I woke up this morning to hear that David Cameron has told reporters travelling with him in India that he is considering shifting money from Britain’s aid budget to defence, to pay for stability and peacekeeping operations, as suggested in Aiding and Abetting.
As well as the BBC, the story has been picked up by Reuters, ITV news, the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Guardian which has the best and most detailed account. In the Guardian story (filed by Nicholas Watt in Amritsar), the PM discusses aid delivery in far more realistic terms than he has ever done before, acknowledging the difficulties of helping failed or conflict-riven states, and the extent to which peace and stability are a precondition for development rather than the other way round.
This is a very healthy development as well as personally gratifying. One thing I do wish though is that some of the money that might be headed to the MOD could be diverted to long term care for soldiers who have suffered catastrophic crippling injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq — no government department has budgeted for decades of helping these men who have lost limbs and/or received terrible brain injuries, and the burden is likely to fall on their families.