We went up to London today, to take part in a demonstration - against the replacing of Trident and calling for the removal of troops from Iraq. We had explained the demo to the children and they both said they wanted to go. We met many and various family members (four grandparents, an uncle and a cousin) and were quite impressed by the size of the turnout.
It was a slow demo to move off and Leo got fed up waiting. This meant I gave him a piggy back for the first half hour of the march. He rallied though, and Pearlie got over her feelings of annoyance that he was getting a carry. They managed the rest of the day without complaint – and we ended up having a cup of tea and bit of cake at the photographer’s gallery café.
Pearlie asked me if what we were doing would work. I gave her an honest answer. I remember going on demos about Trident, when I was about her age. A bit sad about that. But what I do love about peace demonstrations is the fact that there are always people off all ages on them – and quite varied outlooks on life! It is a hopeful thing that people turn out to demonstrate – even if I sometimes feel I’ve spent my life traipsing around the streets of London for causes never won.
At bed time I had the following humbling exchange with Leo.
Allie: “You did very well today, telling that Tony Blair that he is bad to want war and to buy weapons.”
Leo – his eyes filling up with tears: “But he should know that some people love him.”
Indeed he should – as should we all. I don’t normally use such simplistic labels for people as ‘bad’ but Leo didn’t miss it. I wish children could influence more of the insane things that go on in the world. People always say ‘kids are cruel’ but I’m often astonished by my children’s capacity for understanding and forgiveness. Anyway, Leo told me that he thought that we should chant:
“Tony Blair, you should apologise!”