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Great Exhibition of the North- Tainted?

(71 Posts)
trisher Tue 06-Mar-18 10:37:39

The GEOTN will take place in the summer of this year. It has recently come to the public's notice that a major funder is BAE Systems the company responsible for selling guidance systems to Saudi Arabia which are being used in planes bombing Yemen. One performer and several creatives have already dropped out. The Sage performance space and the Baltic Art Gallery have both stated publicly that their funding will be only from the Arts Council. There is an on-line petition for GEOTN to refuse the funding. I have signed petitions and written letters to try and stop the BAE sales and so I feel I cannot support any of this event while the BAE funding remains. What do other GNers think and what would they do?
Please sign if you agree with me.

Kupari45 Tue 06-Mar-18 19:47:58

Hello Trisher.
I can see you posted at 10.37am this morning. No one has made a comment as yet. So this is obviously a very sensitive subject, and no one is keen to comment and be shot down in flames.
All I would say is this is one of these subjects where nothing is black and white.
There are 18.000 people in The North working for BAE. Many young people have been given the opportunity to train for highly skilled jobs through their apprenticeships.
I dont have any family working for BAE, This is just my thoughts on your post.
This will be a terrific event for those of us who live in the North East.
Its not often an event such as this takes place in our area, and I am looking forward to seeing it.
I think it would be disapointing if this event had to be cancelled through lack of funding.

vampirequeen Tue 06-Mar-18 20:24:39

I've signed it. It's dirty money.

gillybob Tue 06-Mar-18 20:52:54

There are 18.000 people in The North working for BAE

Yes exactly Kupari45

Shall we better close them down ? I’m not signing . Sorry .

trisher Tue 06-Mar-18 21:02:36

Hi Kupari45 thank you for your post. I fully understand about people who work for BAE and I would not condemn any of them. This is about the funding of an arts and cultural event. There is absolutely no danger of the event being cancelled it has a huge amount of government money and also other sponsors such as Virgin, there is no lack of funding. I too thought this was a great event for the North, unfortunately I can now see that it will become the target of those wanting to draw attention to the arms supplied to Saudi and that instead of being remembered for the spectacular events it will be publicized and remembered because of the demonstrations it attracts. The petition asks the GEOTN team to reject the BAE money, the only real solution in my opinion

harrigran Tue 06-Mar-18 22:49:41

No I wont be signing either.

trisher Wed 07-Mar-18 10:05:13

Would you like to give your reasons for not signing? It isn't really anything to do with "closing down" BAE systems. But 61%of the British public have expressed their concerns about supplying weapons to Saudi that are being used in Yemen. Do you approve of this? Do you approve of a company which is responsible for deaths of families in Yemen giving money to a family event in the UK?

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 10:56:55

Opening paragraph of BAE systems website:

BAE Systems is the world's third largest arms producer. Its portfolio includes fighter aircraft, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, missiles and small arms ammunition. It has military customers in over 100 countries

How can a company who's core business is set out above be responsible for how or where their products are used or sold on? Are they to refuse customers until "we" like where the products are sold/re-sold and used? Will it not be the case that their competitors will very happily take over their order book, putting thousands of UK jobs on the line?

If my company (for example) sold a product to XYZ do I then become responsible for how and where that product is used bearing in mind it could have changed hands several times?

I don't need to approve or disapprove of what they manufacture. But I know people who work for BAE and I wouldn't approve of them losing their jobs just because someone doesn't like what they manufacture!

There was a big cigarette manufacturer in my town. It employed 100's of local people. Did I approve of the amount of deaths this company were responsible for?

OldMeg Wed 07-Mar-18 11:08:28

That is the Question indeed. Often a subject of philosophical debate so we can only, in the end, come down to our own personal moral code.

trisher Wed 07-Mar-18 11:31:25

I think we have to look at the wider picture and ask what other orgainisations and people have said You could read War Child£6bn-arms-dealers-price-millions-lives-yemen
And then wonder if 50p per head is worth so many deaths.
or read about the arms trade
And surely the argument "if we don't do it someone else will" is hardly a moral one.
And even if you believeit is OK for BAE to supply the means for slaughtering children in Yemen do you really think they are suitable funders of a family event in the UK?

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 11:41:21

You speak as though BAE have only just started to manufacture guns, tanks etc. trisher. What about all the companies who manufactured weapons used in the various wars responsible for millions of deaths? what about cigarette manufacturers, distilleries ?

I have never said that I believe it is OK for BAE to supply the means for slaughtering children in Yemen

I have said that a manufacturer who's main activity is to build and sell arms to over 100 countries worldwide cannot be held responsible for how that country chooses to use them.

The moral argument lies with the Saudi's.

wine, whisky and every single other thing that may be res

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 11:47:21

I don't know where that last line came from???

trisher Wed 07-Mar-18 12:11:46

Actually I asked if you thought it was OK for the money made to be used to fund a family friendly event. I notice you didn't answer that. The rest was for information.
I believe in ethical funding, maybe we can't stop them doing it but we can tell them their money is blood money and say No Thank you!

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 12:22:36

Most events these days need sponsorship to go ahead. I admire companies and individuals who offer such. Would you rather they held a lavish party for their big wigs or perhaps sponsored a race team, football club? whatever? You can only ever please some of the people some of the time.

We are getting back into the territory were delved into a few months ago where GOSH were going to refuse money raised after issues were raised about the event held. I note they decided to keep it after all, which I was pleased to here.

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 12:23:04

we not were

trisher Wed 07-Mar-18 12:37:55

The event doesn't need the money and is it a "goood cause"? Maybe they should spnd some of it re-building Yemen.

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 12:56:25

I'm not sure whether you could describe this as a good cause or just good for the North East? Lets face it most sponsorships are not necessarily for good causes are they?

vampirequeen Wed 07-Mar-18 22:19:28

Companies don't give sponsorships out of the kindness of their hearts. It's weighed up against the advertising they will get. Then they decide if it's cost effective.

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 22:36:03

Of course vq which is why multi millionaires and large concerns sponsor football teams, motor racing, various cups, trophies etc.

dbDB77 Wed 07-Mar-18 22:49:58

In response to the campaign BAE have now withdrawn their sponsorship.
Perhaps the campaigners will now turn their attentions to another of the sponsors - Accenture - multi billion global corporation (remember the NHS IT fiasco in the mid-2000s?) with HQs in the offshore tax havens of Bermuda and Ireland.
And what about Virgin and poor old Jeremy having to sit on the floor for his train journey? Let's campaign to stop them being sponsors.
Or show me the squeaky clean company that satisfies everyone's high moral principles.
Or maybe someone could start mentioning that Saudi Arabia is not the only country bombing Yemen - what about Iran?

durhamjen Wed 07-Mar-18 22:51:14

Signed it before I noticed this thread.
I have also signed lots of petitions to get the visit by the Saudis called off, and to stop us selling arms to Iraq.
I find the"if we don't sell to them someone else will" argument absolutely abhorrent.
UK arms are directly involved in killing at least 7 Yemeni children a day.
How can you think that's okay?

gillybob Wed 07-Mar-18 23:02:59

Let’s remember that BAE systems are only one of the many companies who manufacture arms to sell all over the world.

Let’s petition for them to close their UK facility down eh? Would that suit? I’m sure there are several USA companies just dying to take their order book. Let’s put thousands out of work while we’re at it. Hope none of our children or grandchildren work for them (directly or indirectly).

How a company can be made morally responsible for what their customers do with what they buy is beyond me. What about the arms used by our own military in Afghanistan, Iraq etc.?

It is the Saudi morals we should be judging not those of BAE (UK) .

Come on who shall we close down next?

durhamjen Thu 08-Mar-18 08:54:37

Didn't take long for BAE to give in anyway.
All they wanted was a bit of cheap advertising.
Unfortunately it was turning out negative advertising, so they've done the decent thing.

Tell me, gillybob, do you give money to charities asking for help for the children of the Yemen, those children that are being killed and injured by BAE weapons?

Anniebach Thu 08-Mar-18 09:14:22

I have no idea where this company is based, is it in an area of high unemployment ?

lemongrove Thu 08-Mar-18 09:17:47

gillybob an excellent post from you, although the prolific petition signers out there don’t even think further than their own noses.