Letter: Support for Clare Short

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Sir: Who are these agency chiefs that were lined up to trash Clare Short in unattributed comments to Paul Vallely ("The sooner she goes the better", 3 September)?

Under Clare's leadership the Department for International Development is embarking on a radical reassessment of British overseas aid. And it's about time. She is the first minister in her position to understand the way the real world works: that the positive benefits of overseas aid will be swept away in a tidal wave of market forces if we don't, in John Smith's words, find a way of making "markets serve the people and not the other way around".

She is not alone in wanting to move the emphasis of aid from dealing with emergencies to preventing them from happening. This is not a lack of commitment to emergency aid or development projects; it is taking a strategic view of the forces which propel millions of people into wars and conflict, destitution and misery.

It's not the first time that the comfortable clique which exists in the development world has been challenged by someone whose agenda is fighting the root causes of poverty, not simply dealing with its symptoms.

This new approach is having a profound impact on her department's operations, and on its relations with other government departments. It's an approach which we heartily welcome.


Executive Director

War on Want

London SE1