15 Feburary 2003, Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom
Thanks Carol, and thank you to every single person that's here today in the biggest ever political demonstration in the history of this country.
And today, there are 600 and more demonstrations in cities all around the world. Every country, every continent, everybody in the world has a chance today to say no, absolutely no, to war on Iraq.
We are a force that's not alone, not isolated, and very, very relevant to today's world. Those, George Bush, Tony Blair, [As-na 00:00:59] [Bal-es-co-di 00:01:00], who want war, they are the ones who are isolated and alone and desperately searching for friends.
Because there is no justice whatsoever in the planned war against Iraq, and I say that because there is much talk of the possibility of a second United Nations resolution. I say this. Even if the United Nations is bribed and cajoled and cobbles together some form of words that give some kind of pretext for an attack on Iraq, it would be wrong, and I would be against it. We would be against it, because we're against the war.
As a member of the British Parliament, I am very angry that we have so far been denied a vote on the possibility of going to war. I find it deeply distasteful that the British Prime Minister can use the medieval powers of the royal prerogative to send young men and women to die, to kill civilians, and for Iraqis to die.
I want a vote in the British Parliament, not to legitimise war, but to give me the opportunity on behalf of the multicultural community I represent, to vote against any war with Iraq.
Around the world, the image of this country has been reduced to that, of our Prime Minister and our Foreign Secretary, in all the conference halls of the world, whenever George Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney speak, all they can do is get up and say, "Me too."
Well, surely the message today in London, in Glasgow, and ordinary people on the streets of this country, is this. Why are we spending three and a half billion pounds on a war that nobody wants, when there is an AIDS pandemic sweeping Africa? When a quarter of the world's children die in poverty and starvation? And we say there isn't money sufficient for our own public services!
Well, the answer is an obvious one. No to war, yes to peace. Yes to rehabilitation and rebuilding.
For those who say that this is a necessary and just conflict because it will bring about peace and security: September the 11th was a dreadful event. 8000 deaths in Afghanistan brought back none of those who died in the World Trade Centre. Thousands more deaths in Iraq will not make things right. It will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation, that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression, and the misery of future generations.
You cannot humiliate the Palestinian people in the way that they've been humiliated and not expect some problem in the future. You cannot arm regimes like Iraq, Iran, and many others, without expecting further problems in the future.
Our message, our message today here in London, a million and more strong, is this. We want to live in a world free from war. The way to free us from the scourge of war is to free ourselves from the scourge of injustice, of poverty, and the misery that's associated with that. This movement, this movement is giving that message to the British government. Stop now, or pay a political price.
Thank you very much.