Is it worth it?

War is stupid, and people are stupid: and more than that it costs money. The UK’s involvement in the Afghanistan war alone has so far cost £37bn as a conservative estimate (not a Conservative estimate, that would be much lower). Wouldn’t it be better if there were just fewer guns, and bombs and things that can be turned into chemical weapons? Not having to go and fight all the time to stop people fighting might help fix our supposedly broken economy.

But it’s not so simple, a lot of those weapons are supplied by British companies, and that industry is supposedly worth £35bn, makes up 10% of UK manufacturing, and employs over 300,000 people. That’s a lot of guns, bombs, chemicals, jobs and—probably—taxes.

I wonder how the tax revenue, jobs, the all encompassing economic benefits stack up against the costs of all of these ‘interventions’, all the costs of flying the likes of David Cameron, Prince Andrew and other corn-fed suits around the World promoting sales? Add in all the costs of hiding what they are eventually used for from the press—is it worth it?

And then I realised that that was Elvis Costello’s point.

 

Can we work out the real costs, do these arms firms pay tax? It’s not like they have morals in other areas so I would suspect they pay as little as possible. Even the Daily Mail thinks they probably don’t pay their fair share.

Why do the Govt allow the sales – nay support them? How much does this cost, or this? How much of our ‘soft power’ is wasted making sure people are killed with British made goods? Would those factories and workers not be able to make something nice? Maybe James Dyson could have made his hoovers here.

I’m going to be naive just for a moment. How about a new type of unilateral disarmament? Let’s stop making and selling people things that kill people.

 

Author: Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed.

His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it’s out now.

Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It’s Not Shit.