The rainstorm of almost tropical ferocity which swept across West Suffolk yesterday afternoon (28 June) was dying down as we assembled for a silent Peace Vigil to mark Armed Forces Day. But the distant thundery grumbles seemed – at the risk of being mocked for the use of Pathetic Fallacy – to be a reminder of the persistence and ubiquity of strife.
A new report from Quaker Peace & Social Witness describes Armed Forces Day as one strand in a government strategy to reverse falling recruitment and declining public support for military interventions.
This week, I've seen two movements that I love become sullied by complicity with the arms trade.
First, Church House (a leading Christian conference centre) hosted a gathering of arms dealers and generals. Now, London LGBT Pride are about to allow a section of this week's march to be used to publicise a company that is complicit in homophobia– and other human rights abuses – around the world.
Where will a group of generals and arms dealers gather tomorrow (24 June) to discuss the future of land warfare? A military camp? The Ministry of Defence? An underground bunker? No, it's the headquarters of the Church of England.
The next UK strategic defence and security review won’t be held until 2015, but debate about whether or not Britain should retain its expensive Trident ballistic missile nuclear deterrent is already hotting up.