Yorkshire Post – 3 February 1989
In discussion with me on January 6 about his Bradford School of Peace Studies, Professor James O'Connell paid me the following compliment:
"I feel you are someone of considerable ability ... I mean, I do not agree with your views, but I have a lot of personal respect for you."
It was therefore astonishing to see the remark attributed to him (Yorkshire Post, January 25) that my
"living depends on throwing Right-wing dirt".
This implies both dishonesty and a financial motivation behind my criticisms of the unilateralist stance of his 'Peace Studies' lecturers.
May I state, for the record, that I am motivated by a firm belief that world war is made more likely, not less, by one-sided disarmament measures; by a knowledge of the unnecessarily great horrors of the last war, when most of my family were murdered by the Nazis; and by a determination that unrepresentative minorities like the CND shall not succeed in imposing their dangerous policies upon the majority which continues to believe in the value of our nuclear deterrent.
It is, admittedly, not easy to keep and "open mind" towards Professor O'Connell, who declared at a conference at the School in September 1984 that:
"The Bradford School of Peace Studies is not an activist enterprise,"
but then added
"it serves instead to provide activists with the academic resources which they need".
That these activists were likely to be unilateral nuclear disarmers was indicated by his further remark that:
"The Polaris submarines give me a nightmare, rather than the impression of being guarded in my sleep".
As for the Ministry of Defence's idea of sending a temporary research fellow to the School, this in no way proves its "neutrality and open-mindedness", as the professor seeks to claim. I believe it shows concern by the MoD to ensure that, at least for a limited period, there will be one person on the School's defence staff who actually supports the defence policy of this country.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Policy Research Associates