The case for charity changing the world for the better is pretty weak. No matter how many more years of Comic Relief we are forced to endure, I can't help feeling Africa will look rather similar to how it looked when the campaign started.
Charity has become an industry like any other. The charity industry (much of it based in N1 or EC1) creates a fat, bloated bureacracy (both here and abroad) and stimulates corruption. I am unsure of the extent to which charity encourages dependency (who is going to come out and say it does?) but there can be little doubt that it encourages racism - if only because it shows the developing world, and in particular its elites, at their grasping worst. Finally, if charity worked - why do we hear so rarely of charities who have disbanded, their good work done?
Yet there is very little critique, from either Anarchist or Socialist currents, about charity as an industry, or charity as a concept. When we do hear something, it is often a sort of weak liberal praise, that appears to be speaking more in hope than expectation. Which leaves me to rely on The Spectator of 21 May for this gem of a quote:
"It is by no means clear why David Cameron believes that, in the middle of a fiscal crisis, he should extract a further £4 billion from us through the tax system and give the money to charities of his choice"
The Con-Dems decision to freeze government budgets, save for the NHS, was presumeably a mixture of political realism and the need to erect a smokescreen to deflect attention from their reforms in that field. The second department to see an increase in spending is - the Department for International Development. Such madness could almost be designed to foster sentiments along the lines of "Our local school has no money for X, yet we can spend money on schools in Pakistan"
I hesitate to call such sentiments racist, because I don't believe they are - they sound pretty much like fair comment - but you really wonder what goes through the Con-Dems minds when they establish such policies?