I travelled down from Manchester in one of the innumerable coaches going down for the London demo. I knew no-one on the coach there were so many first time demonstrators there and when I got to the demonstration I was amazed that instead of taking up half the road we took up the entire road through some of the major thoroughfares of London- something I have never witnessed before or since.
Usually as a veteran campaigner I see dozens of people I know on demonstrations. This time I was only able to trace one friend by virtue of using my mobile phone and then it took an hour to find her the crowd was so immense.
Later I found virtually everyone I knew had been there. One of my daughters was in Mexico at the time and saw one huge demonstration after another coming up on the TV news from around the world and felt so moved and also upset she was not part of it-if we multiply by ten the people who could not be there because of age or personal circumstances then the anti-war protest was even more immense.
When we finally found our coach home after being among this concerted body of millions of people we were on a high and felt our immense protest must have had an impact on the powers that be.
I will always recall my anger and disappointment that the demonstration was publicly ignored by PM Blair on the news that we tuned into on the bus. I am also concerned that for many when the war went ahead anyway demoralisation set in and there wasnt a sufficently strong and multi-pronged strategy in place by the anti-war movement to keep up the momentum.
Ultimately if even this most powerful global demonstration of the massive ‘not in my name’ anti-war vote can be ignored by leaders who supposedly represent democratic governments, then other strategies and tactics needed to follow on from this which would have kept up the pressure in other ways-harnessing the Trade Union movement and the labour movement as a whole.