UK is biggest arms dealer • 21 June 2008 • The SnowBlog
UK is biggest arms dealer
'Arms dealer' is one of those occupations most of us don't like the sound of. We can't imagine being best friends with an arms dealer, or being proud that daddy was one or delighted that junior wants to be one. But selling arms to the world is one of Britain's biggest industries. It doesn't get discussed on the evening news in the same way we might hear about the export of British music or fashion, but arms dealing is one of the main things Britain offers the world. And I'm not even sure we're that good at it.
When I hear of another Chinook crashing or how Nimrods haven't been safe to fly for years I wonder whether that's better or worse than selling weapons that work. Anyway, since our last PM shut down an investigation into the gargantuan bribes our weapons companies will offer clients, we've been able to go ahead and ship another massive consignment of armaments to one of the most repressive and undemocratic regimes on the planet: Saudi Arabia. And never forget, Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi, as were all but one of the 911 hijackers. I don't say that because I think we should tar all Saudis with the same brush, it's just that when you look at how the actions of a few Arabs seem to have caused the world to look upon all Arabs with hostility and suspicion, it's peculiar that it's Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians and even the non-Arabs of Iran that suffer the PR fallout; Saudi continues to be a valued customer for our 'defence' industry. And the exciting news is that currently we're the biggest arms dealer in the world. We might be falling behind with our Green leadership, but at least we're busy selling fighter planes to an unelected monarchy of religious fundamentalists who don't believe in democracy, women's rights or free speech.