17 March 2011

British "soft diplomacy" at work

"Japan Crisis: UK rescue team to withdraw" reads the syntactically mangled Bitchy Boys headline. It's not a Japan crisis - it's yet another costly and humiliating blunder by the Department for International Development (DfID). 

It seems a UK International Search and Rescue team assembled by DfID, consisting of 59 search and rescue experts, four medics and two sniffer dogs from fire brigades across the UK, is being sent home after a mere three working days in Japan, during which it found "several bodies".

The team "agreed not to extend its operations after discussions with the Japanese disaster authorities and their US counterparts". In other words - we didn't ask for you and don't want you, so why don't you just piss off.

Let's see now: the Iraqis told us to shove our military training and assorted DfID teams where the sun don't shine because we lost Basra and were just cluttering up the airport, and the Afghans have told us to do the same with DfID's police training and community development teams. 

What was it that made the DfIDents think that the highly efficient Japanese needed a bunch of British firemen to blunder about amid their ruins? To teach them how to go on strike?

And this is the department whose budget escaped the axe because it is supposed to make the world safer for Britain by winning hearts and minds. If you closed the whole thing down, the only people who would care would be the jobsworths employed by it.

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