Paul McGowan reports on GDAMS vigil/event in Coventry
Pax Christi and Stop the War Campaigners against the use of Council Tax money to invest in arms companies such as Lockheed Martin attempted to present a lunchtime letter of protest to the firm’s offices in Coventry University’s Technology Park. We were prevented from entering the site by security guards who had been posted there since 7am, in anticipation of any such activity. Eventually, it was agreed that the security guards would deliver the letter, which calls on Lockheed Martin to explain whether they continue to be involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs. Later in the day, campaigners distributed leaflets in the city centre, explaining the Council’s complicity in the funding of arms companies out of Council Tax money. Postcards illustrating alternatives to military spending, a petition to scarp Trident, and a People’s Budget to allow citizens to declare their own spending priorities were used to publicise the Global Day Against Military Spending. No member of the public thought that money should be spent on renewing Trident. Arms companies involved in the Trident programme include Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, all of whom have links to Coventry (the ‘City of Peace and Reconciliation’, as it likes to be known), and receive public funding through investments of Council Tax money in the West Midlands Pension Fund.