I remarked that not only did I think it was wrong to increase this budget when other public spending was being cut back, but that most overseas aid was harmful; that it perpetuated Third World poverty and oppression by propping up tyrants, who as a result were able to murder and enslave even more of their suffering populations.
So bad was this problem, I added, that I thought the Department for International Development should be shut down altogether.
The reaction to this was somewhat unexpected. The audience booed me. Not for the first time, however, those making the most noise (a faint cheer went up for me as well) did not seem to represent the views of the wider public.
For since that show, I have been deluged by passionate messages of support — including from some professionals involved with overseas aid — with only a very few expressing any dissent.
Not only that, but when a columnist in yesterday’s Observer expressed horror at my remarks, many of the online readers’ messages even to this Left-wing newspaper were in my favour.