2007 - 2020

No shortage of money for death – Never enough money for life

Yesterday – to much media frenzy – the Prime Minister announced a £4 billion ‘Green Industrial Revolution’: “Powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by electric cars made in the Midlands and advanced by tech developed in Wales, my 10 point plan will drive forward a Green Industrial Revolution, creating jobs across the country.” It’s a beguiling vision from the Minister for the Union.

Setting aside the language – the industrial revolution is the primary historical legacy of our climate crisis – it is scattered with massive issues and contradictions: green ‘nuclear power’; a return to CCS; and an obsession with pipe-end solutions and fixes, it is a techno-fantasists dream. But splashing what sounds like large sums of money and mesmerising technology is always a winner.

But today – to put this all in some rather grim context – the same Prime Minister announced: “The defence of the realm is the first duty of government. We are investing an extra £16.5 billion in defence to end the era of retreat, strengthen our Armed Forces, and extend British influence as a force for good in the world”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is announcing a £16.5bn increase in defence spending over the next four years in what is being billed as the biggest programme of investment in Britain’s armed forces since the end of the Cold War.
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Imaginary Enemies versus Real World Threats
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As we face the economic catastrophe of a global pandemic and the depression that will flow from it – and our ongoing climate breakdown – the Prime Minister uses this piece of social propaganda to turn the phrase “Build Back Better” into a slogan for massive military re-armament. When society is facing a crisis the likes of which it has never seen Boris Johnson is pouring money into the military.
It’s not just an abdication of the most basic moral code, its fantastic propaganda for himself. He appears in almost every frame …

 

World Admiration

As Johnson’s PR dept reel off the Military Bingo – “Bravest of the Brave” – “Admired throughout the world” – here he is Churchillian, a War Leader, a job creator. As billions of pounds of medical contracts are dolled out to friends and acquaintances like sweeties Johnson has re-branded the language of recovery for military purposes.

If the military spending and propaganda puts No 10s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ in perspective, so too does the reality that the funding is a fraction of the UK Govt £27bn road building plan, or that Germany is spending 27 billion on its green stimulus.

This is a massive expansion of the military capacity of the British State in a time of peace and pandemic. It is a brutal act and a dereliction of duty. It sits alongside a sort of smear of greenwash in which shiny technology saves the day, a myth that capital has been clinging onto for decades rather than facing the truth. As the writer Alistair McIntosh notes:

“The Daily Telegraph lays bare the vapid libertarian psychology of “to have is to be” – reluctantly accepting the electric car as “our best hope of saving the consumer society” from “an army of puritanical, elitist, neo-luddite, collectivist eco-warriors.” The paper writes: “Innovation is our best hope of saving capitalism from hard-Left eco radicals, but this is a gamble too far.”

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If the reaction from hard-core reactionaries is to be expected, the idea that this ameliorative funding is adequate to the coming crisis is darkly comic. The Telegraph articulates well however the way the elite sees the challenge ahead, the task is “saving capitalism” and they have as their leader a man who will do so by military means whilst we celebrate increased charge-points for our Nissan Leaf. This isn’t a green revolution, it’s a khaki one.

Comments (7)

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  1. Tom Ultuous says:

    Spot on Mike. That 4 billion would pay for a mere 190 Spanish PPE middlemen.

    They love quoting “big” numbers. I remember Cameron dismissing Merkel’s incredible humanitarian gesture of taking in 3% of the Syrian population as “guilt about the holocaust” (like Britain doesn’t have any) and stating he had set aside 2 billion for the rebuilding of Syria (I doubt they ever saw it). Dave might blow up your home and your family but he’ll compensate you with the price of a carton of cigarettes for each surviving household member.

  2. Wul says:

    No doubt Boris’s chums already know which “defence” companies to have bought shares in. A safe home for your un-stashed hot money.

    When was the last time a British soldier actually “defended” UK soil and how much have we, the Great British public, “spaffed” on arms & defence since then?

  3. gavin says:

    Won’t be long till Boris is back at the Torygraf; scribbling lies for money, racism comments for fun; misogyny because he is at heart a creep.
    England will have left the EU. Scotland will have left old Blighty, so who will be the targets of Blondie? Alas, it could be anyone with a ” watermelon smile” and we KNOW he really doesn’t like us. Just as well we aren’t Jewish, or his wish to exterminate us would raise an eyebrow or two.

  4. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how this investment is used. Our defence services are in desperate need of modernisation to make them more congruent with the risks to our security in the 21st century; yet there’s been considerable institutional inertia and resistance within our military establishment, which is crippled by traditionalism, to the sorts of change that are required to safeguard our digital infrastructure, on which the economy and quality of life of a modern nation now depends more than anything else. I’d hope that the promised and much-needed investment is used to reform our defence, rather than just re-arm our existing capability to fight 20th-century wars.

  5. John McLeod says:

    Could hiring out UK armed forces to other countries be part of their post-Brexit national economic strategy?

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Now, there’s an idea… A kind of British Operation Carlota.

  6. Wul says:

    “Never Enough Money for Life” Spot on Bella! This is a sickening amount of money to be spending on the UK codpiece.

    Meanwhile in Glasgow, the Disability Alliance reports a “Supercharged” human catastrophe. Laser guns and military robots can be funded, but getting support to our most vulnerable citizens (already battered by a decade of austerity) is just too difficult to manage.

    https://gda.scot/sdm_downloads/supercharged-a-human-catastrophe-summary-briefing

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