Lammy see if I’ve got this right

David Lammy is widely thought – with considerable supporting evidence – to be one of the stupidest bipedal mammals currently drawing breath.

In 20 years time, repeated ‘do you remember’ showings of Delboy falling through the bar or dropping the chandalier will have been replaced by Lammy on Celebrity Mastermind, and Lammy saying “where are all the policeman?” while a policeman stands just behind him, in shot.

But this time, I think he may be on to something. David apparently took umbrage at some no-mark whitey Telly-Doris doing her ‘think of the poor starving Africans’ piece for Comic Relief, and he went on Twitter to say so.

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And do you know what? I think he might be right about this.

Since Live Aid in 1984, Africa has become an adornment for politicians and slebs wishing to burnish their humanitarian credentials in the interest of puffing their egos and furthering their careers. Charities have become like imperial conquerors in African countries, and foreign aid has become the slush fund that keeps all the maddest, baddest and most dangerous local tyrants in power. Self-absorbed middle classes have salved their consciences by giving to Oxfam and Comic Relief in the easily disabused belief that by so doing, they are saving some people in Africa, and they can sleep soundly on their feather beds in their (accidentally) million pound houses.

Now, look… I’m under no illusion about Africa and its ability to look after itself in the way a Westerner would like. History proves that it can, but that it’s a messy and brutal business that offends delicate Western sensibilities. They have an r-strategy, we have a K-strategy. They – on average – have IQs between one and two standard deviations below ours. It is a different world.

But the West is the best, and we think that they should live like us and be like us. Why should they, even if they could? What damn business is it of ours to tell Africa how to conduct its affairs, other than insist they don’t present a threat to us?

I know that Zimbabwe is going to be a dust-bowl, and that South Africa will follow it, as experienced farmers are run out of town. I know that there are other economies in Africa that have made hasty attempts at westernisation (Ethiopia for example) but are overheating massively due to money oversupply from foreign aid and FDI, and will struggle to feed their massively growing populations when it all hits the fan.

But I’m really not sure any of that is our problem. And even if it were our problem, is there any evidence that what the west does in Africa isn’t making everything far worse? [Come to that, is there much evidence that the West is managing its own economies and resources any more competently or less corruptly than Africa?]

If the foreign aid money stopped propping up the mad dictators, and the West (and others) stopped treating the despots as world leaders, just because they have a suit on over their coconut codpiece and tribal torso scarring.

If charities stopped arriving in countries and giving out endless free stuff that sent local businesses to the wall, and delivering projects that had unforseen environmental, social and medical consequences.

If charity workers stopped abusing and exploiting women and children in these countries.

If the laughable ‘fairtrade’ scheme stopped imposing anti-competetive restrictions on suppliers in these countries.

If the motivation and invitation for all their able-bodied young workers to migrate to the West was removed.

Some African countries would rise and thrive. They could then, via the African Union, support the others that weren’t doing so well. They could share their burdens and successes between themselves. African solutions to African problems. They wouldn’t be pretty to us, perhaps, but they wouldn’t be our concern either.

It’s not a perfectly formed plan, and I know that African has a lot of natural resources that we ‘need’. But the market can provide an answer to that. We want coffee and cobalt, you want cars and computers. Let’s make a deal.

So just for once, I say we should get behind Lammy. Stop ‘helping Africa’, stop their able young people coming here, get out of the way and let Africa proudly Africa.

AJ

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