Public meeting: War, militarisation & British democracy

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

In the run up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June, we will be launching a report by Paul Dixon, 'Warrior Nation: War, militarisation and British democracy'.

Armed Forces Day is an annual event, adopted in 2009, as part of a 'Militarisation Offensive' to improve public recognition and support for the armed forces. The report explores how this militarisation failed to produce majority support for the war in Afghanistan but deepened the militarisation of British politics and society. Since 2006 the military have broken constitutional convention and made public attacks on politicians, leading to the most severe tensions in political-military relations since the Second World War.


Professor Paul Dixon (Birkbeck College, University of London), who is also author of The British Approach to Countersinsurgency: From Malaya and Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan and many other books and articles on Northern Ireland, war and counterinsurgency.

Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck College, University of London) and author of Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play Invade Our Lives and An Intimate History of Killing

Joe Glenton, Veterans for Peace UK and author of Soldier Box: Why I Won't Return to the War on Terror

Chaired by Marigold Bentley, Quaker Peace and Social Witness. 

Monday 25 June, 7-9pm (doors open 6.30) at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

All welcome. Organised by ForcesWatch

See the Facebook event

Please Note: Fabian Hamiliton MP was previously listed as a speaker but is no longer able to attend.


About the report

Download the report

This explosive report shows conclusively how senior members of the armed forces intervened to win over the hearts and minds of the British public at the height of the Iraq-Afghanistan campaigns. In doing so, it asks: What are the implications for our democracy when the military oversteps its bounds? Essential reading for anyone opposed to the cycle of war without end.
Vron Ware, Kingston University London and author of Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR country

If you have not yet begun to explore the many faces of the 'Military Offensive', this new publication will help you navigate your way through the language, practices, policies and culture that are used to give more power and kudos to the military. While the major focus of analysis is the post 2006 period and the impact of the offensive on public opinion and politics, it reminds us that this path was established through the UK military involvement in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq. Of special interest to me is the relationship between the military and schools. The reinvention and promotion of armistice and Armed Forces Day, 'military ethos' and cadets in schools, have contributed to a deeper military penetration of our education system; this report puts them in a wider context. An important resource for all concerned with the militarisation of our society and where pressure needs to be brought to effect a change.
Pat Gaffney, General Secretary, Pax Christi UK

We are at a pivotal moment in the militarisation of British politics and democracy. Paul Dixon shows us how we got here -- and what can be done.
Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College, University of London and author of Wounding the World: How military violence and war-play invade our lives

In granular detail, this report documents the ways in which the British armed forces have usurped control from the civilian authority. Drawing attention to the democratic deficit such a move entails, the report elicits deep concern about the powers vested in the military institution, which is tasked with, and entrusted to, perform violence on behalf of the state, rather than in contravention of it.
Paul Higate, University of Bath and Associate Editor of Critical Military Studies