I’m not a great one for mass protests. They are more ambles than marches and end up with barely audible speeches and much hanging about. There’s always the chance of rain as well.
But spring 2003 called for action. The count-down to the “shock and awe” visited on Iraq exactly ten years ago drew a considerable contingent from Eastbourne to join the largest demonstration in British History. A cross section of citizens was there. Their mood was resolute.
It came close to working. The inner Cabinet was seriously rattled. Even so a Crime of Aggression went ahead. It was the prelude to huge numbers of Iraqi deaths, the break-down of a whole society, a desperate refugee problem, and Crimes of War.
Was our protest a waste of time and energy? We did not stop the war; but something changed in British politics. We knew we were right; and the establishment – Whitehall, much of Westminster, the military and most of the media – were disastrously wrong.
An inner confidence comes with being right. For the first time millions of people understood that the system was not serving them. The bankers’ bail-out, the hacking scandals, the police cover-ups, and now food banks, have since served to reinforce this insight.
Ed Miliband tells us that he wants to restore the public’s trust in politics. He’s got the wrong end of the stick. It is the politicians who should learn to trust the public.
GEORGEAND JEAN FAREBROTHER,