Thursday, October 12, 2017

Droning on about Brexit


That staunch defender of humanitarian and cultural values the Guardian has enthusiastically spun the story of the Brexit-triggered tragedy of the European Union Youth Orchestra moving its head office from London to Rome. The reason the orchestra's chief executive gives for the move is "You can’t ask for EU funding and then not be in the EU". Neither the newspaper nor its many readers who compulsively re-tweeted the story have mentioned that the European Union Youth Orchestra's principal corporate partner - i.e. funder - is based not in the E.U. but in America. The orchestra's principal corporate funder is the world's fourth largest aerospace and defence company United Technologies Corporation, the aerospace and defence businesses of which generate revenues of almost $20 billion. Among UTC's military products are the Pratt & Whitney engines in service with 34 armed forces worldwide, their drone technology is deployed in the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper used for extra-judicial killings by the U.S in the Middle East and until 2015 the corporation manufactured the Black Hawk helicopter used by the U.S. in many theatres of war including Afghanistan. The European Union Youth Orchestra undoubtedly does invaluable work and it is regrettable that around ten talented young British musicians may be discommoded by Brexit. But we should also not forget that humanitarian and cultural tragedy comes in more than one guise.

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