VETERAN peace campaigner Bruce Kent last Thursday addressed a well-attended meeting of Lewisham and Greenwich CND jointly with Forest Hill and Sydenham CND in Lewisham Town Hall.
It was part of a series of meetings all around the country organised by CND to campaign against the renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine nuclear weapons system – a demanding task for an 84-year-old.
The meeting was opened with peace songs from the Strawberry Thieves Choir and local peace activist and Green Party member Ann Garrett recited some of her own poetry to the meeting.
The opening speech was given by Dr Rebecca Johnson, vice-president of CND.
Rebecca spoke about the work being done by 146 nations under the United Nations ambit to make nuclear weapons illegal under international law. She also called for support for a 50,000-strong demonstration to link Aldermaston and Burghfield this August.
Bruce Kent, aged 84, based his argument against Trident on the waste of money and resources on a weapons system that most people in this country do not want when schools, hospitals and other vital public services are suffering austerity cuts.
He said: “It seems to me that we, as a country, are towards replacing – at vast expense – ‘our’ present Trident submarines and their murderous missiles and warheads with a new generation, planned to last for another 30 years.
“Despite majority public opinion against, there is no clearly articulated political opposition to replacement, except from CND and other disarmament groups. So the Government is just attempting to go ahead with its project through a series of small steps – all of which will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to say NO when a vote comes in 2016.
“Yet many, many groups and organisations strongly oppose the cuts that will make humanitarian work of all sorts so much more difficult. We are supposed to ‘be in this together’. We are not. The cuts will hit the poorest hardest.”