I’ve had short-term memory loss now for about five years – as far as I can remember – and although it seems to be getting better, recovery is very slow. It started in 2008 when the menopause set in but it took me a while to figure out what was happening: I would find myself somewhere in Leicester with no idea of how to get where I was going. I have lived in Leicester for 25 years, and the experience of losing all the maps in my head was very scary. I could see an image of where I was coming from – and an image of the place I was going to, but the area in between was just ‘rubbed out’. Not only that, but I started experiencing periods of psychosis as well; waking up every morning at 4 am and imagining that I was in touch with someone famous.
Now here’s what I discovered: as soon as I started sharing these experiences, women popped out of the woodwork everywhere – women I knew, women on Facebook, women I met – all saying they’d experienced something similar. So why don’t we hear more about this? If I’d known this was common in menopause I wouldn’t have felt half so bad about it. I wouldn’t, in fact, have thought I was going off my rocker. As it was I felt really scared; I didn’t know what was happening to me.
On the other hand, I am able to remember the 1980’s quite well. During this period I was an active member of CND, to the extent of starting up a group from scratch in Hounslow (Bruce Kent spoke to my sister’s dog, you know*) and one of the first things I did on coming to Leicester was to join the local group here. It was not only members of CND who heaved an enormous sigh of relief when Gorbachev began the process of glasnost; the whole world breathed more easily – but now, because of one insane bloke in North Korea, those terrible sabres are starting to rattle again.
I am against nuclear weapons on just about all imaginable grounds: morally, practically and financially – and it seems to me that the same arguments apply to these weapons as apply to guns, say, in the US.
Argument no. 1: our enemies have them, therefore we must have them
In the modern world, disputes need to be resolved by negotiation first and conventional weapons afterwards. Bringing nuclear weapons in just makes it more likely that someone will die.
Argument no. 2: you can’t uninvent these weapons.
No. Neither can you uninvent the boiled egg squarer, the radio newspaper, the razor phone and the internet fridge – but they are no longer in use because nobody wants to use them!!!
Argument no. 3: we have to be able to use them against terrorists.
The more nuclear weapons there are in existence, the more likely it is that someone will steal them, just as many armed robberies in the US are carried out using stolen weapons.
Argument no. 4: we must be able to defend ourselves
Nuclear weapons are not a defence. They are a gigantic, money-munching and highly dangerous game of bluff. And I haven’t even gone into the disastrous environmental implications of their use, not to mention the catastrophic effect on the health of populations.
So that’s enough to be going on with.