I’ve got to go electric with my next car. That’s not quite right. It seems I’ve got to buy a car that does not use fossil fuels. My problem is I’ve got grandchildren and they are adamant that their grandparents should not strangle fish with plastic bags, stick straws down the throats of undersea creatures or leave out those plastic rings that secure half a dozen packs of beer
On the last point I’m in the clear. I’m teetotal, nor do I drink fluids out of cans, at least not those which you buy in six packs. While I’m in my dotage, I think I would still remember if I had ever strangled a fish with or without said plastic bags. It’s been some years since I used a plastic straw, or indeed, a straw made of any other material. I’ve cracked the use of cups and have been enjoying the extra quantity available in one gulp for some years now.
I accept that my generation has polluted the oceans to a considerable extent, and am of the opinion that it is inexcusable. However, if you go back a few years before I was born there was a considerable amount of pollution going on, and it was deliberate. There were ships being sunk all over most of the oceans of the world, and much of it is celebrated nowadays. Dirty great big aircraft carriers, and the biggest ever battleships, can be found at the bottom of these oceans. I doubt there are doing an awful lot of good to environments there.
When I was a youth there were nuclear explosions detonated underwater. Mind you, there are an awful lot more above water level. I personally had little to do this and, indeed, I was against it with a dedication at least equal to that of my grandkids hatred of various plastics.
What is remarkable is that the protests of the antipollution protesters seem to be having an effect, at least in this country. I’m not sure that my belief that bombs should be banned, particularly the ones of nuclear variety, made any difference. All it seemed to do was slow proliferation.
There were demonstrations outside an arms dealers’ convention in a town I policed and I thought it only right to pay a visit to the organisers and the companies displaying their wares, but only after having a chat with some demonstrators.
One group of demonstrators seemed only too pleased to discuss their views with me. There were around eight of them, five being a female, and all appearing to be lower-middle-class. They were drinking tea from Thermos flasks. I was offered a sample but it looked a bit weak and insipid to me and I offered to pass.
The leader of the group was quite clear in her objections to the convention. She reckoned that her council should not have accepted money from the organisers as it gave the impression of support from the locals. She could see the argument for the need of defence and actually brought it up herself. However, she saw the convention as nothing more than advertising to various states, some of which would be using their weapons to repress their own citizens or to invade other countries to repress theirs. I thought at the time that she made a good point. After visiting the organisers, I realised I had underestimated her argument.
The various displays inside the hall looked a wee bit tacky. This might have been a subjective view that these were high-tech creations in a situation that looked as if they were selling under the counter films. I was approached by a chap from one of the displays which featured a rather old-fashioned aircraft. It was a Hunting Percival Jet Provost, a two seat, side by side, single engined jet trainer. This was not something out of Star Wars.
The chap was asking what he should do in the event that any of his staff were threatened by the demonstrators. I said that from what I’d seen of them, this was unlikely, and so it proved. I walked back to his stand and ask him about the Provost.
He was thrilled to demonstrate that, as shown on the CGI film, the aircraft could, if it was equipped with the ordnance that they sold, fly along a road bordered by buildings, drop one set of ordnance, spectacularly bank at the end and then return along the road are dropping the rest. I was assured that all the people, people was not the word he used, but people it was, so let’s say again people, all of them, would have been killed or rendered nonthreatening.
I was, as you can imagine, quite shocked, not only by the death toll brought about by two passes of this simple and rather pretty little air plane. The dismembered bodies, the blood, the whimpering of those lucky or unlucky enough to be injured, were not shown in the CGI. They were merely shadows at the beginning and shadows at the end.
It was horrific and, oddly, seemingly worse than a nuclear bomb which knows days could be classed as tactical, but still bomb like. This seemed to be more personal and even though the demonstrators were not shown as people it was clear what the intent of the underwing ordinance was. It rejoiced in the term COIN, standing for counter insurgency.
I did nothing about this. I policed the premises, doing my bit to maintain law and order, despite having what I’d just seen going round in my head. So good on my grandchildren for actually doing something about it. My next car will probably be electric, or, at the very least, a hybrid. It’s too late to do something about the hundreds, probably thousands, of people killed by the products being sold at that convention.