Why did you attend the demo organised by Liverpool Against The Arms Fair today?
“Because I don't want the arms fair to go ahead in Liverpool. I'm supporting those that are saying it should stop and asking those that are in a position to stop it, to stop it. The consequences of it are obviously arms are going to be sold that will end up abusing human rights. And the consequences economically for Liverpool is that fewer organisations will go to that venue”.
What do you know about the arms merchants who will be exhibiting if the fair is to go ahead?
“Well it's quite secretive. What I do know is that there's high-quality surveillance and drone equipment being sold. There are increasingly powerful drones that can go ahead and kill people as we saw happening with the recent assault of Gaza”.
Do you believe the arms manufacturers in question have any responsibility to ensure their weapons are not used against civilians?
"Absolutely they do. It would be illegal anyway to use them against civilians. That would be contrary to international law. And I do believe there has to be far greater control of the arms trade. There should be much greater parliamentary scrutiny of it. Which improved a bit but hasn't actually gone as far as it should”.
The event Electronic Warfare Europe was cancelled last year but it now seems it was only postponed. In what way could Liverpool Against The Arms Fair be successful in putting a stop to the event that is due to go ahead in October?
“There is still time to stop it. There is still time to say it's not welcome here. It's not wanted here. And as you say it was stopped in Europe. It should not be in Liverpool. Liverpool's a wonderful city. A city of peace and solidarity. It should not be hosting this event”.
Do you believe Liverpool City Council is powerless? If not what action could Liverpool City Council take to stop the arms fair going ahead?
“Well I think Liverpool City Council appear to be the ultimate owners of the venue. They have a legal problem with it. I would hope they would challenge it in every way that they can. And I hope there would be legal as well as political challenges to the whole principle of holding it”
From the point of view of a pro-Palestinian activist, how do you feel about Elbit Systems exhibiting at the arms fair, a company that makes enormous profits from the attacks on the Palestinian people?
“I don't think they should be exhibiting there at all. And I think that the deaths of Palestinian children in the recent assault on Gaza and of course the continued occupation of the West Bank has got to stop. There has got to be a change”.
The Bristol band Massive Attack have cancelled their concert in light of the venue hosting this arms fair - how effective do you believe boycotts are in our interconnected economy?
"Very effective. Cancelling concerts, cancelling bookings. That's gonna win it in the end. Apartheid was defeated by the strength of people in South Africa who opposed apartheid. But it was also defeated by economic boycotts by people all over the world”.