So the Law Lords have overturned the victory CAAT and the Corner House won in April, declaring that the SFO was in line with the law when it closed a corruption inquiry after pressure from the government. They said this because it was decided amongst themselves that the law cannot be bent, unless ‘national security’ is perceived to be at stake.
Whilst it is clear that in theory we have lost, I urge you friends, campaigners and sympathisers not to be disheartened. We at the CAAT office don’t feel too bad, because we know that not everyone agrees with the Lords’ decision; and this is clearly exemplified by the plentiful coverage and debate there has been in the media throughout this week. If Wednesday had been just another day, another average judgement then that would not have been the case.
So we thank all of you, our supporters, for the help that we’ve been given and steer your eyes towards the disproportionately large silver lining of this small, just-passing-over cloud.
Below you will find Annabelle’s top three reasons to be cheerful.
Everyone’s still cheesed off with BAE! This recent debacle has done nothing to boost BAE’s popularity, in fact it has done the exact opposite. Winning the appeal doesn’t mean that selling arms is now okay, nor does it mean that it is right that a multi-national corporation holds sway over our government. Virtually everyone who was anti-arms, anti-BAE yesterday still is today – even more so! And amongst the general populace there is increasing awareness of the problems of justice, democracy and human rights right here on our fair shores. Which leads me nicely to my next point…
Rome wasn’t built in a day! I wish it had been, because then that would mean if we all start today, by tomorrow the arms trade and every weapon in existence will have disappeared. More realistically, it’s vital to remember that the anti-arms lobby has come along in leaps and bounds this last year, and achieving that first legal victory against the government was something CAAT could only have dreamt of a year ago. The gates have been opened, more people than ever are cognizant that all is not well with weapons sales, and the government and the arms companies today realise that the public won’t be fooled by clumsy rhetoric. Whilst change towards the elimination of arms is often excruciatingly slow, that doesn’t mean our work won’t one day be complete.
BAE are still under investigation! Perhaps most important of all, the SFO are continuing their probe into BAE’s activities in Tanzania, South Africa, Romania and the Czech Republic. Plus, the USA is adamant their BAE-Saudi investigation will remain open, and have asked the Home Office to cooperate. In other words, they may have won the battle but they most certainly haven’t won the war…
‘Til next time amigos.