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News & views

Bongo Bongo Land – let’s not go there, says Ukip at last

[7 August 2013] Bongo Bongo Land, which Neville Chamberlain might have described as a faraway country of which we know nothing – is back in the news again. It first surfaced in the Thatcherite days of Tory minister Alan Clark, but Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom renewed interest in the place when he lambasted Britain’s policies on foreign aid at a gathering in Wordsley, near Stourbridge.

Bloom said: ‘How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month when we’re in this sort of debt to Bongo Bongo Land is completely beyond me. To buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it that goes with most of the foreign aid. F18s for Pakistan. We need a new squadron of F18s. Who’s got the squadrons? Pakistan, where we send the money.’

Ukip chiefs admired Bloom’s sentiments but not his language, described by Save the Children’s chief executive as ‘racist words’. Ukip finally urged Bloom to recant, and he has since apologized ‘for any genuine offence that might have been caused’, which is as close to a total non-apology as students of non-apologies are likely to find. He also said he’d achieved his objective, which was to air disapproval of the Government’s protection for an annual overseas aid budget of £9bn.

Bloom believes chunks of British and European aid disappear into the pockets of corrupt politicians, officials and their extended families. Credible reports support his opinion, and the lack of accountability is notorious. The Government has recently made political capital out of schemes such as providing help to recipient countries to get their own citizens to pay taxes, with ‘hand-ups not handouts’ being the motto. [cont]

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