Friday, 16 January 2009

As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela

I've just read 'As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela' by Mark Thomas. As books by comedians go, its not very funny, but it makes some very good points about the arms trade. Mark spends much of the book pretending to be an arms dealer or a press advisor in order to expose how weapons get sold to tyrants and criminals despite government promises.

It contains some amazing stories about the arms trade, how easy it is to get round the few laws that we have. He set up companies with schoolchildren, and they managed to get an assortment of torture implements. That was also shown on the t.v. a couple of years ago, it was compelling. Amongst the horrible stories of repressive regimes and brave protestors, his humour is sometimes out of place. He can't resist getting a joke in, however inappropriate. In a list of important items he will throw in a joke.

The title is a bit mysterious, you have to read most of the book to find that it relates to an advert for leg irons 'as used on the famous nelson mandela'. The cover picture of mark with a machine gun is also confusing, you would think its a machine gun that was used on Mr Mandela.

He details new labours attempts to make ethical rules, which they then break. The rearming of the Morrocans who invaded Western Sahara is described by Robin Cook as refurbishment, now theres a euphamism. In 1994 Cook in opposition was against the government selling arms to Indonesia. Once in power, he then sold arms to Indonesia.

Britain is the worlds 2nd largest arms exporter. BAE systems seems to be much valued by the government, who protect its interest ahead of any others. The Government subsidises the arms trade £13,000 a job! How much better for some of that money to go to renewable energy or public transport.

Mark pillories the line used by the arms trade that 'if they wernt selling it, somone else would'. Would we allow that as an excuse for drug dealers or burglars?

HMRC customs are the body that investigate and prosecute after illegal arms deals, as of 2006 they hadn't brought a single prosecution against the torture equipent trade, despite the media finding several examples. We spend time and effort going after people without a t.v. license but ignore the arms trade. There are only 6 people employed to tackle this! What a disgrace.


Red Green Nick said...

Its a great book, here in Bristol there are rooftop protests going on at Rayethon, who are supplying arms used in Iraq and the current Gaza conflict.

cheap viagra said...

i wanna read that book, i think the arms trade is more like a murder trade, 'cause you can kill more people selling a lot of guns than having one in your hands!!!