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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, January 13, 2003
    Straight talking about war
    Thankful today that Tony Blair has, somewhat belatedly, realised that "the trade in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons" threatens our security. Emphasis on the trade. Perhaps he and his colleagues in the DTI may overturn their addiction to trading weaponry worldwide, after this epiphany of his.

    And to investing so much in it. In Coracle today I read Molly Harvey's Diary of a Jailbird, her unadorned account of a few days spent in Cornton Vale for the non-payment of a fine, "a continuation of my protest (peaceful and non-violent) against the British Government's possession of weapons of mass destruction". SheÕd earlier been arrested for taking part in a communion service at Faslane Trident submarine base.

    Molly didnÕt take her decision to protest easily; her reasons for doing so are plain and profound:
      1. Trident is capable of destroying most of the Northern Hemisphere in 10 minutes. 30 million men, women and children would be wiped out. The effect of radiation would make much of the earth uninhabitable. I would be failing my children and my grandchildren if I did not make a stand against it.

      2. The cost of Trident is equivalent to spending £30,000 a day since the birth of Christ. Is this what we, as a so-called civilised society, really consider to be a responsible use of our money? I work in partnership with families living in poverty and social exclusion in Glasgow. I would be failing these people, whom I feel privileged to call my friends, if I did not make a stand against this obscene expenditure.
    Comparing Molly's straightforward talk with BlairÕs doublespeak brings me into the realm of Poet Laureate Andrew Motion who last week took the unusual step of writing an anti-establishment verse.

    As the BBC report put it,
      Motion's poem, entitled ÔCausa BelliÕ meaning the motives of pretext for war, highlights the division between country leaders and opponents of war because ordinary people struggle to have their voices heard.

      "The poem is not really concerned to address or question whether or not we should go to war, because we can't make a final decision about that until weapons inspectors find whatever there is to find," Motion told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

      "But it is about how I think we should be more candid when we are talking about what the causes of this thing are, what it is that is driving us forward."
    Causa Belli by Andrew Motion
      They read good books, and quote, but never learn
      a language other than the scream of rocket-burn
      Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad;
      elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.