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Peace campaigner hails political leader who ‘wouldn’t press the button’

Speaking at annual Hiroshima Day gathering, Bruce Kent praises Jeremy Corbyn, and criticises 'perverse' media attacks on Labour leader

10 August, 2018 — By The Xtra Diary

Bruce Kent speaking at the Hiroshima Day event

BRUCE Kent, a long-time leading peacenik, is drawn to heroes like so many of us.

They leapt to his mind as he spoke without notes at the annual Hiroshima Day gathering in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury on Monday.

First on the list was the great physicist Sir Joseph Rotblat, who refused to work in the US on the invention of the atom bomb in the 1940s once he learnt it was going to be dropped on the Japanese.

Until his death in 2005 Sir Joseph, who lived in West Hampstead, was a leading figure in a world-wide body of scientists opposed to nuclear weapons.

Then he turned to another hero – one morecontemporary, Jeremy Corbyn. He has known Corbyn – a fellow campaigner against the use of atom bombs – for decades.

And from his obvious veneration of the Labour leader, it’s clear he feels he is being unfairly traduced by certain Labour MPs and the media.

“Jeremy Corbyn has put up with insults and abuse of every description from newspapers, especially the London paper, and abuse generally,” he told the crowd. “This is absolutely perverse. An honest man, who tells the truth when he speaks. When Jeremy was asked about the bomb he said, ‘I wouldn’t press the button’. Good for him, absolutely excellent.”

In a way, Corbyn was a missing figure in the square. In the past, the annual ceremony has hardly gone by without a speech from him.

He must have spoken well over a dozen times over the years. He was a regular “opener”.

It’s likely his advisers – a comparatively new team – steered him clear, afraid perhaps of the news pack.

Diary has spoken to several Corbyn supporters in the past week who believe in the political adage that the more you run the more your opponents will chase you.

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