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Fun day out for the family?

Tony Young visits Wales' 'National Air Show'

On 1 July, I attended the so-called ‘Wales National Air Show’ in Swansea. It is marketed as a fun day out for all the family but, moving beyond the massive funfair, you find what the occasion is really about. Military hardware of every description, and information points that tell you about the delights of a career in the armed forces, with huge banners carrying the message ‘RAF: recruiting now’.

Teenagers and small children are invited aboard the tanks and troop carriers, photographed alongside military personnel, allowed to handle assault rifles and rocket launchers and shown how to ‘fire’ them. All the while, people are enthralled by aerobatic displays by the Red Arrows and other aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, which for the last two years have been used by the Saudi Arabian Air Force in bombing missions over residential areas of Yemen, killing thousands of civilians in the process.

So, forget the funfair, this is what the ‘air show’ is really about. It’s a collaboration between Swansea city and county councils and the ministry of defence to stage a massive military display, targeting the youngest and most impressionable members of our society.

The ‘show’ attracts about 250,000 people, earning the city an estimated £7.6 million. I just wish the city council would be honest with the people of Swansea and tell it for what it really is. I intend to suggest some changes to the content and marketing of next year’s ‘air show’!

Topics: Militarism