“A friend of mine was at an international conference in Africa and she was making the point, which perhaps we would all have been tempted to make, that aid is not about pity; it is about empathy. It is not just about having sympathy for people; it is about helping people, because we think the same way as they do about their responsibilities to each other. She said that people would do everything for their children. But after her talk someone quietly took her aside and said one of the most devastating things I think I have ever heard. He said, “I can’t love my children as much as you love yours in the west. I can’t allow myself to, because then it would destroy me when I lose them.”
How can we continue to live in a world where in a country such as Ethiopia families did not register the births of their children for months because of the fear that they were going to die in their infancy—where a father or a mother can say that they cannot love their child too much because of the fear that they are going to lose them? How can we live, therefore, in a world where there is not hope and expectation that things could get better?
Let our debate today be a message that there can be hope for the future, enshrined in law. Let us ensure that we can say that to millions of people who thought things were hopeless that we not only kept our promises, but we kept hope alive.”
- Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP
“We should be proud of what we are seeking to achieve today. A very small Bill, on just a few sheets of paper, will save many hundreds of thousands of lives of people we will never meet and whose names we will never know. …We will, in years to come, look back with a real sense of pride on what we are, together, achieving today.”
- Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
All 6 MPs who voted against the bill were Conservatives – who tried to filibuster the bill to prevent it going to a vote. Here’s what they had to say:
“Many of my colleagues seem to want to abandon their Conservative principles… I do not know whether they believe in the Bill. In many respects, I hope they support it because they think it will help their advancement, because if they genuinely believe in it, I do not see how they can call themselves Conservatives in any shape or form.”
“At a time of national austerity, it seems to me sensible that we would want to reduce the aid spending given to other countries. It would not have been a bad thing even to have frozen aid spending to other countries, but to increase it massively, as we have done, at the same time as we are making the case that we have no money and have to cut spending everywhere and cut our cloth accordingly, is completely and utterly ridiculous.”
[The bill] “will just be a hand-out to make a few middle-class, Guardian-reading, sandal-wearing, lentil-eating do-gooders with a misguided guilt complex feel better about themselves.”
- Philip Davies MP, Con
“This measure would be grossly distorting and un-Conservative.”
- Sir Edward Leigh MP, Con
On Friday, thanks to you, we passed a major hurdle on the way to enshrining Britain’s 0.7% aid spending in law. Labour MPs thwarted attempts by right-wing Tory MPs to filibuster the bill and we are now only a few steps away from seeing the law on the statute book.
Thank you to everyone who contacted your MP. 1 in 4 of the Labour MPs who voted for the bill were LCID members or encouraged to attend the vote by LCID. Labour MPs made up the majority of MPs voting for the bill – we are grateful to all of them for their support, especially those who came down from campaigning in Scotland. All six who voted against were Tory.
Thanks to you, we took a giant leap towards securing a key part of Labour’s legacy. There are a few more stages to go, and we’ll need your help to get it through a final reading later in the year – but a major hurdle has been passed, the momentum is with us, and we are closer than ever to guaranteeing British aid will continue to change lives.
No thanks to weakening Britain’s influence in the world – phone bank on Wednesday
Under the last Labour Government Britain became a global leader in the fight against poverty. That leadership came not only from the amount of money we spent but the influence we wielded – such as securing debt relief when hosting the G8 in 2005, or pulling the world economy back from the brink at the London G20 Summit. An independent Scotland will weaken Britain’s role in the world and weaken our ability to change it for the better.
We wish everyone campaigning in Scotland over the remaining days the best of luck, and encourage everyone else to help how they can. On Wednesday, we’ll be joining the phone bank at Labour Party HQ from 6.30pm – please email email@example.com if you can make it.
By Alastair Osborne, LCID Scottish Officer
We’ve agreed it, everyone had it in their 2012 manifesto and the public have voted for it — but no-one has put it into practice. Michael Moore MP is attempting to rectify this with his Private Members Bill to enshrine the target of 0.7% of national income in law. However, while Michael Moore is attempting to have his Bill approved by the UK Parliament, the SNP Scottish Government Minister for International Development, Humza Yousaf, is busy campaigning to break up the UK and bring about the end of DfID as we know it. You might wonder why the Scottish Government has a Minister for International Development when that is a function wholly reserved to Westminster. The SNP were elected to run the devolved Scottish Parliament but in reality have put that on pause while giving 100% of their attention to playing at being the government in waiting of an independent Scotland with all the trappings of an embryonic state.
The SNP love comparing Scotland to the Scandinavian countries. Perhaps then they should reread their Han Christian Anderson tales – especially the Emperor’s New Clothes. They love to parade around dressed in the fine clothes of a progressive outward looking party. Scottish NGOs have been courted assiduously with a vision of a Scotland meeting and exceeding its 0.7% aid target. The reality is that Scotland will be faced with a £5 billion black hole in funding after leaving the UK, and that’s before the money markets put the squeeze on for abandoning a central bank and lender of last resort and opting for sterlingisation of the currency. Even if the will is there in an independent Scotland, the money won’t be.
They are prepared to slice over £1 billion from the current UK DfID budget to set up their separate vanity project of an independent Scottish Development Department. As a result not only would the Scottish budget lose the economies of scale of being part of the greater UK effort but the Remaining UK would have to reduce its programme and reorder its priorities. In addition, there would be time and money spent both sides of the border on setting up new departments, institutions and systems – time and money which could have gone to relieving world poverty.
600 people get up in the morning and go to work at East Kilbride to make a difference in the world – they represent 40% of the total DfID establishment. What would happen to these jobs post independence. When I asked Humza Yousaf that very question the other week he repeated the promise the SNP have made to have no compulsory redundancies in the civil service and he pointed to other Scandinavian countries who have 400 plus staff in development departments. The truth is Scotland would need barely 100 staff to run their International Development Department and if they kept on 400 to 500 staff it would be at the expense of money that could have gone to front line projects throughout the world. How could they justify 40% of the current UK establishment to run a budget 10% of the UK budget.
Isn’t it ironic that, if there was a Yes vote on the 18th of September, the SNP could bring about what the Tory right have failed to do – the end to a UK consensus on sticking with the DfID programme and the 0.7% target, achieved largely due to Labour’s record over the years. Everything would be up for renegotiation, projects competing with other projects to survive.
“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said. “Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.””But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.
The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.
On Friday, MPs have a chance to enshrine in law Britain’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our GDP in law, and secure a piece of our Party’s legacy.
Together with the creation of DFID, debt relief, and leading global efforts to try and secure fair trade and climate deals – the trebling of aid is one of Labour’s proudest achievement. By 2010 our aid was helping to lift 3 million people out of poverty, get 40 million children into school and help 3 million children access lifesaving HIV and AIDS drugs. It was a Labour Government that in 2005 set us on course to spend 0.7% by 2013.
The Tories promised to match our manifesto pledge to enshrine Britain’s aid spending in law, but they have failed to table the bill, and it is only a matter of time before Cameron caves in pressure from his backbenches and UKIP (as he has done on so many issues). Friday’s Private Members Bill vote is the final chance to get the law passed before the next election.
The majority of the MPs who have pledged to vote are Labour. We’re fortunate to have a strong group of LCID supporting MPs amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party, and we are very grateful to them for pledging to vote on Friday and for encouraging their colleagues to accompany them.
If just 20 more MPs commit to vote the bill, we are confident it will pass – and we need your help to get us over the line.
MPs of all parties are pledging their support on the website charities are running – turnupsavelives.org.uk.
Passing this bill will secure a piece of our Party’s legacy – and ensure that in the coming years we in Britain continue to provide our fair share in the fight to make poverty history.
Tuesday 23rd September, 7.45-9pm
The Charter Gallery, Manchester Central
Come and hear speakers from across the Labour and trade union movement give short speeches at our informal rally – outlining their visions of how a future Labour government can once again play a leading role in the fight against global poverty and injustice.
Speakers include: LCID Honorary Vice-Presidents Alison McGovern MP, Shadow DFID Minister, Gail Cartmail, Unite Assistant General Secretary, Lord Jack McConnell, Richard Howitt MEP, Seb Dance MEP, and Stephen Doughty MP; Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker, Shadow DFID Minister Gavin Shuker MP; Shadow DECC Minister Baroness Bryony Worthington; Simon Franks, Franks Family Foundation; PPCs Mel Ward, Purna Sen and Jess Asato; Labour List Editor Mark Ferguson; and BOND Chief Executive Ben Jackson. The compère for the evening will be our Chair Claire Leigh.
In partnership with Bond. Refreshments provided.
Campaigning for Jeff Smith – Labour PPC for Manchester Withington
Sunday 21st September, 1.30pm
Meet at St Peter’s Square tram stop, central Manchester, close to the conference centre – contact our chair Claire Leigh or look for a group wearing white LCID t-shirts! Alternatively meet in the constituency at 2pm in Morrisons supermarket car park, Chorlton, next to Chorlton tram stop.
International Morning at Conference
Monday 22nd, from 9.45am – Conference Floor
Come and listen to Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, Shadow Secretary of State Jim Murphy, and Shadow Secretary of Defence Vernon Coaker outline the next Labour government’s international agenda.
Development on the Doorstep: Training for Parliamentary Candidates, agents, and CLP executive members
Monday 22nd September, 6-7pm – Room F11, Friends Meeting House, Central Manchester
Training for PPCs and their campaign teams in how to talk confidently about international development on the doorstep. The session will by hosted by Lord Ray Collins, Labour’s Spokesperson for International Development in the House of Lords, and Kirsty McNeill, former Downing Street adviser and PPC, and founder of strategy consultancy ThembaHQ.
Got a footy top you can donate at conference?
The Shadow International Development team are collecting for Kits 4 Causes, a charity who send old football shirts to kids across Africa. If you’ve got a shirt you can give, drop it at the Socialist Societies stall, (no.97 in the Exhibition Area) or bring it along to the team’s fringe event:
Football, Qatar 2022 & Workers Rights
Tuesday 23rd September, 6pm – Manchester Central, Exchange 11
LCID Members Social
Tuesday 23rd September, from 9.30pm – Midland Hotel Bar
All members and friends of LCID are invited to join us for drinks in the main conference bar.
– Charity Events –
An article in The Scotsman by Andrew Whitaker, reported that hundreds of civil service jobs in international development would be lost to Scotland after a Yes vote, with a weakening of the effort to tackle global poverty and deeps cuts in aid to poorer nations.
The article explained that Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch, had warned MSPs of an “unacceptable” threat to the jobs and the end of Dfid’s presence in Scotland, which she claimed was worth tens of millions of pounds to the local economy. She added that a Yes vote would lead to the “fragmentation” of aid to the world poorest and the loss of half of the UK’s budget to help poverty stricken nations – a package of support delivered from Difid in East Kilbride that she claimed would equate to a £1 billion cut in humanitarian support.
Ms McCulloch claimed there was a “positive, progressive, humanitarian reason” to reject independence in the debate.” She concluded “The International Development Select Committee expect the East Kilbride office, which contributes £30 million to the local economy, to close within five years of a Yes vote.”
To read the full transcript of the debate, click here.
On September 12, MPs will have the chance to enshrine the UK’s commitment to international aid in law.
Click here to see why Labour are supporting the 0.7% legislation.
If you want your MP to back the Bill then write to them and tell them why.