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A more dangerous world

25 January 2024

Palestinians inspect a house after an Israeli air strike. Rafah, Gaza 8 January 2024. Photo Anas-Mohammed/Shutterstock.

The British and US governments are together stoking conflict across the world. They are bankrolling and providing the weaponry to Israel that enables its war on Gaza to continue.

Across the Middle East, countries are trying to prevent escalation of the conflict. Yet the USA and Britain pour oil on the fire by bombing Yemen.

Both governments oppose ceasefires – so too does the Labour Party. That’s in the name of supporting the war waged by a most reactionary government in Israel, which has decreasing support in its own country.


They are supporting a government waging relentless war against an almost defenceless population, a government that totally rejects the two-state solution that most of the rest of the world would accept. Hamas too opposes a ceasefire and opposes the two-state solution.

It’s much the same in Ukraine. The US and UK governments are supplying arms and military support, along with NATO. And they are fostering the idea of increasingly unlikely, if not impossible, military victory for Ukraine against the Russian invasion.


Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has tried to justify this warmongering stance. He made a Thatcher-channelling speech on 15 January. He said that we are “Moving from a post-war to a pre-war world” – which should serve as a warning to everyone in Britain.

He claimed that, “this government is spending more than £50 billion a year on Defence in cash terms, more than ever before. And we have made the critical decision to set out our aspiration to reach 2.5 per cent of GDP spent on defence.”


And in a circular justification he continued, “That is why on [12 January] the Prime Minister signed the historic UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation. The start of a 100-year alliance that we are building with our Ukrainian friends. It sees us increasing our military support to £2.5 billion – taking the total of UK military aid to more than £7 billion.”

That’s a grand statement from a government which may not last 100 days. But Shapps can be sure that the Labour leader and his shadow ministers are right behind him on Ukraine. And they mostly agree on resisting Gaza ceasefire calls too.

‘Shapps denounced calls for peace.’

Shapps denounced calls for peace. He described them as unpatriotic, talking Britain down by those who believe Britain has no power to influence world events. He says we should not ignore what’s happening abroad.

Calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Britain’s support is not ignoring events – but a challenge to those beating the drums of war. And it’s not just Shapps – on 24 January a senior British Army officer called on the government to “mobilize the nation” to prepare for a war with Russia.

Shapps titled his speech, “Defending Britain from a more dangerous world”. It would have been more accurate to call it “Britain – making the world more dangerous”.

Britain’s needs

We cannot mend potholes here, let alone schools and hospitals. Yet we allow our government to spend recklessly to support war in Europe and the Middle East. It is outrageous that we don’t reject this out of hand, and demand that our precious resources are spent on the many things we need in Britain.

We need to focus on the actions of our own government, and any that follow. We should call for action at home and an end to foreign adventures. That would do a service to the cause of world peace.