'EXAGGERATED PROTEST'

Daily Telegraph – 19 June 2006

Neil Tweedie's account of the file on the October 1983 anti-nuclear rally (report, June 15) brings back happy memories for those of us involved in countering the CND. The rally followed Mrs Thatcher's landslide poll victory in which the unpopularity of Labour's adherence to one-sided nuclear disarmament had been a decisive factor.

Our Gallup poll confirmed that only 23 percent of the population favoured unilateral nuclear disarmament, while 67 percent opposed it. The CND's initial claim of 250,000 supporters was soon increased to 400,000, and I recall Tariq Ali referring on television to "CND's half-million-strong demonstration last month''. According to aerial photogrammetry, the total was 98,900, showing how massively exaggerated had been the earlier, smaller demonstrations.

One wonders if such happy days will return when the present Government finally announces its plans for a new generation of the nuclear deterrent which the CND failed so dismally to abolish.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
Shadow Defence Minister
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA