Kingston Peace News - September 2016

The newsletter of Kingston Peace Council / Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

After the disappointing Trident vote, what is to be done?

We have to carry on regardless! We won't give up, we must not give up.

For help on how to proceed there is a meeting to go to and a book to purchase. The book is by Timmon Wallis "The Truth about Trident - Disarming the Nuclear Argument" and Timmon will be discussing this at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX on Thursday September 22nd at 7 o’clock. Entrance £3, redeemable against any purchase. Wheelchair accessible.
To book phone 0207-837-4473 or email

Even before reading this book or attending this meeting it is not difficult to find reasons against spending an estimated £205 billion on the new Trident over its lifetime. One argument I find powerful is that by the time the new submarines are finished it is almost certain that advanced detection capabilities will ensure that they are useless in that they will not be able to travel around the world beneath the sea undetected. At present this is a major "selling point" for them.

Another good possibility is that possession of nuclear weapons will finally have been declared illegal, in the way that landmine use and chemical and biological weapons have been. Over 100 countries have already signed up to this and the work continues. See

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was set up by Physicians Against Nuclear War, Abolition 2000 and others.

There is a new CND petition which we will continue to ask people to sign on our stall in Kingston market place every first and third Saturday of the month outside All Saints Church gates, 11am - 2pm. Extra help is always needed, please 'phone Angie Cooper 0208-399-5537 to come and assist us.

Put in Your Diary Now:-

Thurs 6th October, Uniting for Peace Annual Erskine Childers Lecture 2016

"Building a Culture of Peace in a World of Conflicts"

at Hilton Hotel, Euston 17-18 Upper Woburn Pl, London, WC1H 0HT, 6.30pm to 8.30 pm

Speaker Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director-General UNESCO

Free entry but donations welcome please.

Info. and registration: or 0207-791-1717

Carol Turner, Chair of London Region CND, went to Hiroshima this August to participate in this Conference.

She has subsequently received the following message .

Dear Friends, 

The 2016 World Conference against A and H Bombs was successfully held from August 2nd to 9th in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the theme “A nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world”. 93 overseas delegates from 27 countries participated in the World Conference, including Mr. Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Sergio Duarte, Ex-UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Mr. Miguel Ruiz-Cabanas Izquierdo, Vice-Foreign Minister of Mexico.

From all over Japan, about 7,400 people took part in the Conference, which culminated in the signing of an International Declaration.

In the 71st year after the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the realization of a world without nuclear weapons is getting to be on the agenda of international politics. Encouraged by ongoing discussion on “concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that will need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,” the World Conference aimed at renewing our commitment to create overwhelming support for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

During the 8-day programme, participants listened to the testimonies of A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima, Nagasaki and South Korea, and the victims of nuclear tests and nuclear power plant accidents, amid deepened recognition that nuclear weapons threaten the survival of humanity and civilization. The International Declaration cordially requested that the UN Open-ended Working Group being held in Geneva, “include the commencement of negotiations for a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons in the recommendations submitted to the coming session of the UN General Assembly, in the hope that a world without nuclear weapons can be achieved while some Hibakusha are still alive.

Another focus of the Conference was on the current situation of A-bombed Japan and tasks facing the anti-A and H-bombs movement.

Internationally, the Japanese government has spoken for the interests of nuclear weapons states and opposed a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.  Domestically, it is forcing Japan to become a war-fighting country with nuclear powers through revising the Constitution that prohibits use of force as a means of settling international disputes and renounces war potential and the right of belligerency. On the other hand, a wide range of people, irrespective of difference of thought and creed, have risen up together to defend the Constitution and stop Japan’s use of force and the construction of a new military base in Okinawa. The International Declaration expressed solidarity with Japan’s movement to defend the Constitution and achieve a nuclear free peaceful Japan.

Actions aimed at a successful Conference were conducted in advance - the Hibakusha appeal, petition campaigns and A-bomb photo exhibitions were held all over Japan. Starting 3 months ago from Tokyo to Hiroshima and Nagasaki with 11 major routes., a total of 100,000 people, including young marchers from abroad, took part in the Peace March.

We express our deep gratitude to you all for your actions supporting the Conference such as sending delegates and/or messages and taking solidarity actions. Now that international politics is entering a crucial stage on moves toward a total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons, we are firmly determined to take the lead in implementing the decisions of the Conference and developing grass-roots actions and cooperation.

We sincerely hope that our mutual support and solidarity will develop further to achieve a nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world.

Organizing Committee 
World Conference against A and H Bombs
2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
113-0034 Japan

Local Reports

people gathered to remember HiroshimaHiroshima Commemoration

We gathered on the riverbank at Canbury Gardens as usual, and were joined by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Rowena Bass and Escort Mr Alasdair Rennie. For once it was a beautiful evening, but we had decided this year not to launch our large boats made many years ago by Norman Smith, one of our former Chairs. This was mainly because they are so difficult to control in the usual strong winds and current.

Instead most people laid white flowers on the water in memory of the dead. Some of our Japanese friends launched beautiful traditional hand-made lanterns.

Cllr. Rowena Bass gave a short speech and I spoke of the need to ensure this never happens again, by moving towards outlawing nuclear weapons completely, not just by fine and hopeful words, after which we held a minute's silence before floating our flowers and boats.

Many newsletters and leaflets were given out to passers by, most of whom were appreciative, some stopping to join us for a while.

Exhibition:- The Challenging Road to Peace since the First World War.

This excellent exhibition was displayed in All Saints' Church Kingston from July 29th to August 12th. It was set up by its founder and designer, Rupert Gude from Tavistock Peace Action Group, and with the permission of Rev. Jonathan Wilkes.

We were also able to display the names of the 2,200 local Kingston area men killed in World War One, and also details of local conscientious objectors. Many thanks to Hilary Evans for organising this.

There was a Comments book provided and some very interesting comments were left, mostly complimentary. Here are a few, but I have left off the names as the people have not given permission to be included here:-

"Well done. Everyone needs to see this exhibition - everyone needs to think. The world can be a better place if only we put our minds to it. (The German panels are especially thought-provoking)."

"Very moving - will do everything I can to oppose war."

"Excellent exhibition - truly brings it home."

"Excellent. The horrors of war make the case for peace."

"Thank you for your important work. Keep it up. Never again."

"A really interesting exhibition. Excellent! So much information. This should be shown all over the country."

"What contributes to war? Nationalism, strong feeling of the importance of one's own nation. Resentment about the behaviour of and threat from neighbouring countries. Dislike and suspicion of foreigners. Does this ring any bells with Brexit voters? We should be building bridges between nations, not destroying them."

"When will we ever learn? The slide into war in 1914 echoes the situation today and still the political elites have the same attitudes."

Richmond and Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign

people gathered to remember Hiroshima

Richmond and Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a vigil on Saturday September 20th, in remembrance of the 2014 attack on Gaza. The names of 500 children killed by the Israeli shelling were read out. Also a poem by Michael Rosen "Don't Mention the Children" which was written in response to Israeli TV and radio reports being banned from naming any child victims. Jenny Tonge, who remains a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian cause also addressed the vigil.

Michael Rosen's poem follows:

Don't mention the children.

Don't name the dead children.
The people must not know the names
of the dead children.
The names of the children must be hidden.
The children must be nameless.
The children must leave this world
having no names.
No one must know the names of
the dead children.
No one must say the names of the
dead children.
No one must even think that the children
have names.
People must understand that it would be dangerous
to know the names of the children.
The people must be protected from
knowing the names of the children.
The names of the children could spread
like wildfire.
The people would not be safe if they knew
the names of the children.
Don’t name the dead children.
Don’t remember the dead children.
Don’t think of the dead children.
Don’t say: ‘dead children’.

Best Speech a U.S. President Ever Gave

By David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War

In planning an upcoming conference and nonviolent action aimed at challenging the institution of war, with the conference to be held at American University, I can’t help but be drawn to the speech a U.S. president gave at American University a little more than 50 years ago. Whether or not you agree with me that this is the best speech ever given by a U.S. president, there should be little dispute that it is the speech most out of step with what anyone will say at either the Republican or the Democratic national convention this year.

President John F. Kennedy was speaking at a time when, like now, Russia and the United States had enough nuclear weapons ready to fire at each other on a moment’s notice to destroy the earth for human life many times over. At that time, however, in 1963, there were only three (actually 4 – Ed) nations, not the current nine, with nuclear weapons, and many fewer than now with nuclear energy. NATO was far removed from Russia’s borders. The United States had not just facilitated a coup in Ukraine. The United States wasn’t organizing military exercises in Poland or placing missiles in Poland and Romania. Nor was it manufacturing smaller nukes that it described as “more usable.” The work of managing U.S. nuclear weapons was then deemed prestigious in the U.S. military, not the dumping ground for drunks and misfits that it has become. Hostility between Russia and the United States was high in 1963, but the problem was widely known about in the United States, in contrast to the current vast ignorance. Some voices of sanity and restraint were permitted in the U.S. media and even in the White House. Kennedy was using peace activist Norman Cousins as a messenger to Nikita Khrushchev, whom he never described, as Hillary Clinton has described Vladimir Putin, as “Hitler.”

Kennedy framed his speech as a remedy for ignorance, specifically the ignorant view that war is inevitable. This is the opposite of what President Barack Obama said recently in Hiroshima and earlier in Prague and Oslo. Kennedy called peace “the most important topic on earth.” It is a topic not touched on in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. I fully expect this year’s Republican national convention to celebrate ignorance.

Kennedy renounced the idea of a “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” precisely what both big political parties now and most speeches on war by most past U.S. presidents ever have favored. Kennedy went so far as to profess to care about 100% rather than 4% of humanity:


Sign the Declaration of Peace:

I must admit I was shocked when I read this from David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War. Bearing in mind President Obama has just been to Hiroshima, the first American President to do so since the bombing 71 years ago, but still somehow omitted to apologise, it is chilling to consider what extremely dangerous times we live in. Especially shocking is that somehow most people seem to think it is far less dangerous now. Ed.

Welsh Conscientious Objectors Register

Thanks to Phil Cooper for finding this (he says he was glad to be able to contribute it now we no longer have the services of our former Wales Correspondent Lisbeth Rowland-Hughes who sadly died in 2014).

It took undoubted bravery to fight in World War One, however a research project is now shedding new light on the courage it also required not to fight.

As part of the Heritage Lottery-funded Wales For Peace project, academics have produced a database of about 900 Welsh conscientious objectors, as well as new details on the reasons they would not take up arms.

The online resource for Wales - part of the wider UK Pearce Register of Conscientious Objectors - is being launched at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

Upon the introduction of conscription in 1916, 16,000 men across Britain refused to serve in combat roles on grounds of personal, political or religious conscience.

Most agreed to work as stretcher-bearers or labourers at the front, or otherwise undertake tasks deemed vital to the war effort at home, such as farming or mining.

However, for a small minority their opposition to the war was so implacable their consciences would not allow them to perform any task which could conceivably have been seen as supporting or furthering the conflict.

As academic Aled Eirug - who is completing a PhD into Welsh conscientious objection - explained, for these men the war could be every bit as tough as it was for those at the front.

"I think there was some willingness by the government to compromise - especially on grounds of religion - but only with those conscientious objectors who were willing to co-operate with alternative, non-combat service.

"For the absolutists, who refused to have any part of the war whatsoever, David Lloyd George had stated that he would make it a very tough war indeed.

"They were repeatedly imprisoned - because as soon as they'd served one sentence they'd be immediately called up again - and some died from the conditions in which they were held. Those who survived faced intimidation and ridicule back home, and there were even attempts to deny them the vote."

Mr Eirug was moved to research the topic as his own grandfather and father were conscientious objectors, in World War One and World War Two respectively.

It is clear there were many different factors motivating conscientious objection in Wales.

Traditionally Welsh nonconformist beliefs have been cited as the primary motivation, with theologians at Bala-Bangor College heading a vocal opposition to conscription.

But Mr Eirug believes this was not the whole story.

"Whilst it's true to say Welsh nonconformists played a leading role, there were many other religious groups involved: Quakers, Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians to name just a few.

"For others, their objection was political rather than religious. In South Wales where the Independent Labour Party was gaining traction, many socialists felt that they couldn't take part in a capitalist war between two imperial powers.

"There was also a sense that the British Army didn't represent Welsh people; something which Lloyd George was at pains to address in his recruitment speeches."

Much of Mr Eirug's research has been made possible by Cyril Pearce, a retired senior lecturer and honorary research fellow at the University of Leeds.

He has spent his career recreating the Pearce Register of UK Conscientious Objectors, as the original tribunal records were destroyed after World War One on government orders.

Using newspaper cuttings, diaries, letters and personal recollections, the Wales For Peace team have now collated the Welsh entries into a database.

It enables users to search names, beliefs and motivations for objecting, some family details, and to search groups of conscientious objectors from specific towns or counties.

The database will be officially launched at 1pm in the Eisteddfod's Peace Tent, and will go live online from 1 September - in time for use by schools and colleges in the new academic year.

Mr Eirug added: "The register serves as a catalyst for further in-depth research into the lives of individual objectors across Wales, and serves as a timely reminder that carrying a gun was not the only way to become a hero."

This item from the BBC Website

From our Australian Correspondent - Harry Davis

George Orwell and pacifism

George Orwell despised pacifists.  He regarded them as dangerously wrong-headed, probably cowards, and even as fascists beneath the skin, though he did not explain this latter charge.  In England your England Orwell wrote:

Pacifism is a psychological curiosity rather than a political movement.  Some of the extreme pacifists, starting out with a complete renunciation of violence, have ended by warmly championing Hitler, and even toying with anti-semitism.  ‘Pure’ pacifism which is a by-product of naval power, can only appeal to people in very sheltered positions. Moreover, being negative and irresponsible it does not inspire much devotion.  Of the membership of the Peace Pledge Union, less than fifteen percent even pay their annual subscriptions.  None of these people, pacifists, communists or Blackshirts could bring a large-scale stop-the-war movement into being by their own efforts.  But they might help to make things very much easier for a treacherous government negotiating surrender.  Like the French communists, they might become half-conscious agents of millionaires

It should be said in mitigation, these wild words were written in dangerous times, during a world war when Britain stood alone against Hitler, and was under threat of a Nazi invasion.  Orwell considered that the only way to deal with the Hitlers of the world was to oppose them by force of arms.  He practised what he preached.  When Franco started a civil war in Spain to overthrow an elected socialist government, Orwell went to Spain, joined POUM, the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification, and fought the fascists with his rifle.  He was wounded, and was lucky to survive.  The bullet that went through his neck, a narrow area full of large blood vessels and a spinal column,  almost miraculously failed to kill him.  We were lucky too.  If Orwell had died then, the world would have been deprived of his perceptive writing, including perhaps the most important novel of the war-torn 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-four.

Orwell was of course concerned to achieve a peaceful world, and it seemed to him that, given the state of things in the real world, stability could only be achieved by force of arms, by opposing tyrants with equal or preferably greater force. Hence his distrust and contempt for pacifists whose refusal to fight, it seemed to him, would make the tyrant’s job so much simpler.  This remains a common belief, and is understandable.  The briefest glance at history reveals a world in almost continual conflict as far back as the reader wishes to look.  Humans have long been their own worst enemy.  Orwell’s position was the common view of the majority of those of goodwill.

But the problem posed by war was changing with the increasing destructive power of weaponry.  As early as the seventeenth century, war was changing from man to man contests, which required strength and bravery, to killing remotely by simply pressing a trigger.   A passage from Don Quixote describes the changing face of war, a change that was to accelerate hugely with the invention of more efficient ways of killing.

Blessed were the times which lacked the dreadful fury of those diabolical engines, the artillery, whose inventor I firmly believe is now receiving the reward for his devilish invention; an invention which allows a base and cowardly hand to take the life of a brave knight in such a way that, without his knowing how or why, when his valiant heart is at his fullest of furious courage, there comes some random shot – discharged perhaps from a man who fled in terror from the flash the accursed machine made in firing – and puts an end in a moment to the consciousness of one who deserve to enjoy life  for many an age.

Imagine what Cervantes would have thought of the atom bomb, a bomb dropped from an invulnerable aircraft.

To return to George Orwell, he wrote perceptively (You and the atom bomb) on the new nuclear world the bomb introduced.  He coined the term ‘cold war’, and recognised the consequences flowing from the Hiroshima bomb. This inspired his novel "Nineteen-Eighty-Four"

Harry concludes: War prevention, always desirable, has today become an urgent imperative. The progress of military technology has ensured that destruction on a quite unimaginable scale is now possible. The old attitudes, exemplified in George Orwell’s essay, are now dangerously out of date.

Thank you Phil Cooper, for spotting the original story in the "i" newspaper and succeeding in getting this letter published:-

Your caption story (Nagasaki remembers - August 10th) is at pains to tell us the type of aircraft, name of the atomic bomb and name of the American pilot responsible for the destruction of the city. I think a more important fact to include would have been that the blast killed an estimated 80,000 Japanese men, women and children. 

Some Announcements:-

Kneeling Chair - For Sale for our funds

This office/desk chair has brown upholstered seat and leg rest with a sturdy light wood frame and adjustable height. It is in very good condition, is on castors and very comfortable for prolonged use at a desk or computer. Many find these seats a great help in relieving back pain while seated.

If anyone is seriously interested in this please contact Maggie on 8549 0086 to make an offer.

Our member Louis Sheldon-Williams has been collecting items for shipment to Syria

...for some time. He welcomes warm clothes including children’s, in good condition, tents and sleeping bags, toiletries, especially items such as soap and tooth-paste, in-date medicines if you have access to these. If you have any of these items to donate, please 'phone Louis, 0208-287-0413 and he can arrange collection, or delivery to his house in Surbiton.

TWO exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum

- but you'll have to be quick to catch the first one - it ends on September 4th.

This is Peace Signs - Edward Barber photographed anti-nuclear protests from the early 1980's at Greenham Common and elsewhere. I wonder how we would have felt then had we known that 30 years on we would still have been battling against Trident renewal?

The 2nd exhibition is on until August 28th 2017, so no excuse for missing this. Entitled War on Terror, it features the work of Edmund Clark, who says he engages with state censorship and control to find new visual strategies to confront these. Extraordinary rendition, control orders and Guantanamo Bay are considered. This seems to me to be a "must-see".

Update on item in our August Newsletter (see Page 5 Legal Action) about the Iraq War Families Campaign Group

Reg Keys and Roger Bacon (Local men whose sons were killed in Iraq) are pleased to tell us that not only has their crowd-funding appeal reached its target of £150,000, it has been exceeded, now standing at £160,158.

They say "we are delighted to tell you of this success, and to thank you all for your kindness and generosity, without which our action would not have been possible. Our legal team is now working on potential action and further analysis of the Chilcot report."

Important Announcement

Our November Meeting will take place on - Monday 7th November, NOT the usual Wednesday. Dr. Rupert Gude, who designed and created the recent Challenging Road to Peace Exhibition, is coming to speak to us, at the Quaker Centre, Fairfield East, Kingston. This meeting will take place in the Hall. Doors open 7pm for 7.30 start.

Refreshments available.

Newsletter Editor for this issue: Rosemary Addington

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this edition are not necessarily those of Kingston Peace Council/CND