At the most basic and essential level, aid is and will remain a vital source of funding for many countries who cannot yet raise enough tax to pay for much-needed social services and goods including things like education and healthcare but also in the longer term helping to build the capacity to raise and more effectively use those resources. UK aid contributes to building a fairer world where more people live free from poverty, fewer die from preventable causes like malnutrition or childbirth and there are more opportunities for all.
This year marks seventy years since the end of the Second World War. While the number of people that can remember the devastation first-hand diminishes each year, this country's gratitude endures for the sacrifices made by the American people for peace in Europe and for the bold and enlightened Marshall Plan, which rebuilt our decimated economies.
Peter Hook visited a small gig venue in São Paulo today just to meet fans up close and to answer their questions. My wife and I had arranged the visit for the British Consulate who plastered the venue with their 'Music is GREAT' branding - and of course when you are talking about British music, it really is!
For too long the North Korean people have suffered terribly. There are no easy answers, but we are determined that we should not simply see this as "too difficult" and put it to the bottom of what is a very busy foreign affairs in-tray. We must remain resolute in tackling the DPRK's efforts at nuclear development.
Some places almost never get the attention they deserve. One of these is the Democratic Republic of Congo. A vast country of some 80 million people, at the heart of Africa. It has struggled since independence in 1960 with a poor colonial legacy, cold war manipulations, venal and incompetent governments, and a succession of wars.