How much will UK development policy change under a Conservative government?

The Conservative Party is set fair to win next year’s UK general election. What will happen to development policy? The Conservatives published a Green Paper in the summer, shortly after the government put out its White Paper on development, to which I gave a warm review. In this rather long post I extend the same courtesy to the Conservatives. Overall judgement: much to welcome but some reservations because the document is conservative in the wrong way.    Continue reading

Economic recovery and successful peacemaking: two irritating footnotes on DFID’s white paper

DFID’s impressive White Paper came out in July; it marks a major step forward in thinking and policy-making on international development (see my post on 21 August). But there are at least a couple of points that deserve a second, sceptical look. Without detracting from the achievement registered with the White Paper, but just to have it on record in a quiet way, DFID takes an unguardedly if necessarily optimistic view about recovery from the recession and over-states the success of peace agreements quite dramatically. Continue reading

Development thinking develops – DFID’s white paper and what comes next

It can be safely predicted that ideas and the terms of discussion about international development will change fundamentally in the coming five years.  A major policy statement from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) marks an important milestone on this road, though it’s a long way from being the endpoint. In this very long post, I explore the white paper and a way of taking DFID’s logic forward. Continue reading

Britain’s international standing

 Ever since the end of the British empire, some of us British have been pondering and picking over the question of what is our place in the world. For the British, it is so much part of the condition of being British that for the most part we don’t realise we’re doing it and, when it’s pointed out to us, we assume that it’s simply part and parcel of having a national identity. But it’s not. And our obsession with it says something about us. As our Parliament merrily implodes before our eyes, the question is coming back again but in the end the answer may be surprisingly banal. Continue reading

British government rethinks development, putting peace first

Few people have a good word to say for the British government these days, few British voters anyway. But I like not to follow the crowd. And on international development, they have got something worthwhile going on. There are signs of a real rethink that has a chance of paving the way to making overseas aid more effective. Continue reading