Thursday, July 10, 2014

All Aboard!

I'm sure you've heard of the vast aircraft carrier that was launched by the Queen the other week.

As was stressed in the media, this massive ship is taller than the Niagara Falls, covers an area larger than that occupied by the Houses of Parliament, and, together with her sister ship which is still under construction, will cost over six billion pounds.  The implication being that any ships that tall, that wide and that costly must be well worth having.

I find it hard to grow enthusiastic about something that can only realise its full potential at times of war, but it seems almost unpatriotic to question its usefulness.  Plenty of facts are offered to silence any doubts, not least that over ten thousand inhabitants of Rosyth are employed in the continuing construction process.  And where are the aircraft that these ships are designed to carry?  Apparently they're still on the drawing-board . . . but we won't go into that.

'Defence' has always struck me as an ambiguous word.  In fact, 'defence industry' would seem a contradiction in terms.  After all, any industry needs to be in constant production if it's to thrive and make a profit.  The concept of defence implies a wish for peace, yet, dare I say it, to remain economically viable the defence industry needs the stimulus of constant, active warfare.

I thought of the defence industry this week when a news item was released from the world of medicine . .  antibiotics, it seems, will soon have lost their efficacy.  Bacteria, a resilient species, are growing increasingly resistant.  Why are the pharmaceutical companies not researching new and more effective drugs?  Because it is not economically viable.  To put it crudely, to make a profit the pharmaceutical companies need sick people, if we were all completely fit and healthy they would be out of business.

Currently, in our western world, economics would appear to be the prime consideration . . . be it the economics of the arms manufacturers or the economics of the drug companies.  What matter if, in the future, we're all embroiled in warfare and epidemics, economically we'll be thriving!

In being so economically driven I wonder if we're becoming blinkered to reality.  After all, environmental events are impervious to economics.  No amount of money will hold back the thawing of the ice in the Arctic, nor negate the agricultural problems caused by climate change.

Mightn't we be wiser to focus our attention on what really matters . . . such as trusting, caring and nurturing?
A move from fear to fellowship?

But, if we do shift our priorities away from economic profit, who needs an obsolete aircraft carrier?
What purpose then for 'HMS Queen Elizabeth'?

I can think of a perfect purpose!

Why not convert it into a spacious, contemporary Ark?
The vast structure could be permanently anchored in the Arctic and would provide an important sanctuary for ice-deprived seals and polar bears . . . warfare converted to welfare, surely that would be a move in the right direction?