As one of the founders of CND, he brought me up to fear an attack – and to protest against nuclear proliferation. Given today’s increased threat, why has nuclear armageddon fallen down our list of fears
How did fear of nuclear holocaust fade so fast? I was brought up at a time when we thought the world would probably end before we got old. But here we still are, the people who were young in the 60s, and so are the H bombs that terrified us. If anything, we are less safe now than back in the heyday of our CND demonstrations.
My father was one of the early founders of CND: a former communist who had left the party at the time of the Hitler/Stalin pact; he launched a peace march across Europe to Hungary in the 1950s. He was by nature a millenarian, living in fear of the end of the world in one way or another – and his fears were well-grounded. I went on my first Aldermaston march at 13, after hearing him speak in Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, as was his wont, he stopped at The Bunch of Grapes pub before the march left Belgravia, and never got any further. But I went for the whole four-day trip, and every year after that, Aldermaston was the great social event for me and my friends.