinds of sources, like the lottery and what politicians call "dormant accounts" and, undoubtedly, something from the taxpayer to set up a state bank to hand out money to socially useful enterprises, particularly, one assumes, those that cannot raise money anywhere else, not being viable in business terms. Ahem, is that not what triggered the financial crisis over on the other side of the Pond? That was just a trial run. We are going to show those Yanks how to create a real financial crisis. But what exactly makes people think this is a good idea?

It's no good. There are certain kinds of mentality that I shall never fathom.


  1. My guess is that it's mainly this: "...just ordinary mushy emotionalism?" coupled to a desire to have evidence of their "caring nature" to sell to the electorate. The effectiveness or otherwise of the "aid" is, of course, irrelevant.

  2. I tend to be more cynical, must be my age :)

    I believe aid is a form of bribery. Give aid and you will be in the prime position to trade. I don't think politicians generally do things out of the goodness of their hearts, unless it's out of their own pockets.

    With the Tories, there's a certain amount of WORLD STAGE GRANDSTANDING too.

    As for "dormant accounts" and Lottery money for his BS. That's theft. Dormant accounts are money that belong to taxpayers, either long gone or their next of kin. Lottery money was meant for good causes, which in my opinion should be nominated and voted on by the people that buy the tickets.

    Big Society is not going to work. Thousands of people already volunteer their time and effort, you can't force people into it. The Young People's Citizens Initiative chills me to the bone. It smacks of Hitler Youth.

    I just can't help thinking (in conjunction with the EU), that this is all part of a heinous plan that steers us ever closer to their vision of utopia. It horrifies me.

    but... maybe I'm just cynical as I said...

  3. I sort of agree with you Sue but not with everything. If we got trade deals out of giving aid one could justify it for both countries. Trade is, after all, much more useful to developing countries than aid. I fear that the two are not linked in any way. Trade and business relations with India would develop without any aid and would help that country to bring more people out of poverty. Aid will not. Other countries receive aid and there is no trade whatsoever.

    Also, why I do not think the government has any right to lottery money (let alone "dormant" accounts) to bolster its ridiculous BS, neither do I think people who buy lottery tickets should be asked for their opinions on where the money should go on the basis that they are clearly incapable of thinking and are obsessed with gambling.

    But I certainly agree that BS is not going to work. At least I hope it is not going to work because I dread to think what would happen if any of those half-baked ideas were put into practice.

  4. It's more "competition" for trade I was thinking of which could include : access to the UK for certain raw materials, selling weapons to third world countries, perhaps also supplying parts for the space programme/nuclear capabilities, investment in the UK, even buying allegiances.

    I buy one lucky dip a week and I would love to be asked where the money should go. I think most people do the same, they just buy the one ticket a week and you can hardly call that "hardcore".

    I actually deplore any type of gambling but my 1 euro a week is enough to give me as much chance as anyone else of some luck for a change.

  5. But you could give that 1 euro a week to the charity of your choice and then they would get more of it than they do from the lottery.

  6. I do the lottery in the (probably idiotic) hope that I'll win.

    On the main point, foreign aid is given in order to prevent the government from being bitched about as 'uncompassionate' and 'uncaring'. It is all part ot the desperate and destructive desire to shed its image as 'the nasty party' (a phrase invented by one of its own 'leaders', not by anyone else). Image is everything. A bad image leads to loss of power, and that would be terrible. Power is sought for its own sake, and not as a means of implementing morally and politically justifiable policies and programmes.

  7. That's OK, Shakassoc, they may seek power but they do not have it as long as we are in the EU.

    Incidentally, that Guest above is me. For some reason my computer decided to ignore who I was. Sigh!