BAE sponsorship of Big Bang – what’s the message to impressionable children?

26 Feb

Campaigning organisations Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) have issued a media statement condemning BAE sponsorship in a major UK science fair, ‘The Big Bang’.

According to both organisations, BAE (and formerly known as British Aerospace), an arms manufacturer, ‘supports science education in order to recruit more young people into its sphere’. Moreover, ‘BAE makes its money by selling weapons, including to some of the world’s most dangerous countries’.

Short of being present at the fair, a brief search of its planned activities, however, did not reveal any conspicuous events that appear to promote scientific technology directly related to weapons trade.

Nevertheless, Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, in its press statement warns, ‘

The high-profile involvement of BAE Systems in this event sends completely the wrong message to young people. It encourages them to associate science and technology with war, the arms trade and nuclear weapons. We need to offer young people a far more positive vision of how science and technology can be used, one which gives much higher priority to achieving environmental sustainability and social justice, and offers alternatives to the use of military force.’

According to a factsheet on BAE by CAAT (updated on May last year), the weapons company, which is the third largest in the world, has major business links in 130 countries, including some of the most repressive regimes in the world such as Saudi Arabia. The information kit also discloses six ongoing investigations against the company in six separate countries for illegal practices such as alleged ‘bribery’ and ‘secret payments’.

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