How, and perhaps why, should we work towards restricting the arms trade?

Perhaps readers of this page think that the second question doesn't really need answering - perhaps it's obvious to everyone that the arms trade is undesirable, so leaving that to one side...

According to the Campaign Against Arms Trade there are three practical ways to reduce this trade:

1. Export controls 2. Ending government subsidies to the arms trade 3. Convert arms manufacture plants to produce civilian hardware

Number one and number two are both issues that will be influenced by national government. The third will be driven by market forces - manufacturers make what they can sell, and while there is likely to be a demand for weapons in the future, export controls and removal of subsidies may make the supply (manufacture) of weaponry inefficient in terms of commerce.

So, how do we influence government? Of course, it depends where you live. If you're lucky enough to live in a democracy, where votes determine the selection of the ruling party, then you live in a place where votes are a kind of currency, which you have, and which those that would rule need to collect.

Before giving someone your vote, perhaps see how far they are prepared to alter their approach to government, their opinion, their activity, in return for your support.

Here's a model:

Find a politician who needs a vote that you hold Contact the politician offering your vote Copy your form of contact to the press, and to everyone you know Sell your vote in return for the politicians commitment to behave in a new way, which you determine. Monitor the behaviour of the politician.

If anyone fancies giving this a try because they know of a forthcoming election, please share your progress with the group to let them know how you get on, and if you need any support.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade How to find out about your Member of Parliament