The lorry carrying the warheads stopped in a lay-by so the driver could go to McDonald’s. So Russell, who’d been following the convoy, ran in after him and shouted: “Hey everybody, want to see what Britain’s weapons of mass destruction look like? They’re parked just outside!”
I’m in a café round the corner from the NI Oxford office, chuckling away at Nigel and Margaret’s story. They are die-hard anti-nuke activists, part of a network called Nukewatch which doggedly follows the bombs as they are transported up and down the country. They have documented brake failures, crashes and one hair-raising incident where a lorry carrying two warheads skidded on ice and rolled on to its side in Wiltshire. They show me photos of just how close a nuclear convoy comes to my house on a regular basis.
I had no idea. Before editing this issue of the magazine, I’d mainly thought about nuclear weapons in the abstract. The revelation that the Government is making new bombs all the time and driving them round the Oxford ring-road came as quite a shock.
If the powers-that-be had their way, we’d never know about any of this. The fact that we do is down to people like Nigel and Margaret, who sacrifice their time – and in some cases their liberty – to watch, track, bear witness and resist.
Jess Worth for the New Internationalist co-operative.
With nuclear weapons multiplying again, now is the time to seize the moment and ban them, argues Jess Worth.
‘When the bomb dropped on Hiroshima I was one kilometre from the explosion. I was 14. Now I’m 77 – a lucky number in Japan.’
It’s Easter Monday, and I’m listening to Yushio Sato’s story in the Great British drizzle, outside Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment. ‘My mother and sister died in the months following,’ he tells the crowd. ‘My brother and I survived – but we have had many diseases. 26 years after the explosion, I had an operation to remove half my stomach because of cancer....