Demilitarise royal weddings for a safer world says CND veteran Bruce Kent
A dramatic change in the way we conduct royal weddings would help to create a greater culture of peace, according to CND veteran Bruce Kent, now 82, who is coming to Marlborough tomorrow (Wed) to lecture.
He will be at St Peter’s Church (7.30pm) at an event organised by Marlborough Quakers, a stone’s throw from Marlborough College, where royal bride Kate Middleton was a student before meeting Prince William at university.
His lecture is entitled, From a Culture of War to a Culture of Peace.
He reveals: “On the day of the royal wedding I had a day dream. I wondered to myself, as I watched all that pageantry and the happy young couple, what a de-militarised royal wedding would look like?
“Prince Philip dressed as a senior life boat crewman? The two Princes as members of the fire service? A parade of nurses on their way down the Mall?”
“Finally, with all due respect to the unknown soldier of a war fought a hundred years ago, Kate returning to lay her bouquet on the stone circle outside Westminster Abbey which honours all the victims of war and violence, those still going on as well as past ones.”
A Roman Catholic priest before campaigning against nuclear arms, Bruce Kent was general secretary and later chair of CND before becoming its honorary vice president.
He believes education can play a greater role in creating a culture of peace that would make it more difficult for us to become involved in wars.
“If every pupil, starting at secondary school, were to be given a copy of the United Nations Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights we would have a more internationally minded population,” he says.
“As it is, young people know more about the highway code than they do about these key international agreements. The United Nations was created in 1945, as it says in the Charter's preamble, to save us all ' from the scourge of war’.”
“Yet we have turned the Security Council into a piece of machinery for authorising war not for preventing it.”
It has no right to authorise military action of any kind, including bombing Libya, unless it has exhausted all non-violent ways of resolving a conflict.
“If we want peace we have to respect the machinery of peace and make it more effective. Today the world spends over a trillion and a quarter dollars a year on its military.”
“A tenth of that sum could help to solve every human problem from global warming to malnutrition.”