Author Archives: Danny Chambers

Foreign aid budget cuts causes harm at home and abroad

Many Conservative MPs have been triumphantly crowing on social media that the government is planning to reduce our foreign aid budget.

Make no mistake, not only will this impact on some of the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people during a pandemic, but it will also impact negatively on scientific jobs and research funding right here in the UK. Decades of research will be affected.

If these Tory MPs, who claim we cannot afford to meet our foriegn aid commitments, were genuinely wanting to save taxpayer’s money, they would call out the corruption and cronyism from their own government ministers.

Instead, they are boasting about breaking their manifesto promises to maintain our current level of foreign aid. Conveniently, they don’t explain that our foreign aid budget helps fund polio eradication programmes, the manufacturing of prosthetic limbs for landmine victims, UN refugee camps and UK science jobs.

The most pressing challenges we face as a civilisation are truly global in nature – climate change, the growing resistance of bacteria to our antibiotics, how to manage and feed our fast-growing population and fighting pandemics.

All these issues will directly affect the UK.

None of these issues can be addressed by any country working alone.

Much of the UK foreign aid budget is focused on tackling these issues.

Some of this money funds British scientists carrying out research into infectious diseases in developing countries. Diseases such as rabies, polio and avian influenza all have the potential to affect the UK.

So when our foreign aid budget is cut, some UK scientists lose their funding and potentially their jobs. Ground breaking research projects which were awarded money some months ago have since had all funding retracted bringing them to a sudden halt. There is no doubt that this will cost lives.

The majority of our foreign aid is spent in the world’s poorest and most dangerous countries, including Syria and Afghanistan. In these conflict regions most of this research is built on years building relationships and trust to encouraging people to engage with science – all this hard work a progress is now at risk.

Some mean spirited Tory MPs have long banged on about reducing foreign aid because they are either too ignorant to understand the consequences of their actions, or they simply enjoy whipping up xenophobia by using the foreign aid budget and refugee crisis as a political football.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Why didn’t remain politicians connect?

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What did the 2016 Remain campaign and the 2019 Revoke Article 50 position adopted by the Lib Dems teach us?

– That policies must engage people, not patronise them.

Let me explain.

Most analyses agree that Brexit will negatively impact the more deprived communities the hardest.

So the question being asked by so many people is this: why on earth did Cornwall, one the UK’s most deprived regions which receives so much funding from the EU, and which appears to have a lot to lose and little to gain, vote for Brexit?

The Leave message during the referendum may have been based on misinformation and lies but it was packaged as a message of hope for improvement and change. This was a stark contrast to the Remain campaign which consisted merely of warnings, hence it being dubbed ‘Project fear.’

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 60 Comments
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