Freedom is Never Free

We 'boosted' our last blog Covid19 update on Facebook. This blog will look at a couple of the comments posted by the people we reached.

Our main aim with the War School documentary is to bring the issue of Militarism and the potential increase in the Militarisation of UK society into wider public debate, so we are grateful for all the responses. This comment raises two issues - 'Freedom' and 'Civvies' - both covered in great detail by many of the members of VFPUK in interviews for the film.

Jim Radford was 15 when he was part of 156,000 men landing in Normandy on D-Day - the youngest known participant of that force. Jim is one of thousands of veterans of the wars and interventions that Britain has been involved in since 1945 who believe that those actions have nothing to do with protecting Britain's freedom and everything to do with the protection of British business and 'Imperialist' interests.

The United Kingdom is not, and has not been since 1944, under any military threat from any country in the world. War School questions the British Government's use of civil institutions, public spaces, advertising, social media and education to promote a culture of Nationalistic Militarism at a time when the whole of humanity, and every species and environment on the planet, is under very real threat of extinction. To quote Veteran's For Peace - "War is not the solution to the problems of the 21st Century".

Respect for our military personnel and their families, recognition of their sacrifice and service is not in question here. But their support for, and collusion in the perpetuation of militarism is. Members of the Armed Forces are, now more than ever, part of the UK establishment's propaganda assault on the British public. Which brings us to "civvies".

In making War School we interviewed over twenty veterans of the British Armed Forces. They had mostly seen active service in conflicts across the world including WW2, Malaya, Oman, Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland. Their testimonies made it clear that training in the British Army was geared to one objective, defeating - 'killing' - the 'enemy', whoever that may be. A key part of that training was to de-humanise anyone who was not part of 'the gang'. This included 'civvies' -

"Civilians are not equal, they are bottom of the pile because they haven't served"- British Veteran, Gloucestershire Regiment

"We used to call civilians 'Civvy C**ts', they're the lowest of the low, you couldn't get lower than that." - British Veteran, Parachute Regiment and SAS

"You don't even call them people anymore, it's like a race of people - 'Civvies' - being a 'civvy' would be a complete failure", British Veteran, The Rifles.

War School is a film about the increasing militarisation of UK Society and specifically the targeting of advertising on children and young people by government and the military establishment. The film uses the testimonies of soldiers to show how and why this needs to be looked at. Britain is the 5th highest military spender in the world with a budget of £37bn - they are very proud of this. The budget was increased in 2016, there is no mention of humanitarian aid or activities in the accompanying report -

Over the next decade MOD will spend over £178 billion on equipment and equipment support, £12 billion more than in plans prior to the 2015 SDSR. Our investments include:

  • Maintain the plan to buy 138 F35s over the life of the programme. *An extra £2bn on our Special Forces’ equipment.

  • 9 Boeing P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

  • Advanced High Altitude surveillance aircraft.

  • More than 20 Protector armed remotely piloted aircraft

  • Type 26 Global Combat Ships.

  • We will also launch a concept study and then design and build a new class of lighter, flexible general purpose frigates

  • 2 new Offshore Patrol Vessels.

  • 3 new logistic ships.

The Armed Forces will also become more, efficient and effective which means we will:

  • Establish 2 additional Typhoon squadrons and an additional F35 squadron.

  • Have a full Army division (made up of three brigades) optimised for high-intensity combat operations

  • Create 2 new Strike Brigades *Double (from 1 to 2) the number of Brigades ready to deploy on operations.

  • Reducing the number of civilians in the MOD by almost 30% over the next five years.

The British Military stablishment is part of the British political establishment. The serving members of the Armed Forces are their employees, they are no more responsible for the actions and decisions of their employers than doctors, nurses and hospital workers are for the Britain's 'world-beating' record of excess deaths from the Covid-19 Pandemic. But those excess deaths, and the government's attempts to avoid responsibility for them, must be questioned. The British Military establishment is committed to continuing its role as a major participant in global security - currently determined by the policies of the U.S.A. which is responsible for 20 million excess deaths worldwide as a result of its wars since 1945. In order to maintain that role the military must persuade the voting 'civvies' of the UK to support it. War School believes that the use of 'fun days', street parties and bouncy castles for kids are being used as part of the PR campaign to persuade an often reluctant British public to support policies that, contrary to the propaganda, do not protect them and inflict terrible physical and mental wounds on many of their own troops, who we are then asked to support when they are cast aside by the establisment.

The author of this blog was in the CCF in 1969/70. He had some of the best times of his teens with the RAF - flying in single engine planes, soaring silently in gliders and shooting .303 rifles for badges...

But then Vietnam came to our televisions and we protested, for the sake of the U.S. conscripts as much as the tragedy of the Vietnamese.

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