When the government speaks of 'recovery' (which may well turn out to be a bubble largely supported by consumer spending, inflated house prices and private credit), it is worth asking, 'what is being recovered by whom?'
Last year, I visited the Judean desert and met with people who used a water pipe funded by UK aid money. Before the pipe was fitted, the villagers often had to go ten days without a bath. Now they can bathe every three days. They are also better able to water their vegetables and feed their livestock. The aid money has thus made them more independent, not less.
There has been a shocked response to news that the royal family is seeking to negotiate an increase in the Civil List - the money they are granted each year from public funds - despite the public spending cuts that are likely due to the recession.
New research published by Greenpeace and backed by senior politicians has warned that the cost of replacing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system will be over £95 billion – in contrast to the roughly £20 billion earmarked by the government.
Well-known thespian Emma Thompson and Anglican Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler are among 100 public figures spanning the arts, science, politics, academia, the churches and civic life who have joined together to oppose Prime Minister Tony Blair's plans to spend vast amounts of money on replacing Britain's Trident nuclear fleet.