At Greenbelt this year we’re giving out postcards with the following questions:
1. How many conscientious objectors were there in WWI?
2. How much is spent in the UK on
militarising school education?
3. How many nuclear weapons are there in the world?
4. Who said, “The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”?
5. Which area is endorsed more by the UK government: health or “defence”?
If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now…
The answers? Some are simpler than others.
1. There were around 20,000 conscientious objectors in the UK during WWI. In New Zealand there were 2,600 and in the USA there were 5,500. Some COs died in prison. (1) Figures for other countries are harder to find, but there was a widespread movement of resisting war across Europe and thousands of women took part in relief work.
2. It’s hard to put an exact figure on it. But here are some things which contribute to it:
- £10.85million expanding Combined Cadet Forces in state schools (2)
- £3.3million on “alternative provision with a military ethos” delivered by military people, for children permanently excluded from school. (2)
- £250million spent by the MoD on “youth engagement” – ie recruitment. Britain is the only country in the EU to recruit children into the military. (2)
- £1.9million on Troops to Teachers – retraining ex-military as teachers. This hasn’t worked out quite as well as planned, despite Gove saying that, “Every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos.” (3)
3. Britain alone has around 200 nuclear warheads, housed in its four Trident submarines in Scotland. (4) and (5) The nine states which have nuclear weapons clock up around 17,000 warheads – enough to obliterate the Earth a few times over and many of which are reay to be deployed at the flick of a switch.(5) and (6)
4. United Nations Secretary-General, BAN Ki-moon, speaking in 2012 at the opening of the UN conference in Mexico. (7) He went on to talk about how we need to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
5. Given how much the NHS is being carved up and sold to the highest bidder, and considering the support the military gets in schools, it’s hardly difficult to see whether health or war, sorry defence, are supported more by “our” government. The arms trade is subsidised by £700million per year and our new Foreign Secretary is the old Defence Secretary, so clearly there are loads of transferable skills between snuggling up with the military and talking with our neighbours.
So, how many did you get right? Free copy of Outside Holiness – The spirituality of Resistance to the first person to tell us that they scored 100%.