Anti-Trident demonstrators circle Ministry of Defence
Photo report by Peter Arkell
Several thousand people surrounded the Ministry of Defence in London with a huge knitted scarf at the week-end calling on the government to “wrap up” the Trident nuclear missiles programme.
They then marched with their placards, reading "A & E not WMD", "Books not Bombs" and "Climate not Trident", down Whitehall for a rally opposite Parliament. A few people sat down in the road in an attempt to re-create the great sit-down protests of the 1950s and 1960s, but most of the demonstration swept past them.
Earlier last week only 37 MPs backed a motion calling on the government to abandon the plans to renew the hugely-expensive Trident programme. Over 250 MPs including Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg abstained.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson said:
“Millions of People around the country oppose this £100 billion monstrosity. The Parliament elected in May will take the final decision on Trident replacement in 2016. With the former head of the Armed Forces describing Trident as “completely useless” to the threats we face – this Cold War relic is an anachronism in the 21st Century. It’s time we consigned nuclear weapons to the dustbin of history.
“Just this month we’ve seen Trident costs spiralling out of control – as another quarter of a billion was added to the bill – followed by a heated debate on Trident replacement in Parliament. Trident is set to be a huge election issue. People are sick of being told there’s no money for public services while seeing billions squandered on a weapon which provides nothing but the illusion of security and simply encourages the vicious circle of nuclear proliferation worldwide.
“The full scale of the crisis in the NHS is starting to emerge – with A&E departments posting the worst waiting times in decades. But the £2bn funding gap facing the NHS is cast in a grim light by the £3bn spent just running our current Trident system in the same period. This is a crisis of priorities and nothing else – and all MPs standing for election should take stock of the public mood or pay the price at the ballot box.”
Speakers at the rally included Jeremy Corbyn MP, Rebecca Johnson (Action AWE), Julie Ward (Labour MEP), Lindsay German (Stop the War), Bruce Kent (CND), Khalil Charles (Muslim Assoc of Britain), Ben Griffin (veterans for Peace), spoken word artist Potent Whisper, trade unionists and church-people.
26 January 2015