Mr Cameron's brilliant things

David Cameron was in Preston yesterday, praising the arms company BAE Systems for making “brilliant things”. Impeccably booted and suited (take note all wannabe PMs), Mr Cameron said:

“I can see the planes being built right behind me here. We’ve got more work to do in Saudi Arabia. The Germans have done a lot of work as well. It is a collaborative project. We use the collective skills but also the collaborative muscles of all the governments to try and help make sure we can sell them around the world.”

Er, what this “work” in Saudi Arabia might be, he didn’t make clear. Work to sell even more Eurofighter Typhoon war planes and Paveway IV 500lb bombs for the Royal Saudi Air Force, perhaps.

What it probably doesn’t mean is work to convince Saudi officials that their indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen is disastrous. It probably doesn’t mean an emergency delegation of British officials arriving in Riyadh next week carrying UN or Amnesty reports detailing the thousands of Yemeni civilians already killed and injured in the Saudi-led coalition’s year-long bombing of one of the world’s poorest countries.

Along with a host of other major-league arms manufacturers, the UK has sold billions of pounds’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia despite the clear and obvious risk that these were going to be used by a rampaging and reckless Saudi military in next-door Yemen. (Maybe this should stop).

All told, the prime minister’s cheerleading for BAE’s reckless arms sales wasn’t one of his more brilliant moments. 

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