The other day I met a well-known Lewes resident, a man respected for his work for the town, the county and for the United Kingdom.
He said the national mood now made him think of the 1930s. The Thirties took us straight into World War Two, and we have just been giving thanks for the courage of those who gave everything then to save us.
Today there’s a fundamental difference: any war between the major powers could become a nuclear exchange. And because it could, when one side felt its back was to the wall it almost certainly would.
A largish – but entirely feasible – nuclear warhead aimed at Gatwick’s runway could spell the end of Lewes and the Ouse Valley, if not from the blast and fire of the explosion then from the lingering radioactivity that would follow. More distant but probable South Coast targets include Portsmouth harbour and Dungeness power station, close enough to put Lewes in danger.
Our town reduced to ashes, our families and neighbours dying slowly and painfully? What possible gain could be worth that price?
And of course East Sussex would be only one tiny part of the devastation to engulf us – and many millions of our “enemies” as well. What possible gain demands that we commit genocide to obtain it?
Now is the time to say insistently that we will no longer support a defence policy which would result in the suicide and murder of countless millions here and across the world.
We do not have to relive the Thirties.
Prince Edward’s Road