Sunday, August 07, 2005


For those of us preening ourselves about how so much better organised is the UK aid effort to the developing world, compared with the corruption-ridden EU system, Booker in his column today writes a sobering piece which points at massive corruption in the Department for International Development (DFID).

Brought to light by Austin Mitchell, the MP for Grimsby, it concerns amongst other things the tale of the missing £18 million and the unexplained sacking of education specialist Howard Horsley, who sought to do his duty as a whistleblower. That was in 1999 and ever since, Horsley has been getting the right royal run-around, with no one, from the minister downwards being prepared to take responsibility.

Well, Blair and his fellow-travellers want us to become "more European". In his own way, Booker points out how we seem to be achieving this objective, in government circles at least.

For his second of three stories, Booker takes a tilt at the BBC – again. He points out how consistently, when ever there is a controversial subject (this one, "intelligent design") the BBC always has its own "agenda" and tilts the reporting accordingly. In this one thing, though, the BBC cannot be accused of inconsistency.

Also consistent is Sir Max Hastings, a passionate believer in the virtues of the European Union, whom Booker takes to task. His enthusiasm for the EU is matched only by his blithe ignorance of how it works, hence his half-page article in the Daily Mail this week on immigration.

Headed "Now, more than ever, we must control Britain's borders", he was not, of course, tactless enough to say who we might have to recover control of our borders from. The words "European Union" appeared nowhere in his article. How typical of these "Euro-luvvies" – as always they profess to that love that dare not speak its name.

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