One tiny spark of light on the otherwise gloomy scene of UK politics is that our brand new (or should that be "soiled"?) foreign secretary , Lord (David) Cameron is reported to wish to "unlock billions of dollars of overseas aid." Sadly no hard figures are mentioned, nor any reference to a date for restoring the UK's aid budget to 0.7% of GDP. (That is in the Liberal Democrat proposals for our next manifesto: will it be in Labour's?)
Be that as it may, the "wish" is a welcome move in the correct direction, though the "right" might not welcome it.
The need for assistance to the Global South is as great as ever. In spite of the efforts of Water Aid and other charities roughly six times the population of the UK still have no facilities which enable them to urinate and defecate in private, safety and dignity, with hygienic means of washing their hands and disposing of their waste. You can find further details on previous postings on this blog on previous 19ths of November.
The lack of provision for this basic need is less dire but hugely inconvenient in our "civilised" United Kingdom, where Public Lavatories in urban areas have almost disappeared. If our Chancellor is short of good ideas on how to spend his "surplus" cash on Wednesday then he could supply sufficient means to enable Local Government in our towns and cities to replace and maintain these vital facilities.
Two contemporary aspects of this topic are strikingly important at the moment:
1. How are the thousands of people taking shelter in Gaza's hospitals and other putative "havens" coping with this?
2. How do the increasing numbers of homeless people forced to live on our street cope?
If you have access to the means of relieving yourself in privacy and dignity at your own convenience, give thanks. And forget about tax cuts: tell the politicians to give this basic human need the higher priority.