The purpose of this blog is to allow me to record my journey, the formation of the No New Wars organisation (whatever form that may take), the Eleven Eleven Twenty-Eighteen campaign and the supporting resources and networks of people and organisations.
This idea crystallised for me in 2012 when I decided it was not enough to be angry about wars being started in my name (that is, by my government) that I could not prevent. Instead I would do something. Not march with a banner, or send a letter to my MP, or write to the embassy of the enemy state, but instead stop the war in the first place.
I realised that I could not stop foreign countries starting wars. But I can do something to influence my own government. I could start a movement that makes it clear to our politicians that we do not want war, and that we will make them pay if they start one.
In a democracy we have only one tool available: our vote. If enough of us pledge to remove our vote from any politician promoting an unjust, illegal or unnecessary war and to instead give that vote to an opponent, then we can make the politicians and major political parties too frightened to want to start a war.
It does not even need many of us to sign up to this. In many constituencies it would only take about half of the MP’s majority to take the pledge to make the MP realise their next election might be their last. And if people who do not vote – which is most of us – sign this pledge saying we will turn up and make a protest vote, it will make the political parties sit up and think about the consequences of the actions of a few war mongers.
I haven’t done the sums in detail, but if this campaign had been in place by 2003 when the 2nd Gulf War started, and if just 1% of the electorate had signed this pledge, then 170,00 non-voters voting against Labour plus 1% of Labour voters voting for either of the other major parties, would have resulted in Labour losing the 2005 General Election.
Between 750,000 (Police figures) and 2,000,000 (organisers’ figures) people marched in London alone to protest against the 2nd Gulf War. Just 400,000 registered voters making a pledge would have more effect.
We actually can stop wars from starting by targeting the real cause: politicians who want to start a war. By telling them we as voters will end their political career and wreck their party’s future prospects of power at the same time.
Would you consider war prevention a big enough cause to change your vote, or to make you go out and vote?