Review | Will the DFID/FCO merger ruin the UK internationally? (POI Podcasts #6)
This week, in episode six of the POI podcast, we asked our political commentators what they made of the Department for International Development and Foreign Office merger. The issue was initially discussed earlier this week in an article by Liberal Writer Jeeves Sidhu. In the past Conservative Writer, Alexander Dennis has commented his thoughts on foreign aid, suggesting it is a ‘sham’. Both writers were present for the debate, along with Giulia Valentina for Labour.
Although a quieter, more civilised discussion than last week, some interesting points were certainly raised.
Jeeves, an incoming Civil Servant, defended the PM’s decision as it creates a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to better promote British interests. He disagreed with the questioning that this is simply another form of colonialism, arguing that Britain no longer holds that power in the world. Although he does claim that this decision needs to be criticised for its manner of implementation.
When Alexander was asked if this merger would help the issues surrounding foreign aid, he maintained the new department may still seek to implement soft power. The Conservative looked to Ghana as an example in which this was our goal, not world improvement or autonomous governance.
Giulia was more apprehensive with how this merger could hurt the UK internationally. She suggested only countries at the heart of the UK’s interest will now receive financial aid; that there should be concern with how all countries will struggle and need help during the aftermath of Covid-19.
From here, the debate started to become a bit more heated, Jeeves again standing up for the government’s decision. We saw that this ‘carrot and stick’ policy worried our Labour and Conservative writers. Alexander wants a clear split of foreign aid and diplomacy to ensure foreign aid actually helps – something Giulia also agreed with.
Although agreeing there are problems with foreign aid, Jeeves still remained on the side of the government. He closed the debate arguing that this merger could only be a positive move in fixing the problems surrounding aid.
You can listen to the Podcast here.
Written by Podcast Host, Max Anderson
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.