His most recent publications include Trident and Employment : The UK’s Industrial and Technological Network for Nuclear Weapons(Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 2007); Making Arms, Wasting Skills : Alternatives to Militarism and Arms Production(Campaign Against the Arms Trade, 2008) and Local Sufficiency and Environmental Recovery (Local Economy Journal, Vol 24, No 6, November 2009, pp 439-447).
He lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Steve continues his work on arms conversion and is finishing his research on the West Yorkshire economy for the LessNet project.
In an article ominously named The Age of Permanent War, he sees the defence spending review as representing a total victory for the military-industrial complex and its campaign of fear – the perverse outcome of democracies being captured and corrupted by powerful corporate interests:
“In truly Orwellian fashion, they have perfected the manipulation of fear. It is axiomatic that we live in a dangerous world and that only permanent war preparation can protect us. The red menace can be replaced by rogue states, and rogue states by terrorist attacks, and terrorist attacks by… Well, who knows? Cyber warfare seems to be the new threat on the block. All this to ensure that Western corporations can fly the stars-and-stripes over foreign oil fields.”
He lists the measures taken:
- raising the terror alert to “severe”
- giving “secret” briefings that air force cuts would leave the country totally vulnerable
- the lobbying by the great and the good on why Britain needs a blue-water navy to maintain its status as a world power and
- the US demand that Britain continues to play its full role within Nato
The military-industrial complex continues to wield power over the political process
He concludes: “this episode demonstrates the continued power that the military-industrial complex wields over the political process. No other set of institutions has had such an enormous influence over the priorities set for public spending in the post-war era. . . ”
As Steven points out in his report, Making Arms, Wasting Skills, the country has lost investment on a scale that is nothing short of disastrous. Rather than build a civil industrial base that could, for example, have developed a range of technologies to make us self-sufficient in renewable energy and construct a modern and fully integrated public transport system, successive governments spent over £2 billion a year on military R&D and £8-10bn a year on military hardware.
So now, partly to offset the lack of savings in military spending, a whole range of public services, including welfare support for the most vulnerable in society, faces even deeper cuts.
What masquerades as defence offers no real security
We need to be very clear. These are terribly dangerous times that we are entering and the main cause is Western militarism. Britain’s role is as a small cog in an aggressive alliance dominated by the greatest imperial power in history.
Already the war drums are beating to justify US-Israeli bombing raids against Iran over its possible development of nuclear weapons, conveniently ignoring Israel’s existing stockpile of at least 100 nuclear warheads.
The big arms corporations including Lockheed Martin and BAE, cheered on by Obama and Cameron, are also selling even more fighter aircraft and missiles to authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, accelerating arms races in areas of regional tension.
As in the 1930s, global depression could intensify resource wars between competing imperial powers led, this time, by the US and China, determined to extend their influence and control over diminishing supplies of oil and gas.
Our legacy for future generations?
Choose the politics of militarism and fear?
Or an arms conversion policy that reallocates military spending to civil investment and revitalises the civil industrial base by using skilled engineers, technicians and scientists for peaceful purposes and economic and environmental security?
Schofield urges us to break out of the Orwellian politics of fear and provide a confident and progressive alternative to the coalition’s destructive policies.
Read his article here.