Every British Government for the last 35 years has promised, in one way or another, a bonfire of the quangos – those unaccountable, costly, wasteful, meddling beasts which exert power and spend taxpayers’ money without democratic control. Some have been more successful than others (Blair loved creating new ones, while Francis Maude has been fairly successful in shrinking the quangocracy, though not yet by enough).
One area of quango-land which remains untouched, though, is the international and supranational branch. The entire EU Commission, for example, is one vast quango – effectively the most powerful such body in the world.
Today, we have another reminder that most of the UN also works on the same, unaccountable basis – and where there is no accountability, there is often little value for taxpayers and even less common sense.
From today’s Daily Mail:
‘The United Nations sparked fury today after launching an unprecedented inquiry into Britain’s treatment of the disabled.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities launched a formal probe into whether this country has committed ‘grave or systemic violations’ of the rights of disabled people.
Tory MPs tonight branded the investigation ‘politically motivated’ and said Britain’s record on help for disabled people was among the best in the world.’
This is the third such attack on the UK by UN institutions since the last election. First we had the ‘Brazil Nut’, a left wing academic sent to criticise British housing benefit reforms on human rights grounds. Then we were told that Britain was the most sexist country in the world, apparently by someone who hadn’t heard of much of the rest of the world.
Each instance, predictably, saw left wing academics and quangocrats fly round the world at taxpayers’ expense to criticise Britain, a democratic nation, for how we choose to run our own affairs. The UN appears not to see the irony that the nations of origin of their chosen inquisitors (Brazil; South Africa; and in the latest instance Uganda, Tunisia and Jordan among others) themselves have serious problems on housing, sexism and human rights.
Britain contributes generously to the UN’s funding for humanitarian reasons – to ensure there is aid when crisis strikes, to put international pressure on oppressive regimes and so on.
It is increasingly clear, however, not just that the UN operates on the basis of moral relativism that allows unfree countries to judge free nations, but that many of its arms are carrying out a political crusade against democratically-elected centre right governments that they do not like. At the same time, there has been precious little action on genuine crises of human rights in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, Central African Republic and elsewhere.
Quangos in the UK have been closed down for much less. Why should taxpayers continue to fund bodies which campaign against the actions of our own, democratically elected Government while neglecting their real duty?
We still have a large deficit to clear – there should be a review of the UN’s activities, and we should stop funding all those which are at odds with British interests and outside the core humanitarian work that the United Nations is supposed to perform.