MEDIA coverage of the Scott report has focused on individual ministers. What is needed, however, is a debate on whether the support currently given to arms exports is economically or morally justified. Would oureconomy benefit more if the money spent on promotion and support of British arms was spent on other sectors of industry? Where is the justification for the system of export credit guarantees? Does not this system, whereby the British government meets the bill for British arms exporters whose customers cannot pay, mean that the UK taxpayer is keeping Third World dictators in power?
Rather than taking the view that if they do not buy arms from us they will from someone else, we should realise the important contribution to international peace, security and prosperity that Britain could make if it took a lead in enforcing stricter controls on arms exports and worked to reduce the world arms trade.