I joined Jubilee Scotland at the end of October, an exciting time to do so. Following my induction day, the very first item on my agenda was to attend an event led by our partners from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in collaboration with Jubilee Scotland and facilitated by our friends at the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre.
This event marked a recognition of two decades of tireless campaigning in Scotland – by some seriously committed and inspiring individuals – against the insidious industry of war and death, and against associated unjust national debts racked up through profoundly irresponsible lending to brutal dictators around the world. It also marked the launch of a campaign petitioning the Scottish Parliament to stop the reprehensible investing of its pension fund in said industry.
But this event did more than that. While I knew I was in good company from the outset, the discerning discussions of where public money currently subsidising the arms trade could be put to better use, the clarity and rationality of the arguments put forward, left all those in attendance energised, offering a blueprint for a more just society and a less violent world. They also left those of us less familiar with some of the statistics astonished by the fallacious nature of recurring arguments both in defence of the UK’s arms manufacturers and military spend (the 5th highest in the world) and against public investment in renewable energy sources.
The required investment in renewables is but a fraction of some of the items on the UK’s military shopping list, and the potential of the sector in terms of job creation is enormous. Conversely, the relatively very small number of jobs provided by the arms industry are heavily subsidised by public money, which could be spent retraining those workers for the industries of the future (something which many say they want) instead of boosting the profits of arms manufacturers and fueling conflicts around the world. You can read more on CAAT’s website.
After rousing talks from MSPs Alison Johnstone and John Finnie along with representatives from the organising campaign groups, question and answer sessions were followed by workshops including one led by our Campaigns Director, Ashley Erdman, on Debt and the Arms Trade. People engaged with the issues surrounding unjust debt and discussed the constructive recent developments both at the UN and here in Scotland regards to resolving sovereign debt crises.
And of course, there was the soup and sandwiches! All in all, a great success and a highly encouraging start to my time with Jubilee Scotland!