East Lothian Courier – 25 April 2024


These are worrying times. The plight of Palestinians becomes more harrowing every day and now a wider conflict threatens. Similarly, in Ukraine the war wages on and the risks of it drawing in many more lands grows. De-escalation is required, yet instead there’s bellicosity and planning for war.

My grandfather served in the First World War and my father in the Second. Both hoped that no future generations would have to endure what they did. Sadly, it didn’t work out for the former. But I have been fortunate and although there have been conflicts peace has largely reigned, and my generation has avoided the horrors that others required to go through.

It’s a push for peace not a rush to war that’s required but instead there’s ramping up with armaments and defence spending. The language at Westminster’s now stark with “pre-war positioning” becoming a common phrase. The danger is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Yet those most strident will not be at the front, and as it past wars their families will likely avoid service.

Never mind that in this age of nuclear weapons, any war would be like no other before it, threatening all humanity not just those at the front. It’s why Israel requires to be restrained and cannot be allowed to demand the sacrifice of Palestinian rights as their price.

Similarly in Europe diplomatic steps must be taken not just further ramping up of the conflict. Pope Francis was pilloried by some for calling for peace in both regions. But he’s right not just in adhering to his Christian values but in seeking to protect humanity.

War comes at a huge cost. When people are struggling to heat their homes or feed their children it’s war on poverty that’s needed. We also face a climate disaster for our planet, yet war exacerbates that more than anything.

Target dates for reducing emissions are rendered irrelevant as war planes and missiles fly overhead, polluting the atmosphere, and the earth when they land their payload. It requires all parties, but a start needs made somewhere. We need peace on earth.