14 April 2014, UK-Oxford

Anne Dodd reports on Global Day of Military Action in Oxford

A small group of Pax Christi members and the Fellowship of Reconciliation were, together, a visually colourful presence on Bonn Square, Oxford on Monday, 14th April. A big home-made banner clearly showed passersby the reason we were there; some took up the invitation to take part in the survey we did with the Budget Game. Using buttons and jars, people were invited to reallocate some or all of the £40 billion annual UK Defence Budget. Education and Healthcare proved the most popular choices for “reallocated” military funding. A children`s see-saw, with an army helmet on one end and a medical cap on the other was part of the effort to “shift priorities” in the thinking on Global and National spending. The “shifting priorities” postcards, produced by Pax Christi, were used to distribute to passersby. It was good to know that the Oxford event was one of many, nationally and globally. Shifting priorities will be a long haul but the Global Day of Action on Military Spending is a valuable opportunity in this.

They also handed out hundreds of leaflet’s, postcards and flyers, and had lots of good conversations with a broad range of people. It felt clear that people wanted to engage in the issue, and interestingly, some people were worried about the recent crisis in Russia, and felt that Trident was keeping the UK safe by acting as a deterrent; it was a strong reminder that that the narrative of nuclear deterrence is still strong.