Bombs made in Scotland are killing people in Yemen in what human rights investigators say are war crimes and it’s time to end the conspiracy of silence.
IT’S even got a name now. Virtue signalling, apparently.
The overwhelming desire of people to publicly show how they care just as much, if not more, than just about everyone about just about everything.
Not always but often found on social media, where hashtags like Bairns not Bombs and Kids not Cuts reveal a vehement, implacable opposition to all those heartless monsters who back bombs not bairns and support cuts not kids.
It’s the digital equivalent of tying forecourt flowers to a lamppost after the sudden death of a complete stranger.
Things like Trident, Britain’s nuclear deterrent , are meat and drink to the virtue signallers.
They can post a picture of a sinister black hull emerging from the Gare Loch hashtagged Evil. Job done.
And that’s fine when it’s big stuff, huge broad-brush, primary coloured issues to cheer or deride. Bairns, yay! Bombs, boo!
But, unless we’ve missed it, Britain’s nuclear deterrent – whatever it costs, however questionable the morality of possessing such a deterrent – has, so far, killed precisely no one.
There are bombs – or at least the laser systems guiding these bombs to their targets – that are being made in Scotland right now, that are being sold to foreign powers right now, that are killing kids right now in aerial bombardments that human rights investigators in Yemen insist are war crimes.
But, sadly for them, and rather shamefully for us, the arms trade is too complicated to be summed up in a hashtag or a placard.
It is too difficult for most of our politicians to stand up to say the unsayable, that this trade should be stopped; if not stopped, curbed; and if not curbed, slowed.
Because these arms firms are, of course, creating jobs in Scotland, their exports are worth millions to Scotland, they are putting food on the table in Scotland.
Some issues, real issues, are too tricky for glib sloganeering. Only silence will do.
But, as the death toll mounts in Yemen , that conspiracy of see no evil can no longer continue.
Westminster ministers can no longer be allowed to long-grass the increasing stench around Britain’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia as the gravest possible concerns are raised about how those arms are being used against civilians in Yemen.
These might be atrocities happening far from our homes but they are being inflicted by weapons made up the road.
The arms sales to Saudi must be frozen until these alleged war crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted.
The stricken people of Yemen need us to raise our voice and ask what about their bairns? What about our bombs?