Dstl boss appointment links college to arms trade, claims campaigner

Dstl boss appointment links college to arms trade, claims campaigner

Dstl boss appointment links college to arms trade, claims campaigner

First published in News Salisbury Journal: Photograph of the Author by

SALISBURY’S new university technical college risks being too closely linked to the arms trade, it is claimed.

The appointment of a Dstl boss as chairman of governors has been criticised by a former United Reformed Church minister and peace activist.

The Rev Hazel Barkham, from Mere, said the choice of Dr Pete Thompson, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s deputy chief executive, “sets a clear direction for the school”.

Dstl is “a government body dedicated to developing and promoting new types of weapons systems”, she told the Journal.

“And local arms companies such as Chemring and QinetiQ will be working closely with the students.

“We should be encouraging young scientists and engineers to work for a more peaceful world and not to produce weapons.”

The Rev Barkham, who is a member of Salisbury CND, added: “I am keen on engineering – I have taught engineering at Yeovil College in the past – but not weapons engineering.

“There are much more inspiring, beneficial careers the young people could go to.

“This could just perpetuate the area’s arms trade.

“They are taking children as young as 14. Do these children know what they are being lured into?

“Taxpayers who help fund that college will be funding arms trade employers. It’s very frightening.”

UTC Principal Designate Gordon Aitken said: “Our 14-18 year-old students will have direct and regular inputs from a wide range of employers, many of them world leaders in their fields.

“This input will give background context to the knowledge and skills young people need to pass exams and make their learning come to life by showing how science and engineering are applied in the real world.”

Comments (7)

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3:53pm Sun 10 Aug 14

karlmarx says...

Well, the Rev does have a point. Let's take a look at the evidence of research here in the UK

Nukes over wind turbines? UK R&D policies are warped

Weapons of mass destruction get five times as much public research cash in the UK as renewable energy.

The scale of a nation's public spending on different areas of research and development can be very revealing. For example, what sort of a nation would spend five times as much on developing weapons of mass destruction – including delivery systems – than on the R&D for renewable energy that is so central to tackling climate change? Figures just published reveal one such nation to be the UK.

Using data from freedom of information requests, campaign group Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) has pieced together recent R&D spending by the UK government on a series of major weapons systems and compared them with public R&D spending on measures to tackle major drivers of armed conflict, such as resource depletion, social and economic injustice, and climate change. This is the first time such an analysis has been carried out – for the UK or indeed anywhere else. What we have uncovered is deeply disturbing.
During the three financial years spanning 2008 to 2011, annual R&D spending on all aspects of UK nuclear weapons systems was over £320 million per year. This included: over £100m a year on warheads; over £120m a year on early development work for new submarines planned to carry the nuclear-armed Trident missiles; and over £90m a year on R&D for new nuclear reactors to propel those submarines.
Figures reported to the International Energy Agency put the UK's public R&D spending on renewable energy at only £60m a year over the same three-year period – less than 20 per cent of the nuclear weapons spend. And, unlike nuclear weapons, public spending on renewable energy R&D has fallen since 2011 due to government budget cuts.

Surprised? You have to consider that in a few decades time when energy resources are nearly depleted here in the UK. While we are freezing to death in total darkness at least we can enjoy the 'protection' of weapons of mass destruction.
Well, the Rev does have a point. Let's take a look at the evidence of research here in the UK Nukes over wind turbines? UK R&D policies are warped Weapons of mass destruction get five times as much public research cash in the UK as renewable energy. The scale of a nation's public spending on different areas of research and development can be very revealing. For example, what sort of a nation would spend five times as much on developing weapons of mass destruction – including delivery systems – than on the R&D for renewable energy that is so central to tackling climate change? Figures just published reveal one such nation to be the UK. Using data from freedom of information requests, campaign group Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) has pieced together recent R&D spending by the UK government on a series of major weapons systems and compared them with public R&D spending on measures to tackle major drivers of armed conflict, such as resource depletion, social and economic injustice, and climate change. This is the first time such an analysis has been carried out – for the UK or indeed anywhere else. What we have uncovered is deeply disturbing. During the three financial years spanning 2008 to 2011, annual R&D spending on all aspects of UK nuclear weapons systems was over £320 million per year. This included: over £100m a year on warheads; over £120m a year on early development work for new submarines planned to carry the nuclear-armed Trident missiles; and over £90m a year on R&D for new nuclear reactors to propel those submarines. Figures reported to the International Energy Agency put the UK's public R&D spending on renewable energy at only £60m a year over the same three-year period – less than 20 per cent of the nuclear weapons spend. And, unlike nuclear weapons, public spending on renewable energy R&D has fallen since 2011 due to government budget cuts. Surprised? You have to consider that in a few decades time when energy resources are nearly depleted here in the UK. While we are freezing to death in total darkness at least we can enjoy the 'protection' of weapons of mass destruction. karlmarx
  • Score: -23

4:46pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Friend of the People says...

Agree the previous post. The dominance of R & D by the Arms Industry - government backed - does raise serious questions about the way we value engineering and our children's future.
Agree the previous post. The dominance of R & D by the Arms Industry - government backed - does raise serious questions about the way we value engineering and our children's future. Friend of the People
  • Score: -14

12:14am Mon 11 Aug 14

minkleberry says...

Some people really do talk complete drivel.
Some people really do talk complete drivel. minkleberry
  • Score: 17

12:21am Mon 11 Aug 14

karlmarx says...

minkleberry wrote:
Some people really do talk complete drivel.
Can you be more specific?
If not then 'Some people really do talk complete drivel' applies to you as well.
[quote][p][bold]minkleberry[/bold] wrote: Some people really do talk complete drivel.[/p][/quote]Can you be more specific? If not then 'Some people really do talk complete drivel' applies to you as well. karlmarx
  • Score: -13

7:47am Mon 11 Aug 14

Angelwings2 says...

Oh for goodness sake, I agree with mickle berry. These are kids learning how to pass gcse's and a-levels. We aren't a third world country. I don't see 'how to make a bomb' in the curriculum. It's a shame we still live in a violent world and others countries are not as peaceful to live in as ours but sadly however perfect our ideas are of a peaceful world we still have issues out there and some people will have to continue with 'life saving ' defence systems. Otherwise eventually the groups hell bent on mass destruction will take over. Anyway that aside.... They are just kids passing exams and learning about a much bigger world of science and engineering than just blowing people up! Perspective please!!!
Oh for goodness sake, I agree with mickle berry. These are kids learning how to pass gcse's and a-levels. We aren't a third world country. I don't see 'how to make a bomb' in the curriculum. It's a shame we still live in a violent world and others countries are not as peaceful to live in as ours but sadly however perfect our ideas are of a peaceful world we still have issues out there and some people will have to continue with 'life saving ' defence systems. Otherwise eventually the groups hell bent on mass destruction will take over. Anyway that aside.... They are just kids passing exams and learning about a much bigger world of science and engineering than just blowing people up! Perspective please!!! Angelwings2
  • Score: 16

9:49am Mon 11 Aug 14

gingin says...

Engineering is vital to any country, it isn't all about bombs.
Engineering is vital to any country, it isn't all about bombs. gingin
  • Score: 17

5:15pm Tue 12 Aug 14

karlmarx says...

"Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." --Dwight D. Eisenhower

Note: there is engineering and technology outside of 'defence' and, there is no such thing as a 'life saving defence system'.
"Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." --Dwight D. Eisenhower Note: there is engineering and technology outside of 'defence' and, there is no such thing as a 'life saving defence system'. karlmarx
  • Score: -5

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