10 January 2013

1981: Marching For Nuclear Disarmament...

From the Sunday Mirror, 25/10/1981: 

Thousands of ban-the-bomb marchers staged a massive demonstration through the streets of central London yesterday. 

The march, from Charing Cross to Hyde Park, was headed by Labour leader Michael Foot and veteran anti-nuclear campaigner Canon Collins. The 150,000 demonstrators shouted slogans like "Give us jobs, not bombs" and "Fall out with Thatcher".

Police adopted a low-key softly-softly approach and the protest passed off peacefully.

The march, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, ended with a mass rally in Hyde Park.

Mr Foot described the rally as "the greatest and most historic meeting" ever seen in Hyde Park.
"Only by disarmament can we properly defend our people in this nuclear world." 

1981 - "I can envisage a limited nuclear war in Europe" - President Reagan came out with some corkers - but 1985 would mark the beginning of a new era, which would include the end of the Cold War, as new Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev arrived.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I was terrified of the prospect of nuclear war. I was far from being alone. I even remember Gail of Coronation Street voicing similar fears in 1978! 1979 was particularly grim as the SALT II treaty failed because of Russia invading Afghanistan. As the 1980s arrived, things seemed darker than ever on the Nuke Threat front, but by that time I had decided that I could not spend my young life petrified with fear and was getting on with living. The rapid thawing of the Cold War ice after Gorbachev took office in 1985 surprised and delighted me and the formal ending of the Cold War in December 1989 was simply incredible. 

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