On 4th to 5th September, Wales hosted a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) summit attended by more than 60 heads of state and ministers. Howard Allen, councillor and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Solihull reflects:
Given the unstable situation in many parts of the world, but particularly the situation in Ukraine, and in the year in which we mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, now is a good time to reflect on the profound failure of our existing foreign policies to deliver peace and stability in the world. NATO was established for mutual defence during the Cold War and should have been disbanded when it ended. As a nuclear-armed alliance with more than 5,000 weapons, it significantly contributes to threats to the world’s safety.
What do our readers from nineteen different countries (left) think of Howard’s conclusion?
These heads of state have been responsible for countless civilian deaths in Afghanistan, they have torn Libya and Iraq to shreds and are poised to plunge us deeper into this grisly mire of warmongering in Ukraine.
Money going into war is money going out of communities. 500,000 people had to resort to foodbanks last year. Inequality grows with each passing moment.
War is the enemy of the poor. It is the biggest polluter and a vile instrument of moneymaking.
NATO is a military-oriented body, which imposes conflict cessation rather than encouraging peace building. As such, it is not a sustainable mechanism for maintaining peace in the world.The Green Party would take the UK out of NATO unilaterally.
The previous Saturday the Green Party joined with ‘Stop the War’ and the ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’ in organising a ‘No to Nato’ march in the NATO host town of Newport, protesting against the role NATO continues to play in world politics.
Anne-Marie O’Reilly has sent an emessage pointing out that 27% of children in the UK are growing up in poor families, 20,000 disabled people will lose support for the basics in life when the Independent Living Fund closes and thirteen times more people are visiting foodbanks than did five years ago.
Despite this Britain’s military spending was set at £38 billion in 2014 – a figure confirmed by the Financial Times.
She itemised Budget proposals:
- £570 million of public money for upgrading the UK’s nuclear weapons
- £700 million to subsidise arms exports,
- £2.5 billion for new fighter jets,
- £6.2 billion for new aircraft carriers
As CAAT’s Outreach Co-ordinator she stresses that it’s time to shift priorities. It is hoped that a Global Day of Action on Military Spending on Monday 14th April will turn the tide on military spending and readers are asked to share these powerful spending comparisons on Twitter and Facebook.
Global Day of Action on Military Spending event in India 2013
A Lancashire reader writes: ”It would be excellent if donors to foodbanks chose to support local village or high street independents rather than buy their donated food from the large corporates.
“If someone stands to benefit from the purchase of the donated food, let it be the small and medium sized businesses that are of great value, as the money is likely to remain within the community instead of going to wealthy foreign investors like Warren Buffett who always profits from the little man and the poor.
”A PR exercise to boost the sales of the large corporate retailers, one in particular, is under way, as people flock to their stores to spend their money instore while also supporting “the cause” by buying extra items. Of course our favourite retailer – Not – will top up food donations by 30% on 5th & 6th July. Think of what they will earn on the rest of the shopping of the generous customers attracted to the project who may not have shopped there before.
(On the website of one such store we read that, “customers will be given special shopping lists to encourage them to buy everyday food items like cereals, rice, instant coffee, tinned food and sauces. Collections will take place between 9am – 6pm in Tesco stores).
The reader continues:
“I am very wary of the large retailers having such a hold over this project and taking over yet another controlling role giving them even more political sway than they have already.
“This may also provide an over-generous income stream for charity organisers commanding a lucrative salary and the often over-indulgent expenses connected with their work while the front lines are staffed with volunteers”.