Farnborough International sells itself to the public as an airshow and family day out. However the public days are preceded by a full trade exhibition for aerospace and military products. The event is organised by the UK's Society of British Aerospace Companies, with international invitations managed by DESO (the Defence Export Services Organisation) which is funded by the tax-payer.
Farnborough takes place every other year and is a major date on the international arms fair calendar. In 2004, 47 of the world's top 100 arms companies were there, and the government's export support machine swung fully into action behind it. By marketing the event as a family-friendly airshow, the organisers are attempting to normalise arms sales and portray these events as publicly acceptable.
CAAT will be protesting at Farnborough on the first day of the arms fair - Monday 17 July, and is calling for more supporters to attend and help to put across the reality of Farnborough (see details below).
CAAT will be highlighting Farnborough as yet another example of blatant corporate welfare provided by the British government in the form of DESO. No other exporting industry gets the kind of support that arms companies receive and it is shocking that public money is being used to subsidise events which promote weapons around the world.
CAAT will also highlight the fact that around 90% of victims of war are civilians and that 50% of these are children, a terrifying statistic which makes Farnborough's “International Youth Day” especially cynical. Farnborough's website boasts that “over 1000 youths will be making their way” to Farnborough to take part in “an eye-catching, mind-opening programme of events that demonstrates vividly the employment, the environment and the careers opportunities of the aerospace sector”. It also admits that “the parallel aim of International Youth Day is to provide the aerospace industry with the opportunity to inspire, educate and integrate with a wide range of young people /students and their gatekeepers, inspiring and encouraging their personal developments in the field of aerospace”.
Join the protest
CAAT hope that PN readers, and many others, agree that inspiring young minds to take part in an industry focused on conflict and killing is totally abhorrent. Join us in July to peacefully protest against Farnborough and to call on the government to end its support for arms exports and to shut DESO for good.
CAAT will be protesting at the arms fair on Monday 17 July. Meet: 11am, on Farnborough Road, next to Gate B outside Farnborough Airfield, opposite the entrance to Guildford Road West. This is just over one mile south of Farnborough's main station, and past the main entrance to the event. Farnborough is a small town in Hampshire, half an hour's train ride from London (Waterloo station).