We give money to Africa to stop 'them' coming here, says Cameron

Talk of 'bongo bongo land' is offensive says PM - before explaining his line on foreign aid with unexpected clarity

Column LAST UPDATED AT 11:09 ON Thu 8 Aug 2013

DAVID CAMERON today appealed to traditional Tory voters who share the views of Godfrey 'Bongo Bongo' Bloom by admitting that there is a pragmatic reason for pouring billions of pounds into overseas aid when the rest of the UK budget is subjected to slash-and-burn austerity cuts. It's intended to stop "them" - Africans - turning up "here" - in Britain - as illegal immigrants.

In his first major interview since returning from holiday, the Prime Minister was asked on BBC Breakfast what he would say to the Tory voters who supported the views of Bloom, the UKIP MEP who caused outrage yesterday when he refused to apologise for remarks he had made to party activists, caught on film and leaked to The Guardian.

The clip of his speech showed him attacking UK hand-outs to "bongo bongo land" where, he said, the money would only be used to purchase Ferraris and sunglasses.

Cameron said Bloom's views - which the MEP was able to repeat on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday - were "offensive". But then the Prime Minister admitted that his foreign aid policy was motivated by "self-interest".

Cameron said: "If we can invest in these countries - for example, Somalia - we can stop most immigration and stop them ending up on our shores. Why not stop these problems at source by investing in these countries rather than having them turn up here?"

The PM was, of course, trying to perform a tricky balancing act: seeking on the one hand to say that nice Tories don't talk about "bongo bongo land", while at the same time acknowledging that a lot of Conservatives are tempted by UKIP just because they agree absolutely with the substance of Bloom's argument if not his language.

As The Independent columnist Steve Richards writes today, "A lot of Tory voters agree... that overseas aid is a waste of money. Perhaps some Tory voters might enjoy Bloom's tone, too, and the unrepentant interview he gave [to the Today programme]."

Polls suggest that a growing number of Tories are opposed to the aid budget. 

And as for how many Conservatives are quitting the party for UKIP, there's a hint of the size of problem from the Tory donor, Lord Ashcroft. He has tweeted this morning: "We still have not received the membership numbers for the Conservative Party. Sadly I suspect it's really bad."

Steve Richards believes that, in the longer term, the views of UKIP eccentrics like Bloom will not help the party: voters expect a more professional display from a party's leading figures.

On the other hand, "The resolute insularity of parts of England, unwilling to face the consequences of an increasingly interdependent world, is a factor in every leader's calculations, not least when these voters now have a party that speaks for them."

Hence Cameron's pragmatic approach to immigration this morning.

The PM also offered a couple of other headline-grabbing remarks to show the British public that, after his shorts-and-sandals break, he's back in charge of the country.

He called for a boycott of websites such as Ask.fm until they have "cleaned up their act" after the case of Hannah Smith, 14, who killed herself following personal abuse by internet "trolls" on the website.

He also responded to Labour's planned autumn offensive over falling living standards by hinting that he will give a pre-election boost of more tax cuts. "I'm going to be looking absolutely for what more we can do to help families with the cost of living. I think it is absolutely a huge issue for families up and down the country."

As Paul Waugh, editor of Politicshome, tweeted: "Cam's tax cut hint on cost of living, after fuel duty escalator/council tax freeze, suggests interesting 2014 Budget." · 

Disqus - noscript

Cameron's comment "If we can invest in these countries - for example, Somalia - we can
stop most immigration and stop them ending up on our shores. Why not
stop these problems at source by investing in these countries rather
than having them turn up here?" is, I'm afraid to say an outright lie. He is simply trying to mitigate the damage his doctrinaire policy of sending 0.7% of our GDP overseas when our own people need it more.

If he was serious about stopping, as he says, Somalis coming here then all he has to do is properly police our borders for once.

Bloom is at least in touch with reality and public opinion,Cameron just hasn't got a clue,wouldn't it be nice of our government invested in our country,all they are doing here is creating another property bubble and wiping out a lifetimes savings,no other country gives remotely as much as US in aid,Germany for example gives less than 10% of what we do.

well its patently not working is it ? with the highest birth rate since 1972 and the most overpopulated country in Europe. It isn't the indigenous population knocking kids out like they didn't have to pay for them - oh they don't do they ? another half a million last year alone. Oh joy.

Spend some of the billions that is spent in 'Aid' on controlling our borders! This employs people and stops "Bongo Bongo Land" citizens coming here.

The only promise Cameron made from his 2010 election manifesto was to ring fence foreign aid, not only did he ring fence it but he gold plated it to.

Charity begins at home, we are 1 trillion in debt and counting SOS!

I am vehemently opposed to the so called aid given by the UK and some other do gooder nations to African countries. A really close scrutiny will show that very little of it is true aid at all. And the draconian visa regulations applied to Africans seeking even legitimate entry to the UK, I would like to see figures as to how many are allowed in to cause a real problem, especially with an increased birth rate. There
other immigrant groups which are probably causing a problem in that regard, but Africans are always an easy scape goat for the racists in Britain. Get a life, do. Look carefully at where your real problems lie! Keep your money I say and put it to good use at home where you really need it.

With an (official) unemployment rate of 8%, a massive and ever growing backlog of asylum seekers, the absence of any current computerised system to determine who enters our leaves our country you would think that the £10bn in aid might be better kept in this country, employing Britons and contributing to an economy in recession, all the while sorting this sorry situation out.

EXACTLY. Control the borders, and invest the money in Britain. Bloom is absolutely right; language aside, and I shall be supporting his party.

From what I hear, not only do many people agree with Mr Bloom's sentiments but they also agree with his language.

What a muppet, what a load of bilge. This is the stupidest government I have witnessed in my reasonably long life with the stupidest leaders.
If it wasn't so serious it would be hilarious.
Suspend completely the foreign aid and use it at home why should the leaders of 'bongo bongo land' buy Ferrari's at our expense I am patently not a racist but I am a patriot and and dislike being laughed at by these corrupt governments and their leaders.
Hey Dopey Dave do something logical but unexpected, something intelligent and sensible.

If we employed thousands of border control guards to police our borders, IT WOULD STILL WORK OUT CHEAPER THAN ALL THIS AID AND GIVE EMPLOYMENT TO THOUSANDS OF BRITONS!

I think we'd be better off with more Kenyans - who share our language, culture and many of our customs - coming here instead of hordes of Eastern Europeans, who have none of these attributes.

If Cameron really believes this disingenuous rubbish that he is spouting to us, then he is dafter than I thought - and this is DAFT! More probably, he thinks that WE are daft and that we will be placated by his "compelling" argument to justify squandering our very much needed money on foreign aid.

This country simply cannot afford this man any longer. He is patronising, divorced from the real world and quite incapable of understanding the deep resentment within the country towards Foreign Aid, when we are having to make savage cuts at home.

Nothing that Cameron has done or said has in any way lessened my resolve to vote UKIP in the 2015 election.

Cameron's: "If we can invest in these countries - for example, Somalia"

Anyone from Britain (or most anywhere else) who invests in Somalia is a bloody idiot.

As a British-Somali who came here at the age of 7, I'm saddened to hear the comments of our Prime Minister. I've gone through the education system, worked hard and contributed immensely to society. Unfortunately, the comments of the Prime Minister,UKIP MEP and the views below lead me to conclude that I'm frankly not wanted in this country. Let's hope only a small section of British society subscribe to these views.