A fun bit of news dropped yesterday. Boris Johnson announced a record spending increase for the UK’s military, highlighting a financial package that is said to be worth £16.5bn in extra money over the next four years. This is fun because the very next day (that is, today) our millionaire banker Chancellor announced a ‘renewed squeeze on public sector pay’ to help with covering the costs of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s fun because this is the year that the Tories have used coronavirus as a cover for siphoning off tens of billions of pounds of public money and funnelling it to their mates and family. It’s fun because this is the same party who spent years making fun of anyone who dared suggest funding public services properly by saying that there is no ‘magic money tree’ to just conjure up funds. Apparently, there is. I mean, it’s war. There’s always money for war. It’s fun because the country has also recently been treated to the sight of MPs bending over backwards to justify why the government cannot afford a few million quid to fund a free school meals programme, which pushed a star footballer to intensify his incredible campaign in favour of the meals scheme—which in itself led to PR-focused corporations like McDonald’s—fu**ing McDonald’s for god’s sake—announcing that they would be handing out some free food to those in need. A few quid to stop children starving? Nah. Billions for bombs? Of course! Remember that report I wrote about a while back? The one that basically outlined how the UK’s Ministry of Defence was planning for the worst possible outcomes of climate change. How they’re forecasting that no climate targets will be met, and so they’re preparing for the worst—not in a ‘Oh, we should plan for this as a contingency’, but a ‘This is the way it’s gonna be, let’s act accordingly’ kind of way. Seems relevant today again. The empire never went away. Anywho, here’s Twitter reacting to Johnson’s missile-shagging rhetoric:
Today the UK government announced £16 billion of new military spending, without breaking a sweat. That's at least double the new spending that was pledged for Johnson's vaunted climate plan yesterday. At least we know what the priorities are.— Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel) November 19, 2020
Boris Johnson pledges laser guns for UK military to solve problem of troops running out of ammo https://t.co/mzub753If0— Jon Stone (@joncstone) November 19, 2020
Perpetuating the ridiculous idea that Britain ever has been a force for good or ever could be by spending billions of pounds on the military is offensive and ahistorical.— Louis (@Louis_Allday) November 19, 2020
Am I the only one who is worried about rising military exceptionalism in the UK? In the thick of a global pandemic, where countless of jobs are on the line, and in the face of a Brexit that threatens even more, the priority of this government is… the Armed Forces.— Iain Overton (@iainoverton) November 18, 2020
As Eisenhower said "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and clothed."— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) November 19, 2020
The UK military budget for the next 4 years is equivalent to 692 years of holiday free school meal provision. We’ve got our priorities messed up.— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) November 19, 2020
What else could Global Britain possibly have meant. A financial system and trade network that sucks wealth out of the world, backed by a war machine. No change! https://t.co/hT3i3kn9pV— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) November 19, 2020
Just a few weeks ago we had no money to feed hungry kids during the school holidays. Today we have money for a new “space command”— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) November 19, 2020
Welcome to Boris Johnson’s “golden age” https://t.co/AaMMliyNCM
Instead of having a Space Command couldn't we just house the homeless and feed hungry kids.— Sir Norman. 💚 (@Normanjam67) November 19, 2020
First priority for a ‘socialist’ party?— Josh Jackson (@JoshuaYJackson) November 19, 2020
Housing people? ❌.
Providing jobs? ❌.
Good education? ❌.
Redistributing wealth? ❌.
Ensuring the British imperial state has the billions it needs to bomb kids, spy on people, and ‘defend’ against the US’s enemies? ✅. https://t.co/oBE3pWJZib
We’re getting a SPACE COMMAND when people are using food banks at record levels. We have a homelessness and housing crisis. We having rising unemployment. This government isn’t just disgusting, it’s evil. https://t.co/uXOKIzO50X— todd (@todd_j_cooper) November 18, 2020
UK Government: money for military spending, money for a space command, money to bail out bankers and big businessmen.— Eunan🏴 (@E__1888) November 19, 2020
Also UK Government: no money to tackle poverty, no money to invest in the NHS, no money to tackle climate change.
Instead of an extra £16.5 billion going to the military, we should spend that money on feeding hungry children, giving NHS staff a pay rise, and investing in a Green New Deal.— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) November 19, 2020
Let's spend on welfare, not warfare.
Can we not just clap for the military industrial complex and use that £16.5 billion to give nurses a pay rise instead?— RD Hale (@RDHale_) November 19, 2020
Cut to six weeks from now: "We regret to inform you that £397m for space command has been used to light cigars for Tory donors at an exclusive party in Buckinghamshire." https://t.co/dHBYKoY3SM— Jim Rossignol (@jimrossignol) November 19, 2020
Header Image Source: Getty Images