Sunday, 22 June 2008

UK Leading The Way

Raise your glasses, run that Union Flag up the pole and break out the best China cups because good old Britannia is sitting pretty once more at the top of a global table.
Actually, it could be defined as a rather dubious accolade to pick up because the world table we lead is the league of weapons sales with shows that the United Kingdom is now the worlds number one arms exporter.
We are responsible for a third of all worldwide exports of military equipment and have just flogged 72 aircraft to Saudi Arabia for £4.4b which obviously does not contravene the Governments much trumpeted ethical foreign policy it drew up upon taking power in 1997 which promised they would refuse to sell arms to nations if there was a chance that they would be used for internal oppression, external aggression, or regional tensions.
Might be better not to mention that in 2006 we exported arms to 19 of the 20 countries identified as "countries of concern" for abusing human rights including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Colombia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Jordan and Turkey.
I expect the Government's best brains will have got together to construct a case for supplying these weapons to regimes that regularly hit the headlines for their human right violations.
Here comes the Trade Minister Digby Jones now to pick up the baton. He's bound to strike the right note of spin and half-truths to ease our concerns that we are a major contributing factor to the death and destruction happening globally.
"As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a first-class defence industry" he said.
Ok, maybe he won't then but at least we can be proud that the next time we watch the news and see a shell explode into a block of flats or a group of demonstrators cut down by a spray of bullets, we supplied them.
Brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye every time. Mostly to the victims families.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised - or maybe not. Politicians are such hypocrites.

Cheezy said...

Ah yes, being reminded about the old 'ethical foreign policy' is always enough to bring forth an (unamused and very bitter) chuckle...

Looks like the 'ethical' part of the ethical foreign policy died with Robin Cook, doesn't it?