Photos: Stop Trident National Demo, Trafalgar Square, London, Feb. 27, 2016


Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Stop Trident rally in Trafalgar Square on February 27, 2016 (Photo: Andy Worthington).See my photos on Flickr here!

Yesterday, February 27, 2016, I cycled into central London to show my support for what turned out to be the largest anti-nuclear protest for a generation, organised by CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). Tens of thousands of people from across the UK marched from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square to call for the British government not to renew the Trident nuclear submarine and missile programme, which, it is estimated, will cost £100 billion over 25 years.

As a lifelong opponent of nuclear weapons, I find it mind-boggling that the Tories — and large parts of the Labour Party — want to renew this ruinously expensive programme when we are supposed to be committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for disarmament as well as non-proliferation, and when we can clearly ill-afford it, as the Tories’ “age of austerity” continues to wither and destroy the very notion of the state as something that should provide a safety net for everyone, without which we seem to be committed only to an ever-increasing gulf between the rich and the poor.

MPs are expected to vote on the renewal of Trident at some point this year, and unfortunately the Parliamentary Labour Party is not entirely united behind Jeremy Corbyn, who spoke at the rally, and who has been a lifelong member of CND. See my article from last summer — and my photos — of Jeremy at CND’s Hiroshima Day 70th Anniversary Ceremony in Tavistock Square for a further show of his commitment to peace.

At yesterday’s rally, Jeremy said, “We live in a world where so many things are possible. Where peace is possible in so many places. You don’t achieve peace by planning for war, grabbing resources and not respecting each other’s human rights.” He also said, “Today’s demonstration is an expression of many people’s opinions and views. I’m here because I believe in a nuclear-free Britain and a nuclear-free future.”

He also pointed out that he has asked shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry “to carry out a review of Labour defence policy, including its stance on Trident renewal,” as the BBC described it, and called for workers on Trident to have their skills diverted into other projects to prevent unemployment should he succeed in getting the programme closed down.

Even if that is not possible, there is no valid argument for the UK to have such an insanely expensive programme. I understand that it is, to a large extent, payment for our membership of a nuclear club that plays a key role in the UN Security Council, and that those attached to Britain’s exaggerated importance in the world will not want to let go of it, but sensible analysts — as opposed to politicians with ego and pride problems — recognise that, even if we were to continue with something along the lines of Trident, the current model is disproportionately huge and expensive, even accepting that those involved in renewing it, or calling for its renewal, have a hugely inflated perception of the UK’s role in global affairs.

Also speaking at yesterday’s rally were Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood, the leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and, for the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP. Other speakers included Vanessa Redgrave, Tariq Ali and Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition.

Nicola Sturgeon said, “It is the exception to the rule to possess nuclear weapons, let that message ring out loudly and clearly. The use of Trident nuclear weapons would bring about human devastation and suffering on an unimaginable scale.”

Leanne Wood said, “The world has been and continues to be an unstable and unpredictable place but there are some values that we should hold on to through peace, through war, through instability and unpredictability. It is never acceptable, it is never justifiable to unleash weapons of mass destruction on a population. Nuclear weapons belong in the dustbin of history alongside the Cold War.”

Note: Please also see RT’s report about Royal Navy submariner-turned-whistleblower William McNeilly, who “leaked a report exposing 30 safety and security failures documented over his three-month tour on board one of Britain’s Vanguard submarines.”

A link to the photos is also posted below:

Stop Trident national demo, Trafalgar Square, London, Feb. 27, 2016

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

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19 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my photos from yesterday’s ‪‎Stop Trident‬ rally in Trafalgar Square, at which one of the speakers was the Labour Party leader and lifelong CND member Jeremy Corbyn. I also include some of my thoughts about why Trident is so unnecessary – it’s insanely expensive, it’s a commitment to warmongering at a time when we all should have had enough of war, and it’s an insult to everyone suffering an ideologically motivated “age of austerity” by Tory ministers who don’t mind committing £100bn for Trident over the next 25 years. Scrap it now!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    #Solidarity from Seattle!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan! We were definitely thinking globally, wishing for a nuclear-free world, as well as a Trident-free Britain.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Javier Rodriguez wrote:

    #Solidarity from Switzerland

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Javier. Much appreciated!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Torbjörn Englund wrote:

    Please sign and share!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Torbjörn. A great cause!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Zareen Taj wrote:

    Great photos Andy! Sorry didn’t bump into you there. Great crowd!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Zareen. Sorry to have missed you – but it was a big crowd!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Lilian Norman wrote:

    Wish I could have been there I always went to the CND demos but now too old but give to stop the war instead

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lilian. CND has such a wonderful history – the Aldermaston marches in the early 60s, the huge protests in the early 80s. It was great to see so many people mobilised yesterday.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Looking great! The people of the world needs to do this in every nation to stop the incessant build up of war machines (The US being the worst)

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree, Jan. Yesterday was a bit of a timewarp, a reminder of the extraordinary passion of the CND movement in the early 60s on the Aldermaston marches and the early 80s when fear of nuclear annihilation was palpable. It would be great to see anti-nuclear protests taking place in all the countries that have not yet decommissioned their nuclear WMDs – so, as well as the UK, the US, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea:

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Exactly. The push from the Pentagon now is to update the arsenal… In other words, lets build bigger, harsher and more deadly nukes…
    “Nuke Chief: Time Running Out To Begin Updating Nuclear Arsenal”

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Sickeningly predictable, Jan. The warmongers are so horribly relentless.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Ann Alexander wrote:

    Great photos, Andy. Was Bruce Kent there?

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, he was, Ann. However, I only listened to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech as I was chatting to people I met – which I always think is the biggest point of protesting, reminding each other that we’re not alone, that there are many of us.

  18. John Goss says...

    Solidarity from Birmingham, UK. The expence on ‘defence’ has never been justifiable when there are so many human rights issues to be funded. What a waste to invest in destruction when people are being forced out of their homes from want.

    It’s always good to hear people like yourself Andy, talking sense, when others, who have the responsibility of leadership, make flippant remarks about dress sense.

    A couple of photos from me. I had to climb up a lamp-post to get a view of the stage.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you John, and yes, it’s increasingly more and more obvious, isn’t it, how far too many journalists who work in the mainstream media are merely propagandists for the establishment. These days, Western authoritarian regimes don’t need to use obvious strong arm tactics, it seems, as the media is either on their side (as part of the same hideous corporate machinery of power) or self-censoring.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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