guns are business is democracy or something

Mr Cameron said Britain had "a range of strong defence relationships" with countries in the region and British lives had been lost defending Kuwait "so the idea that Britain should not have defence relationships with some of these countries I don't understand".

Uh, Dave. Shouldn’t the justification here that we’re arming Kuwait so that we don’t have to “lose British lives”?

But it’s nonsense anyway. The actual military weapons we sell to the the Middle East aren’t meant to be used, unlike the paramilitary ones. They’re there partly to provide manufacturers with opportunities for selling training and spares, partly as a kind of military Harrods – prestige goods for regimes that depend on such things – but mainly as a form of political insurance for the governments concerned, which are buying lobbying power. You buy the fancy goods so that you get a pass on using the pepper spray and water cannon…which of course we’ll also be very happy to provide you with at reasonable rates.

And if the Iraqis ever have another stab at reuniting the Ottoman Basra governorate, making judicious arms purchases is also a pretty good guarantee that British lives will be lost in getting it back for the Sheikhs. The money goes to BAE. The British public provides the squaddies.

In fairness I should add something about Douglas Alexander’s weaselly contribution, but that’s the point where words fail me. I will say that the idea that “Labour made us do it” is generally the founding big lie of the current government, but in foreign policy – Middle eastern policy especially – Cameron and co were dropped right in it