2 Jun 2011

Sponsored bike ride to challenge Fairford Air Tattoo

PlaneThe possibility of Nailsworth Green, Kevin Lister, going to jail was noted here on this blog and his video about it is here. Indeed yesterday he relased a new video here which is also worth a look. Well there is no news on that yet - but I hear the sponsored bike ride to Fairford plans are going well. The Facebook site with details can be found here.

The ride is about raising money for charity but just by being there it is also challenging the enormous and hugely powerful military industrial complex. As one of the news items on it says: "The solution to climate change is fundamentally an issue about challenging the power structures in our global society – and those power structures stem from the military industry complex. Without tackling the military industrial complex and connecting it directly with the failure of climate change agreements, there will never be the progress that we desperately need."

The Green Party has long called for the cancellation of the Tattoo - click read more below to see letter to press in past. The Air Tattoo this year have started distributing their leaflets around local shops and businesses – they even have the A-10 and their intent is to be 'the loudest celebration on earth'. The A-10 is the only aircraft that carries depleted uranium bullets - capable of piercing armour - just sent to Libya.  As this blog has noted the depleted uranium leaves a deadly cloud of radioactive micro-particles - a powder which will cause damage to both environment and health for years. The uranium powder produced during impact and combustion of depleted uranium munitions can potentially contaminate wide areas around the impact sites leading to possible inhalation by human beings.  This is an abomination.

A Google search on the Air Tattoo is already showing a huge number of anti Air Tattoo web pages on the first and second search pages. I came across this excellent analysis of the trivial amount the Fairford Tattoo contribute to charity, see http://directactionstation.com/?p=3476.

The Tattoo, I understand, used to be advertised as raising money for charity but when you look at the amounts raised, it is, in my view, shocking indeed that they are so little. According to that analysis most goes to fund Air Cadets at university with only £14,000 going to disabled or injured service men. However the Charity Commission, which is part of the Civil Service run out of the government’s Cabinet Office has decided that promotion of armed forces recruitment is a charitable act!

Meanwhile I understand Kevin has not received answers to the issues raised in his letter to Neil Carmichael - see here.

8th July 2008

Elinor Croxall, Coordinator of Stroud District Green party has called for an end to the Fairford Tattoo. (This seemed to be answered by the cancellation of both Saturday and Sunday of the Air Show apparently due to the weather!).
The world's largest military Air Show, the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford (RIAT) is sponsored by Britain's biggest arms company, BAE Systems. Apart from showcasing weapons in all their 'glory' it is ultimately about selling and making them more acceptable.

There is indeed a thrill to see aircraft fly at such high speeds, but we should think hard when we see these killing machines while so many still suffer their effects. Some of the planes, have been used to help drop thousands of tons of cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells killing many Iraqis. Is this really family entertainment while people continue to suffer and die from the illegal, unnecessary and immoral war in Iraq?

On top of that the Fairford Air Tattoo will also result in many thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions from the planes, plus a significant contribution from all the unnecessary road traffic that an event of this size generates. This single event will cancel out the valiant attempts that many tens of thousands of people have made across the county to reduce their emissions.

We must start to tackle the root causes of conflict. We fund one dictator after the other to keep our 'defence' industries solvent and it is our CO2 emissions that are and will increasingly hit millions of the worlds poorest leading to increased tensions and conflict. Already some have dubbed Sudan as the first climate change conflict.

There are many events promoting our rooted relationship with the earth and each other, not to something inherently destructive. These are a truly positive entertainment and productive way forward. Let this Fairford be the last.

Yours, Elinor Croxall, Coordinator of Stroud District Green party


Anonymous said...

One or two Greens have called for us to control the airspace in Libya - a bit hard without places like Fairford. If we'd had the air force we ended the conflict with at the start, it might have never happened or been much shorter.

Fairford played its part in beating the Nazis in world war two, most importantly on D-Day. Something 'positive' to remember at least.

Anonymous said...

The Air Tattoo is a different game completely - the Tattoo is about promoting and showcasing weapons - we need instead to be celebrating the alternatives that tackle the root causes of war.