Save the Children and the British arms industry

syria-appeal-ad-by-save-the-children-march-2013.jpgMarch 28th, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron's wife Samantha Cameron has spoken of the “harrowing stories” she heard from children who had fled Syria as refugees.She warned that childhoods were “being smashed to pieces” by the conflict after visiting families now said to be living in flimsy makeshift shelters in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. Cameron, an ambassador for Save the Children, was helping to draw attention and funds to the charity’s work, as she met mothers and children who had witnessed relatives dying in the brutal civil war.”As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today. No child should ever experience what they have,” Cameron said on Wednesday. “With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces.” 




British amrs industry.defence.secretary.liam-fox-.jpgSeptember 13th, 2011

'Recent figures suggest that last year the British defence sector generated more than £22 billion in sales last year – £9.5 billion in exports – and employed around 110,000 people...'


It was good to see Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, taking time out today to provide some welcome backing for Britain's much-maligned and deeply misunderstood defence industry.

Speaking at the DSEI arms exhibition in London's Docklands, Dr Fox hailed the "key role" that British defence companies play in helping the Government to achieve its foreign policy objectives.

Britain's continuing involvement in Nato's Libyan mission is a case in point. From the outset of the conflict it has been essential that civilian casualties from RAF bombing sorties were kept to a minimum. After all, the main purpose of our involvement in the Nato mission has been to protect Libya's civilian population, not to kill them.

For that reason the sophisticated weapons, such as the Brimstone and Paveway missiles, have been a vital asset. The British-developed Brimstone missile, in particular, has played a pivotal role in the success of the Nato mission, as it has proved highly effective at taking out targets linked to pro-Gaddafi forces, such as tanks and missiles, while avoiding unnecessary civilian casualties.

This is just one example of the (largely unsung) contribution British defence firms have made to the success of one of the Government's key foreign policy objectives, and Dr Fox is right to highlight the industry's importance to stimulating economic growth. Recent figures suggest that last year the defence sector generated more than £22 billion in sales last year – £9.5 billion in exports – and employed around 110,000 people. This represents a significant contribution to the British economy, and one that the British government should take care to protect during these challenging economic times.

The British defence industry has, on occasion, been found wanting when it comes to choosing some of the foreign countries it does business with. Selling arms to former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, for example, doesn't seem such a smart idea now.

But hopefully we can put those issues behind us now that Dr Fox has acknowledged the need for strict controls over future defence exports, which will help British companies to avoid selling arms to repressive regimes.

The bottom line is that a strong British defence sector is vital for a strong British economy.

Photo: Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, supports the British arms industry. 


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