MRBA Chairman Ian Brace writes:  “President Trump has just touched down as I write this.  He has come for a state visit that not everyone here agrees with, and by the time you read this you will know whether it passed off peacefully or not.  Whether it did or not a visit of this nature is, or should be, about friends and allies coming together and supporting and helping each other.  We may have our differences, we may not always agree or even find the other an agreeable person, but in the long run our aim is to support and help each other.

“This is not a million miles away from where the MRBA sometimes finds itself.  When we have an applicant with whom we feel we can identify, with whom we feel an common relationship, it is very easy for us to help them.  Sometimes though, we have applicants with whom we find it difficult to identify, who come from a very different lifestyle and background from most of us, or occasionally someone who we find at a personal level simply disagreeable.  In these instances, we must ensure that we put aside any personal prejudices and assess the case, the applicant’s needs, on its merits.  We are generally more sympathetic towards someone who we feel is trying to help themselves, because we know that in those cases our money is more likely to result in a positive outcome, whereas we are fearful in other cases that it will not make a significant change and the money will simply disappear.  In deciding who does and does not get assistance we sometimes have to tread a fine moral line, which we do on behalf of all our supporters who trust us to get it right.

“I hope we do, at least most of the time, and I hope that UK-US relationships survive any short term disagreements.”


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