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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, August 12, 2003
    Up in arms
    Lots of fuss just now about the news of a Briton arrested in 'terror missile' sting (to quote BBC news). It's good that here's at least one arms deal which won't be going through.

    But the arms trade continues apace. In a recent CAAT briefing, research showed that the UK has exported arms and military equipment to 20 countries engaged in serious conflicts around the world since 1997: "Whilst these may be the worst example of the UK's proliferation of weaponry around the globe, unfortunately it is just the tip of the iceberg," CAAT assert.

    Their latest magazine reports on a proposal made at June's G8 meeting of world leaders, by Brazilian President 'Lula' da Silva, to tackle poverty and international security together by establishing a global hunger fund. One way of paying for this could be to tax the international arms trade.

    This is not a new idea and economists such as Strathclyde University's Anthony Clunies-Ross have published detailed proposals along these lines (download his report here). It's credible and appeals to a silly old layman like me because it's also ethical. But the G8 sidelined it and the media failed to report it.

    This will not stop CAAT, of course, who will keep the arms debate going. Next up, a week of activities around the Defence Systems & Equipment International, Europe's largest arms fair, DSEi 2003, in London's Docklands, 9-12 September.