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Politics in crisis & cycles of war (E282)

Half a century ago the overwhelming majority of British people voted Labour or Conservative. Last week in the European elections that number was 22 percent with Nationalists, Liberals, Democrats, the Greens, and the populist Brexit party together polling a staggering 78 percent. The impact of the devastation inflicted on the once prevailing orthodoxy of British politics is of course now playing out within the two once great parties of the state, both mired in existential chaos over their leadership and direction. Steven Norris is the wisest of political observers, former conservative minister, long standing member of Parliament, and twice conservative candidate for London mayor: so, we invited him into the studio to help us shift through the wreckage.

As long ago as the 1950s outgoing Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of, what he called, the military industrial complex whereby those with a vested interest in conflict would establish a vicious circle in which they paid the politicians who would then use the public money to pay them. President Kennedy soon developed a similar narrative. Last year expenditure on the uniformed military services alone cost $1.7 trillion. The conflict this fueled cost $17 trillion, not to mention the cost in blood. To raise questions about this vicious cycle is to make powerful enemies. Acclaimed author Vijay Mehta has a new book on the subject with forewords from the Dalai Lama and Jeremy Corbyn, so we invited him into the studio to tell us more.

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