Judith Eversley writes:
Standing outside Bath Abbey on the Saturday peace vigils down the decades, I have heard every pro-nuclear-weapons argument in the canon, most of which boil down to: “We’ve got them so we have to keep them” (or even more reductively “We’ve got them because … we’ve got them”). We counter these assertions and keep on campaigning, buoyed by small breakthroughs and minor triumphs – but even so, now and again one flags. I for one occasionally need an infusion of energy, argument and inspiration.
Bath Stop War (the post-2001 incarnation of Bath CND, Bath Campaign Against Arms Trade and Stop the War Coalition) has a good record of bringing in nationally and internationally known speakers to provide this welcome boost. Bruce Kent, Natalie Bennett, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Wilding, Alan Simpson MP have all spoken in Bath – usually in our Meeting House.
The latest is Kate Hudson, General Secretary of national CND. She visited in May to launch her book CND – Now More Than Ever: The Story of a Peace Movement, dedicating a copy to Bath Quakers for our library.
In her presentation she debunked myths about nuclear weapons ‘keeping the peace’ (try telling that to the victims of 250 major wars since 1945) and the supposed value of Mutually Assured Destruction, now supplanted by advances in technology which made ‘first strike’ a possibility. Kate’s emphasis was on the need to deal with the world as it is, hostile and tense, anxious about resource shortages, cyber-crime, climate change and habitat destruction. Peace-building, confidence-building measures, new approaches to common security: all these are possible and CND speaks up for them, as always.
If you missed Kate speaking at our Meeting House there are still two ways to get the experience. Buy the book at the special launch price of £10 (talk to Judith Eversley about buying a copy: we sold most of the 50 copies kindly obtained for us by Harry Wainwright at the Oldfield Park Bookshop, but there are a few left). Or follow Devizes Friends’ lead and head for Salisbury next Thurs 14 June when a giant CND symbol (10 metres long, 2.5 metres high) will appear in the Cathedral Close in Salisbury, followed by Kate speaking at Sarum College at 1900 by invitation of the Principal. Find out more.