27/03/2011 - Money for war but not for essential services

SOLIDARITY General Secretary Pat Harrington has spoken out against war and in favour of peace. 
In doing so he has echoed past calls by his fellow National Executive member Simone Clarke.  Early last year she called into question the priorities of Britain’s then Labour government during the conflicts in Iraqi and Afghanistan:

“I find it really ironic that the government can always find money for war – but not for peace. It has its priorities wrong.  Finding money for missiles, bombs and bullets seems to be no problem.  But finding money for schools, hospitals and jobs is a no-no.”

At the time, Simone called upon Gordon Brown to invest in peace – and not war - saying:

“I’m calling on the government to invest in jobs for the local community.  We need schools and hospitals.  It desperately needs to invest in community arts – dance, music, film and literature.  It also specifically needs to invest in arts programmes for local youths.”

Mr. Harrington has continued this theme by wondering how the Con-Dem government can spend hundreds of thousands of pounds bombing Libya whilst saying that there’s no money to support Public Services. 
He pointed to a Kelvin MacKenzie article (in the Sun of 24/03/2011) which detailed the costs involved: 

“Each time a Storm Shadow cruise missile is fired it costs us £800,000.  A Tomahawk missile?  That’ll be £900,000 each – and a dozen have been shot off so far.  A Paveway precision-guided bomb fired a Tornado costs £70,000, with each plane carrying six – that’s £420,000.  It costs £40,000 an hour to keep a Tornado in the air.  The submarines which carry the Tomahawks cost £100,000 a day to keep at sea.  Two Type 22 frigates cost £40,000 a day, the same as a Type 23.  An AWAC spy plane is £30,000 an hour and a VC10 refuelling tanker £30,000 an hour.

Returning the question of war and peace, Mr. Harrington said:

“On a personal level, I think that there’s much more to the situation in Libya than meets the eye.  These military attacks are certainly not being done in the name of the British people.  Neither are they in the interests of the British – or Libyan – people.  It’s my hunch that the only ones who’ll eventually gain anything from the situation will be the multi-nationals and banks."

"I would also query how successive governments can always afford to wage war but can’t find the money to support Britain’s infrastructure."

"The people who make up the very backbone of our country – public servants like health and education workers – are being shafted.  There’s no money for hospitals, schools, libraries and so on.  Yet Cameron and Clegg can find millions of pounds to wage war in North Africa.  It’s absolute hypocrisy – the sooner these two take a long walk off of a short plank, the better!”


Mr Harrington also called on organisations to endorse a plea from Russian Medics working in Libya for Russia to take action: "Russia is our best hope to end this conflict", Mr Harrington said.