United Kingdom

Britain Faces Legal Challenge to Army's Discriminatory Treatment of Minors

Child Soldiers International are taking the Ministry of Defence to judicial review over its discriminatory terms of service for those who enlist into the army as minors. These terms currently require minors to serve until they are 22, which could be 6 years for a soldier who enlisted at 16 compared to the four years' service required of those who enlist as adults.

Sources: The Independent; Reuters

Faslane Peace Camp: Trident Nuclear Weapons Base Blockaded in Post Referendum Protest

Trident Ploughshares Press Release
 
22 September 2014
 
This morning, four days after the historic referendum Trident Ploughshares [1] and Faslane Peace Camp [2] have partially blocked the north gate to Faslane Naval Base, homeport of the UK Trident nuclear weapons system, sending a strong message that the overwhelming desire of Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons must be honoured.

Seven-mile scarf unfurled between nukes factories as thousands oppose Trident

A seven-mile pink scarf knitted by over 5,000 people from around Britain and beyond has been unfurled between the Atomic Weapons Establishments (AWE) at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. The knitters are calling on Parliament not to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system when the decision comes up in 2016.

WRI sign letter on British 'Armed Forces Day'

Letter to The Times (see all signatories below)

On this day 100 years ago, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in an action that led to the First World War. Unchecked militarism in Europe was also a major factor. 

Today is also Armed Forces Day, one of the clearest indications of the re-militarisation of British society. Established in 2009 to increase public support for the forces, there are over 200 public events, many billed as 'family fun days'. This week also saw Uniform to Work Day promoting the reserve forces and 'Camo Day' in schools. 

Behind this PR offensive is a raft of policy that is embedding 'public support' for the military within our civilian institutions - from the promotion of 'military ethos' in schools, to the Armed Forces Community Covenant and Corporate Covenant that aim to enlist every local authority and major business to support the armed forces and aid recruitment. 

Over 453 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan; 34 were just 18 or 19 years old. Thousands more have to cope with long-term physical and mental problems. With so many military casualties - not to mention uncounted numbers of civilians deaths - and new security threats that waging war has created, surely it is time to reflect on the longer-term impact of our military culture and to ask what steps we might take to prevent war itself. 

Video: Reporting Trident War Crimes to Thames Valley Police by Action AWE in the UK

Film made on 8 February 2014 during the ‘Reporting a Crime’ event at Reading Police Station. Part of the Action AWE campaign.

Disrupting the DSEi Arms Fair

Anne-Marie O'Reilly

A key event for the international arms trade took place in London from 9-13 Sept: the DSEi arms fair which hosted 1500 arms companies and 30,000 arms buyers and sellers.

The UK government’s invite list was a roll call of authoritarian regimes and human rights abusers. Unarmed protesters have been killed this year on the streets of Bahrain, Turkey, and Brazil. Yet not only were the companies which supplied the teargas used in this repression at DSEi, each of their militaries was there too - at the invitation of the UK government's arms sales unit.

A Call for Action at AWE Burghfield 26th August to 7th September 2013

Burghfield Disarmament Camp on Day One. Photo: Zoe BroughtonBurghfield Disarmament Camp on Day One. Photo: Zoe Broughton

By Angie Zelter

In 2016 the UK government will finalise the decision to build a new nuclear weapons system to replace the present Trident system (http://actionawe.org/the-trident-system/). The nuclear submarines that carry Trident are getting old, so the government has pledged to finalise contracts to replace them in 2016 in order to build a new generation of nuclear weapons at an estimated cost of £76–100 billion. This is more than the current planned public spending cuts of £81 billion. If the contracts go ahead, the warheads would be designed and manufactured at AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Aldermaston and Burghfield, in Berkshire, about 50 miles west of London ( http://actionawe.org/awe-burghfield-maps-gates/ ).

The military's influence in UK education

Back to the Contents of the book

Emma Sangster

The armed forces are increasingly being provided with access to young people within the UK education system – mainly at secondary and further education level but also within universities and even primary schools. In addition to armed forces presentations and other visits to schools and colleges which have been going on for many years, there is a new push to make 'military ethos and skills' a part of school life.

'Catch them young before the army loses them'[1]

Back to the Contents of the book

David Gee

Ask a teacher what her purpose is and how she goes about it, and you can expect a simple answer: she supports young people to grow by teaching them things. We know why we need bakers, too; they feed people by baking us bread. So what are soldiers[2] for?

Syndicate content