John Boulton speaking for VFP at the Trident Rally:
We are told that Trident is a vital component of our national security.
But Trident is nothing more than a status symbol for a nation obsessed with “punching above it’s weight”.
We are told that Trident keeps us safe.
But ownership of Trident puts us on the target list of other nuclear states.
We are told that Trident prevents war.
But this country has been at war almost continuously since we first obtained nuclear weapons.
We have been told that Trident provides jobs for thousands.
But the money spent on Trident would create far more jobs if spent on building new homes.
We are told that Trident us keeps us independent.
But the US has the power of veto over our nuclear weapons. This missile system is a manifestation of power, US power over us.
We are told that Trident is safe in our hands because we are a moral country.
But Trident is a genocidal weapon of mass destruction and it’s very ownership let alone its use is immoral.
But what is it that I can tell you? Standing here today as a member of Veterans For Peace, an organisation of ex service personnel committed to achieving the abolition of war in the 21st century.
I can only appeal to the minds of my former brothers and sisters in arms and say to them, ‘what’s in it for you?’
To those of you engaged in manning those submarines ‘what’s in it for you?’
To anyone responsible for maintaining and delivering any part of the nuclear arsenal the UK has at its disposal, I say once again, ‘what’s in it for you?’
And to those of you who support the renewal of Trident, if we put aside the political statistics and economics and focus upon the reality of what nuclear war means, what nuclear war looks like, retaliatory or otherwise. It means good, honest, working people like yourselves unleashing a terror, a holocaust of unimaginable and as yet unprecedented horror on other good, honest, working people just like ourselves whom we have no personal argument with, who like us, love their families and all on behalf of a tiny number of people, on both sides, who while the whole world is consumed in the maelstrom will be found, with their own families, cowering in their bunkers. What’s in it for anyone?
Wanting world peace is a delusion, you have to ‘be’ world peace and you all are. Let’s keep doing it and maybe the idea will spread.
Pictures of VFP on the Trident March:
My First Demonstration by Phillip Clarke:
It seemed a good idea at the time. Join my fellow Veterans for Peace at the anti-Trident march. And it seemed a good idea when I briefly mentioned to Rachel, my 16-year old daughter who seems to developing into a bit of a ‘leftie’ despite my own Tory background, to invite her along. Next thing I know hotel is booked and we are on our way to our first demonstration. Yes, in what I like to describe as my ‘mid forties’, I planned to attend my first demonstration. It would be my daughter’s first too!
For a moment I did think that perhaps my Northern Ireland days could count as demonstrations. I remember standing atop Springfield Road RUC station with hundreds of Republican rioters trying their best with an assortment of missiles, including Molotov Cocktails and the odd 7.62mm round, to convince my RUC colleagues and my good self to politely ‘go home’. But on reflection that should be more properly described as a riot ….
So, eager not to be late Rachel and I arrived nice and early at Marble Arch for the start. It was a bit chilly! Soon fellow VfP members arrived and after introductions we constructed our banner and waited a little longer to start. As the police looked on thousands of us slowly made our way towards Trafalgar Square. A few slight bottle-necks caused a bit of standing around. And helped everyone become a little bit more cold. Did I mention it was a bit chilly?
It was good to see so many different people on the march. It was good that many fellow marchers and spectators saw our banner and engaged with us. It was good to see bemused diners as we marched past some rather swanky restaurants along Park Lane. It was good that our banner bearers, Lenny and Ben, adopted a bit of a good pace so we eventually moved a suitable distance away from the mobile sound systems some groups had deployed for the day.
There were murmurs that Jeremy Corbyn was not marching with us. At Trafalgar Square there were murmurs that Jeremy Corbyn would not speak. But a short video from The Man made us happy – he was in Sheffield but was en route. A big cheer! At this stage I was absolutely freezing! But having accompanied John through the inner cordon to the speaker’s green room I had to wait patiently until his time to speak for Veterans for Peace. The speakers were good and made good points. A few anti-Tory shout outs were not quite in agreement of my beliefs. Luckily VfP is a broad enough church to accommodate me and my Tory past …..
There were quite a few speakers who did not get the ‘three minute’ memo and I became increasingly cold. Did I mention it was a bit chilly? It felt at times they needed to fill a bit of time to enable Jeremy to arrive before everything was over – but when he did you could feel the crowd become exhilarated and forget the cold. The penultimate speaker before Jeremy was our own John Boulton. He given a good introduction and was very well received by the crowd. And his few short words were excellent – I hope that the text of the speech is published on this site to act as inspiration should any other VfP need to say a few words in public. Well done John. Rachel and I both gave big cheers and clapped as loudly as our cold hands could manage.
Then the event that the majority of the crowd were waiting for – Jeremy. He pitched his words well for the event. Summed up the points that previous speakers had made. Jeremy is not the greatest speaker but his presence was the key message. The crowd let out an almighty roar when he had concluded the event.
We then rather hastily made our way to a local hostelry to warm up, have a few social drinks and eat a few chips. One slight problem was that a few other marchers made the same decision and it was a rather full hostelry. But is was good to talk in the relative warmth about the day and get to know fellow Veterans for Peace a bit better.
On my way back I turned into an over-excited school-kid as I looked at the various news articles. None with VfP highlighted, but I can cope with that. A bit perturbed that the BBC did not headline the march; the link was under the banner ‘Sturgeon condemns immoral trident’. No image or text preview and quite low on the page despite the event having just concluded. And a very brief report of the demonstration on BBC 5 Live early evening bulletins, again only moments after the event had concluded. But I now understand this lack of reporting by the BBC on this issue as it does not follow the narrative BBC producers have decided upon. However The Guardian had the march as the headline on their site ‘Trident rally is Britain’s biggest anti-nuclear march in a generation’.
So what was my overall impression of my first demonstration? IT WAS COLD!!!! Despite this it was a wonderful experience, to be part of a movement that I had only ever witnessed on the TV. It felt good to know that I was lending my voice, one of many thousands, to a call that we do not want and do not need Trident to be replaced. It energised me to become more involved in VfP. It was good to know I am not alone. It was good to see so many fellow marchers engage with VfP and for people to learn that actually not all the military are war-hungry monsters. And as always it was good to meet up with fellow Veterans for Peace. And Rachel? She is already looking forward to the Remembrance Day weekend to support VfP.
Ben Griffin speaking to the Artist Taxi Driver before the Trident March:
VFP Trident Video Trailer: