Wednesday, September 10, 2003


I used to like Paul Beaver.

Paul Beaver used to be a spokesman for Jane's and he was the consummate rent-a-quote. When I worked as a producer on daily news programmes he was an absolute God send. British government put in an order for fighter jets? Paul Beaver would tell you all about it. Security alert at Heathrow? Beaver would tell you the inside track. He was always at the end of the phone -- or on his way to the studio -- itching to go live on air.

But I don't like Paul Beaver any more.

He's become Chief Apologist for the DSEi arms fair in east London and is prepared to take (probably not inconsiderable) amounts of money from the makers of guns and bombs to explain to the press why their industry is as normal as any other. "It's a trade show like the motor show," Beaver says of DSEi.

Except that as far as I'm aware they don't sell cluster bombs at the motor show -- weapons which UNICEF says have injured more than 1,000 children since the official end of the war in Iraq.

Enjoy your wages, Mr Beaver -- but make sure the blood on your hands doesn't soil the banknotes.


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