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Armed and dangerous and paid from your taxes!

Yesterday I was at a conference run by CAAT, Campaign Against the Arms Trade.  It was an interactive conference and we had the chance to practise public speaking or to answer difficult questions in conversations.  We found out more about CAAT's current UKTI: Armed and Dangerous campaign aimed at closing down the government department that promotes the export of armaments.  UKTI or UK Trade & Investment  helps companies in this country to export but much of its activity helps arms companies.

In the current economic climate it is surely even more difficult to justify public money being used to support a deadly trade.  The amount of support given to the arms industry by UKTI is grossly disproportionate, given that armaments are a small proportion of the UK's exports.  Companies in other sectors are missing out.  Why should companies that export energy-efficient technology or supplies for health care and other peaceful purposes not get strong support from the government?

When the government puts money into armaments there is always the claim that jobs will be safeguarded or created.  Part of the conference yesterday was on demolishing this jobs argument.  Yes, there are jobs.  How many though?  If the same amount of public money was put into other types of production or services, more jobs would be protected.

Years ago I heard about the Lucas Aerospace workers' initiative to research the peaceful technology that the company could move into as an alternative to making weaponry.  I am going to find out more about it through the internet soon – watch this space.

Thanks for the comment, Sebby1.  I cannot agree with what you write and to take just one point I do not believe that an elected government should be allowed to do whatever it likes in between elections with no petitions, interviews of political leaders, letters to MPs, letters to the editor, peaceful demonstrations, political blogging or any other form of pressure or debate.  Democracy is about much more than just having a vote every so often.  

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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