Jude Collins

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The men of violence

I believe in violence to achieve political ends. I should add, before some troll grabs that first sentence and uses it as a club to thump me: so do you. Why do I say that, Virginia? Bend an ear.

I pay my taxes, as I’m sure do you, to Her Majesty’s Exchequer. That money is distributed in various ways to meet various public needs. It also is sent to what is laughingly called the Ministry of Defence. Some £40 billion each year, so that guns and tanks and bombs and fighter planes and warships can be purchased and so that young men (and women) can be carefully taught how to kill their fellow humans, if H M government says it’s a good idea. There’s also the little matter of the replacing the Trident nuclear programme, which is reckoned will cost around £38 billion on its own. That’s for nuclear weapons which are designed to wipe out hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Think the Omagh bomb and multiply it by about a zillion. We help with all that.

But of course it’s not only Britain (the third biggest defence-spending state in the world) that’s at it. Practically every country has an army. Even the south of Ireland has one. The line is, as their name suggests, that they’re for defence. So what part of defending the sceptred isle was that Royal Marine engaged in,  when he pumped a bullet into the chest of a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan recently? Was Iraq planning to invade Britain when Blair, in the face of opposition from millions of his own people, lied and then sent in British troops to back up the Yanks?  For ‘Defence’  read ‘Attack’, or if that’s too much, make it War. The Ministry of War. At least that’s honest.

To quote my old class-mate Eamonn McCann, I’m a pacifist by instinct if not principle. But then to quote George Bernard Shaw, you know a man’s principles not by what he says but by what he does.  I pay my taxes. So do you. We all believe in political violence. 


  1. Whassabigidea? Making rational, logically sound arguments to defend political violence? Tricky, tricky, Mr. IRA justifier. Everyone knows that people wearing uniforms who kill others are good and people wearing balaclavas who kill others are baaad. Nice try though.

    1. Maybe we could say
      'people who deliberately kill, or risk the lives of noncombatants, should be held to account, uniform or not'?
      As for the notion that we all believe in olitical violence because we pay our taxes, well that is clearly nonsense, as Jude must know.
      Should we stop paying out taxes? Jude first, then I'll be right behind him.

    2. Nimble-witted as ever, gio...
      I have not suggested a remedy to this state of affairs, and to judge the rightness or wrongness of said state of affairs on the basis of my (or your) reaction to it is clearly illogical/a red herring. I now regret using the word 'believe in political violence'. I should have said 'support' - that's what we ALL literally do. Without our tax support, it couldn't happen. Or it would be a lot more difficult at least.

    3. Jude
      Change 'believe in' to 'support' and I am happy to agree with you.
      But what should we do. In the same vein as your blog about Russel Brand's views, it is easier to question the current state of affairs than to offer solutions.
      Trident is a useless obscenity. Armed adventurism abroad is too often the first option when it should be the last.
      I don't think there is huge support for these policies, but people do not vote on the basis of a single issue generally(we do here of course) so there is no obvious way forward.