Thursday and the weather is looking fine after overnight rain, as for my, well I’m much better but still a bit wobbly. Well wrapped up I spent an hour tiding up in the garden. Everything has been late or struggled to even survive. Was it the overnight frost in early spring, the hot dry summer months, or the poor soil condition, (you will be hard pressed to find a worm anywhere in the garden) possibly a combination of all three? Next year will be better, we travel hopefully.
And advert has just appeared on the television, (I have it on with the sound muted) Martian Bell, of UNICEF is doing the rounds of some refugee camp, we are entertained to poor children dying from disease and starvation in war torn Yemen, and how your donations could help save a child.
Why should they invade my paradise,
And stare at me with their dying eyes?
If not this one you will have seen many such appeals over the years form Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Palestine and tomorrow, who knows Afghanistan. And what do all these failed states have in common, they are all war torn.
The UK government claims it has one of the world’s most “rigorous and robust” arms export control regimes. If that were so then it would be easy to know the value of arms sales around the world each year by British companies, nothing could be further from the truth. We have SIEL (single individual export licences) which are easy to track. Then you have OIEL (open individual export licence) which are anything but open. OGEL (open general export licence) allows companies that register and fulfil certain conditions, to export an unlimited amount of wide categories of equipment, often to a long list of countries. OGELs are valid indefinitely. Open licenses contain no information on the quantity or financial value of equipment exported, so open they certainly are not.
The British taxpayer is complicit in the suffering of people in Yemen and other parts of the world through arms sales, war crimes are being commuted in their name, is this really how you wish your tax-pounds to be spent?
Former US defence Secretary, James Matthis, quoted on Millitary.com
“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business”
Democrats in Congress are introducing legislation to transfer $1billion worth of funding from a controversial new ballistic missile programme to the development of of a universal Covid vaccine. The “ground-based strategic deterrent” missile system is expected to cost $264 billion. The Guardian, 25/03/2021.
A Microsoft deal to build customised HoloLens goggles for the U.S. Army is to go ahead. Last year the Senate considered freezing the sale. The deal is thought to be worth around $22 billion. Bloomberg, 31/03/2021.
This is just two examples of big bucks being spend by the US government on behalf of the American taxpayer, is this really how you wish your tax-dollars to be spent?
As for Scotland,
The Scottish Government is still providing funding and support for arms companies, including many that have profited from the brutal bombardment of Yemen.
In the last financial year the Scottish Government’s business promotion unit, Scottish Enterprise, gave £700,000 worth of funding to arms companies. The biggest beneficiary was Leonaredo, which accounted for £500,000 worth of grants. It is one of the biggest arms companies in the world and a partner in the Euro-fighter consortium which produces the Typhoon jets being used by Saudi forces in Yemen.
With a new minority SNP government taking office, we need to ensure that we keep up the pressure and call for Scotland to lead the way by ending support for war profiteers, and instead, support the children of Yemen.
Sorry, Martian (Bell,) but I will not be sending money in order to help alleviate the suffering of children in Yemen. If you really wish to safe the children of Yemen, you need to target your adverts at those responsible for bombing hell out of Yemen, and the people that are complicit by their support, and who make it possible to do so, by selling arms. The US Government, The British Government, and the SNP Government, in Scotland.
Not in my name, Nicola Sturgeon.