A War Award

War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. 

Well, not nothing to some maybe, the business of war makes a pretty penny for those captains of industry who push and profit from war. Notwithstanding the obvious issues with the Military Industrial Complex🔥, the business of war🤑 also contributes heavily to climate breakdown.

What a waste.

Our Nominees

Faslane

Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent is held at the Clyde Naval Base, Faslane, in the form of 4 nuclear submarines, which are currently being replaced at a cost of over £200 billion and rising. Contracts for designing the new submarines have been awarded to arms companies including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock Marine. The Scottish Parliament and the majority of Scottish MPs oppose nuclear weapons and the renewal of Trident.  As well as the dangers for Scotland from radio-active leakages and from an attack on Faslane itself, moving the warheads in trucks on Scottish roads (which happens every few weeks) could cause plutonium to be released and spread by prevailing winds across the country.

Many commentators, even senior military figures, are speaking out against our nuclear weapons programme on the grounds that it gives a false sense of security and does not meet the UK’s security needs, which have very little to do with naval invasions. But hey, we still like to think of ourselves as an imperial power. 

Recently, some bottlenose whales were drawn into the Faslane site, confused, it appears, by sonar waves emitted from the nuclear submarines. Shepherding attempts to move the whales were unsuccessful, partly because the submarines kept on emitting sonar and partly because of a refusal to cancel a NATO sponsored military exercise – the ‘Joint Warrior’ exercise – which went ahead a few days later. Anyway, two whales were found washed up off the Clyde, showing signs of the bends, likely because of the sonar. 

In upgrading our nuclear weapons we are compounding problems for future generations, as there is no method yet developed for adequately decontaminating or disposing of the nuclear waste we already have. A shoo-in for our ‘A War Award’. 

BAE Systems

BAE Systems is a British multinational corporation which operates as Europe’s biggest defence contractor, and is amongst the world’s largest arms dealers. Shamefully, they are the UK’s largest manufacturer, with an astounding 98% of BAE’s total sales originating from military related products as ofin 2017. BAE originated from the aircraft industry, emerging through consolidation of various British aircraft manufacturers following World War II. Currently, however, their primary revenue comes from selling defence, security and aerospace products to some of the world’s most repressive and interventionist regimes. This includes an ‘involvement’ in nuclear weapons operation, providing ‘logistics, systems, and readiness support for the US Navy Trident and US Air Force Minuteman missiles programmes’. In particular, it is worth highlighting BAE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, its’ third largest customer. Saudi Arabia has been involved in a long-standing genocidal intervention in Yemen, with its bombing campaign recording over 100,000 deaths. BAE have supplied £15 billion worth of arms to the Saudi Government over the course of the five year conflict – with some of the 72 fighter jets it sold being used ‘to bomb Red Cross and MSF hospitals in Yemen’.

Sadly our own Scottish pension funds, including the Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF), invest in BAE (as well as other arms dealers).  Whilst they make the tiresome – and now legally irrelevant – argument that this allows them to engage with these companies and therefore influence them for the better, other investors such as the Norwegian government’s pension fund challenging this narrative, having excluded BAE from their investment portfolio ‘because they develop and/or produce central components for nuclear weapons’. A very sensible step indeed!’ BAE occupy two of Glasgow’s last shipyards located in Scotstoun and Govan. In 2015, the company greenlit a £100 million expansion of these facilities. There, they are assembling the Royal Navy’s next generation Type 26 Frigates, including HMS Glasgow currently being built at its Govan facility. Truly a worthy candidate for our ‘A War Award’. 

Prestwick Airport

Prestwick Airport is one of Scotland’s smaller airports, so why is it on our list? Well, ignoring the obvious climate harms of airline travel, Prestwick Airport is included for one simple reason: it facilitates the activities of one of the world’s greatest polluters (and killers), the US military. The US military has an estimated 800 military bases around the world, such is the all-consuming power of this global hegemon. And when you are so invested in keeping the war machine going, this comes at a considerable cost. If it were a country, the US Military would be the 55th biggest emitter of C02. Prestwick Airport functions as a stop-over point for the US military, with stoppages increasing since the Trump presidency. Eyebrows have also been raised at military personnel staying at nearby Trump Turnberry during stop-overs. Disgracefully, Prestwick has been used during so-called ‘extraordinary rendition’ exercises – otherwise known as government-sponsored kidnap without any recourse to due process. An investigation into this is still ongoing.

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