Is it time British taxpayers stop funding the UN?
Britain has shown bravery in leaving the EU, citing exorbitant costs and a lack of return on investment; why then does this same logic not apply to an equally bureaucratic and superfluous institution, the United Nations?
I understand full well that the UN exists on the foundations of genuine virtue, and to that end its human rights and women’s rights programmes are to be applauded, it provides a forum for sovereign nations to cooperate, to discuss international affairs and we need that.
But what good is a lot of talking if it has no backbone and resolve to back up its words with action? Whenever the UN is called to step up to the challenge and put more than its mouth where its money has gone, it proves itself to be a dog after a bone with no teeth.
Socialist platitudes and expensive virtue signalling is the forte of the UN given its opaque bureaucracy, exorbitant costing and some of the frankly bizarre conclusion its members draw to the chagrin of other nations.
President Trump has had enough, arguing that US taxpayers are forking out $8bn per year and getting little in return, shouldn’t Britain follow suit given the need for reform in the wake of Brexit?
After all Britain often gets the proverbial boot like it did last week when a UN committee said the government failed to meet commitments under the convention on disabled people’s rights, saying that its welfare reforms are a “human catastrophe”.
Such a term smacks of moral hypocrisy given that in some UN member states disabled people really do have to contend with catastrophes, such as in Ghana where they are beaten up and chained, or perhaps Venezuela where scores of people are dying of starvation as I write this.
In fact Britain is somewhat of a whipping boy (or girl) for the UN as they sneer over its domestic ineptitude, such as when in 2013 a Brazilian housing minister opined that the “bedroom” tax was “shocking”, this despite the somewhat precarious state of housing in the favelas of Brazil, not to mention the shanties of other UN member states.
The UN loves picking on Western capitalist democracies you see, even saying Britain has much to do on the area of “kids’ rights” ranking the country 156 out of 165. Wait a minute, so Britain has more a more lamentable way of life for children than Saudi Arabia? Than Venezuela?
But isn’t the UN the leading force in protecting human rights, you say? Yes it must be since the Human Rights Council recently appointed a representative from Saudi Arabia to its 2018–2022 “Commission on the Status of Women” this a backward country than bans women from driving and forces them to cover themselves up.
Maybe Britain failed in addressing the “gender pay gap” too? Well that’s what representatives from Sudan and Algeria did in its 2012 Universal Review on the country.
And the hits keep on coming. There’s Vietnam saying “austerity” was awful, Russia saying our police beat up too many people, China discussing our freedom to protest laws and Cuba saying we should better protect social rights and economic reform.
Then of course the UN loves, just loves, to criticise Israel, not to mention its glorious failures in foreign policy.
So Britain currently pays out £100m per year to the regular budget, pays more for its peacekeeping budget and what exactly does it get out of it?
The UN has social good embedded into its very fabric but it is an opaque monstrosity, its overheads and costs stratospheric and UN staff are not held to account; then there’s the malaise of agencies who replicate UN work, siphoning off funds and get nothing done, all of which the taxpayers have to foot the bill for.
It’s time the UN is properly scrutinised especially since it incorporates so many non-democratic countries which is why the US is right to review its role in the mix, as should the UK.