Search capabilities

Outside my place of work, the front section of an old RAF Nimrod aircraft is parked, ready to help celebrate and educate about “The Triumphs of Transport” as part of Moray College’s annual Science Festival.  You may remember that these aircraft were scrapped by the government in 2010 as part of the Strategic Defence Review.

However, their wide range of sensors mean they are excellent for search and rescue mission, such as the hunt for lost Malaysian airlines MH370.  Tragically, one part of Britain’s ‘defence’ capabilities with the potential to save lives during peacetime and ease suffering was deemed surplus to requirement, which seems rather indicative of the UK’s current spending priorities.

In 2013, Britain invested £11.3bn (or 0.7% of the overall budget) in the future stability and prosperity of struggling, war-stricken, debt-laden countries around the world, in which over 1,000,000,000 people live on less than a dollar a day.  This number, however, needs to be set in context.  For example, £126.2 billion was pumped into Health Care – at least £9bn. treating obesity & smoking-related illnesses, which are the direct result of people’s own foolish, short-sighted lifestyle choice.   £138.1 billion, meantwhile, was paid out in British pensions, irrespective of individual’s savings or private arrangements. 

Looking at these issues from a historical perspective, the British Empire (c. 1689 – 1950) was responsible for plundering many parts of world for their own national benefit, maximised through the lucrative (yet socially disastrous) tobacco & slave trades.  Politicians and generals determining boundaries in Africa and Middle East, including conflict-ridden states such as Iraq or Democratic Republic of Congo.  In fact, historian Stuart Laycock has calculated that the UK has invaded 9 out of 10 countries globally over the course of history.  Whilst many in the Britain lambast what they see as ‘their’ money disappearing overseas, clearly the UK International Development budget is only a small step towards righting ancient wrongs. 
Sadly, whether on effectively equipping the military or helping out the world’s most needy, Britain definitely does not deserve to be called “Great”.  We need to give more generously to those who have so little through no fault of their own, and stop handout more cash to those who already have more than they know what to do with.  At the same time, let’s actually use our excellent defence forces for rebuilding war-ravaged regions and finding what is lost

Development aid rights historical wrong


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