Flag-waving And Drowning: On The New Branding Policy Of UKaid

They say that discretion is the better part of valour. But DfID, or at least its boss, has decided otherwise. It was announced last month that “Aid from Britain will now be badged with a Union Flag when it is sent overseas, as a clear symbol that it comes from the United Kingdom.” In these times of urgently, relentlessly celebrating Britishness in all possible ways, this little ‘tweak’ to development policy may have slipped under the radar.

The ministerial statement in the press release is worth quoting in full, because it is both strange and revealing of a particular – and, I think, regressive – political turn in international development policy:

“For too long, Britain has not received the credit it deserves for the amazing results we achieve in tackling global poverty. Some in the development community have been reluctant to ‘badge’ our aid with the Union Flag.

“I disagree: I believe it is important that aid funded by the British people should be easily and clearly identified as coming from the UK. It is right that people in villages, towns and cities around the world can see by whom aid is provided.

“British aid is achieving results of which everyone in the United Kingdom can be proud. And I am determined that, from now on, Britain will not shy away from celebrating and taking credit for them.” Continue reading