As Steve Beauchampé writes in the Birmingham Press and Political Concern, generations of an elite have ruled this nation (with a few intermissions) for as long as anyone can remember, due to a rigged electoral system.
Their dual achievements:
- comfortable tax arrangements for the few, a political/corporate nexus which ensures highly paid and nominal duties for all in the inner circle
- vast military expenditure bestowed on the arms industry, as rising numbers of the population survive in relative poverty, wait in hospital corridors, receive a sub-standard education and depend on handouts to eke out their existence.
Direction of travel
Beauchampé: “(The) economy is increasingly kept afloat by the economic support of China . . . The modern high-rise residential blocks that have sprung up throughout the capital may give the impression of a modern, flourishing economy, but look closely and you will see that many are all but empty, whilst homelessness and a reliance on subsistence level housing grows . . . “He notes that surveillance is at an historic high with spy cameras, and even microphones installed in many public places -describing the state’s ability to track the population and follow their activities and conversations as ‘frightening’. . .
The elite stranglehold could be broken
OB’s editor agrees with many that electoral reform is a priority for beneficial change – but even under the rigged ‘first past the post’ system, if the weary mass of people (Brenda of Bristol) saw the true situation they would vote for the candidate with a credible track record who would be most likely to work for the common good.
Going to war – Peter Hitchens
“How romantic. How brave. What tripe.
“Oh, honestly. If you enter a war, you expose your people to years of danger, pain, squalor, despair, grief, screaming, blood, fire, separation, bereavement , privation, loss, destruction and misery.”
Peter Hitchens’ dense and powerful article may be read in full here.
We question the wisdom of the decision to prop up the arms industry, when successive research reports have clearly shown that the economy would benefit from this level of investment in other sectors.
We ask why there are so many cost-increasing delays on large items of equipment, such as helicopters, and condemn the failure to provide basic protective equipment and fittings to the armed forces.
The whole interlinked system was further brought into disrepute after the Haddon-Cave report found politicians, the MoD and BAE systems responsible for the “incompetent complacency” that caused an RAF plane to crash in Afghanistan, killing 14 people.
The latest addition to our database was clipped from Ekklesia’s website. PCU’s webmaster reminds us that elections are when people are supposed to be able to account for the actions in order to be re-elected – and Symon Hill, associate director of Ekklesia has contacted the candidates in his constituency. He writes:
Questioning candidates on the arms trade
I’m currently waiting to hear from all six candidates in my constituency about a topic that much of the media have ignored during the election campaign – the government’s subservience to the arms industry.
Since Blair’s government cancelled a criminal investigation into multinational arms firm BAE Systems, many more people have become aware of the undemocratic influence wielded by arms companies in the corridors of power. Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote that BAE’s boss has “the keys to the garden door at Number Ten”.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is encouraging us to question our candidates about the arms industry’s relationship with government. They have provided a facility on their website to make it easy: http://www.caat.org.uk/issues/ukti/election/index.php.
In particular, this is a great opportunity to question candidates about UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government unit that promotes British exports. It has more staff working on arms exports than on all civil sectors combined – even though arms make up less than 2% of UK exports.
Return to the subject after the election . . .