BY KEN GORMAN
I emailed Marianne Birkby to congratulate her on her letter in the Daily Mail on
1st. May. She complained about BAE sponsoring Furness Academy in Barrow.
I mentioned that about 20 years ago, as a governor of Hodgson High School in
Poulton-le-Fylde, I was aware of the £100,000 being given by BAE to the school, and other amounts in some successive years. Professor Gardner, with a high position in BAE Warton, was accordingly co-opted as a governor. He and I could discuss such issues in a civilised manner. He attended the same Catholic church as my wife.
I was aware that BAE were sponsoring a number of high schools throughout the UK. The professed rationale was to encourage pupils to take up apprenticeships at BAE. (If a tobacco company sponsored a school, I think there would be outrage from all quarters, but weapons to kill people, rather than cigs., well that’s OK.)
I noticed that St. Aidan’s C. of E. High School in Over Wyre, with several vicars as
governors, was also going to receive BAE sponsorship. I complained to the Reverend head teacher, in relation to BAE’s supplying Hawk aircraft to (then Fascist) Indonesia in order to suppress and oppress the people of East Timor. He simply responded that they were just glad to receive the money. My letter to the Daily Mail on this subject was published on 25/11/1994. I referred to pupils presumably being taught ‘the parable of putting the boot in’. About a year later, by contrast, the Daily Mail made a huge news item about a pupils’ sex scandal at St. Aidan’s.
Marianne refers to the nuclear submarines being built at Barrow. These subs. are
being built at taxpayers’ expense, and are a dead loss financially, as they cannot
be sold. They keep people in employment, and if production does cease, the same
people will not be employed to build ships, as we know. Taxpayers will have to pay them redundancy payments and unemployment benefits. If they were kept on to build ships, of whatever type, even if these were then scuttled, this would be more financially viable than producing nuclear submarines which cost an arm and a leg to maintain after being built. The psychology of politicians is to pour vast sums into military hardware, but nothing into employing people to produce peaceful goods which could produce a profit. A very strange psychology in a capitalist economy!
Nuclear weapons submarines are useless as a deterrent. As we are in NATO, the USA has control over their use, so they are not ‘ours’. We could not use them even in retaliation without USA permission. But if we were retaliating, even assuming the submarine commander knew who to retaliate against, what would be the point when it would have needed only three bombs to have wiped out the whole UK population?
Not many people know that NATO has a first strike policy on nuclear weapons. Not even the Ex-Fylde MP Michael Jack knew this until I informed him. In the Cold War, a Soviet invasion of Europe would be unstoppable, hence the first strike policy as the only defence. If you ponder on the implications of this insanity, perhaps you might consider the existence of nuclear weapons as far more immediately dangerous than global warming, as even the U.N declared in 2006. Strange how we teach pupils about global warming, but not about nuclear weapons!
(Secretary of Blackpool & Fylde CND until meetings ceased a few years ago.)
Letter to Daily Mail by Ken Gorman 25/11/1994