I believe in violence to achieve political ends. I should add, before some troll grabs that first sentence and uses it as a club to thump me: so do you. Why do I say that, Virginia? Bend an ear.
I pay my taxes, as I’m sure do you, to Her Majesty’s Exchequer. That money is distributed in various ways to meet various public needs. It also is sent to what is laughingly called the Ministry of Defence. Some £40 billion each year, so that guns and tanks and bombs and fighter planes and warships can be purchased and so that young men (and women) can be carefully taught how to kill their fellow humans, if H M government says it’s a good idea. There’s also the little matter of the replacing the Trident nuclear programme, which is reckoned will cost around £38 billion on its own. That’s for nuclear weapons which are designed to wipe out hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Think the Omagh bomb and multiply it by about a zillion. We help with all that.
But of course it’s not only Britain (the third biggest defence-spending state in the world) that’s at it. Practically every country has an army. Even the south of Ireland has one. The line is, as their name suggests, that they’re for defence. So what part of defending the sceptred isle was that Royal Marine engaged in, when he pumped a bullet into the chest of a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan recently? Was Iraq planning to invade Britain when Blair, in the face of opposition from millions of his own people, lied and then sent in British troops to back up the Yanks? For ‘Defence’ read ‘Attack’, or if that’s too much, make it War. The Ministry of War. At least that’s honest.
To quote my old class-mate Eamonn McCann, I’m a pacifist by instinct if not principle. But then to quote George Bernard Shaw, you know a man’s principles not by what he says but by what he does. I pay my taxes. So do you. We all believe in political violence.