Louise Mensch is MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire. Follow Louise on Twitter.
On Wednesday George Osborne will stand up in parliament and deliver his budget. Assuming he hasn’t had a change of heart and decided to row back on promises set out in the Conservative manifesto and the Coalition Agreement, the detail in the Red Book will confirm that the UK will meet its promise to spend 0.7% of our national income on aid from next year.
Is this the right thing to do? Aid has been much in the news lately since a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed that 66% of Britons thought we were spending too much on aid. I welcome this debate. All government spending should be scrutinised, because every penny of taxpayers' money should be spent well. But I strongly believe that our aid money is being well spent and the decision to stick to the promised spending plan is the right one.
Sometimes politicians should follow the public, and listen to the polling. But too much "government by focus group" was the hallmark of where the last Labour government failed. Always going for what was popular in that minute, Labour ducked all the hard choices, and wound up with not only the colossal deficit that is their legacy to the nation, but too few positive achievements in the plus column. What people truly want from Prime Ministers, and Chancellors too, is leadership and ideology. "Ideology" has become a dirty word, but it shouldn't be. You need to stand for something. You need to have a clear vision, run for election on that vision, and pursue it in government. This is more important than whether an individual policy polls well or poorly.