Letters - March 6, 2019
Army scandal shows hypocrisy of rulers
Although the military establishment promotes the myth that it recruits from a wide demographic, the reality is that its officers come predominantly from one social class and the bulk of its foot solders from working-class families.
On the evidence of its own internal documents, the army puts young disadvantaged people at the greatest risk.
Britain has been engaged in a series of resource wars in terrain that can be very challenging, even to the most experienced. Some operations are in places where the people are hostile to foreign invaders. The fallout from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts show that even in the limited terms in which the top brass and the politicians define the objectives of Britain’s engagement, our military interventions in these places is counter-productive.
The human cost of war is unimaginable for the people who live in Iraq and Afghanistan but imperial war is indiscriminate in its lust for blood. One dimension of our opposition to Britain’s wars is the obligation to seek justice for everyone caught up in them.
The injured and traumatised survivors deserve all the support that the state that sent them can provide.
It is a scandal that spotlights the hypocrisy of our ruling class, that while it was the state that put these soldiers in harm’s way it is privatised health service and private charity on which they must rely.
For their sakes and for ours there must be no more wars for oil and profit.
Leaving EU for the USA is a mistake
The referendum of 2016 seems a long time ago now, but may I remind readers of some of the things that were said (or not said) at the time?
There was no talk then of forking out £33m to settle a legal case with Eurostar or ferry companies with no ferries. No mention was made of the need to spend billions in order to prepare for the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit.
There was so much to gain, we were told, and top of the list was a big, shiny new trade deal with the good old USA.
Last week we got a warning of what this would be like.
First, Donald Trump’s visit to Hanoi demonstrated his willingness to walk away from talks which are not going the way he wants. Then the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, stated that his “negotiating objectives” would start with “comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods in the UK”.
In other words, the US wants the right to fill our supermarkets with their chlorine-soaked chicken and other dubious goods which they can sell nowhere else.
Lighthizer is also setting his sights on the NHS and its power, as a bulk purchaser, to set prices lower than those wanted by US ‘Big Pharma’.
The US demand for “procedural fairness” is a blatant attempt to force the NHS to pay more for medicines.
Underlying this, of course, is the scarcely concealed desire of the US ‘health industry’ to take over and privatise the NHS.
There is also the insistence by the US that, with regard to services, Britain must take down all existing barriers to American exporters while the USA continues to use barriers to keep out UK importers. One analyst has described this as a “laughably one-sided demand”. It is clear that the USA does not see the UK as a trusted ally, more like a lamb to the slaughter.
The world is less stable and more dangerous than it was three years ago. Leaving Europe would always have been a mistake but leaving it now for the tender mercies of Donald Trump is insane.
Wasting our money on so many things
When are we going to get rid of the House of Lords and the Royal Family. We are wasting a lot of money.
Also the HS2 which they say will cost £52bn. Also the £14bn given as Foreign Aid.
Transgender and women’s sport
I am a huge advocate of freedom for all and dearly wish for an end to suppression for all members of any kind of minority group.
But there are grey areas that have recently cropped up, not least in terms of transgender women competing in women’s sport. This has led to competitors with male bodies - in the biological sense - competing against competitors with female bodies - again in the biological sense. I will not pass judgement either way on this state of affairs, I merely make the observation.