Women and Families for Defence

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Women and Families for Defence was a campaign group to promote national self-defence capability started in 1983 by Conservative MP Lady Olga Maitland. Lady Olga was prompted to start WFFD by the amount of favourable publicity given to the leftist and pacifist Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and to the anarchist and Lesbian female protesters at the Greenham Common air base by the BBC, Britain's Liberal state broadcasyting organisation.

According to Lady Olga, “The CND and the rest of the anti-nuclear protest movement argued for one-sided nuclear disarmament which in the face of the Soviet build up was untenable. They felt that this was the route to encourage the Soviets to feel less threatened, and thus reduce their own arsenal of weapons. We took the view that multi-lateral disarmament was the only way forward – working together to reduce the level of weapons was the only way forward. It was our case that the risk to peace was not the existence of weapons themselves; it lay in the political will of those who controlled them. Wars start because the perpetrators believe there is more to gain than remaining at peace. We supported the concept of deterrence; being resolute in the face of bullying and intimidation. The reality of course was that the weapons themselves were a symptom rather a cause of Soviet thinking."

Lady Olga and her group went on to campaign with counter demonstrations a US airbases; taking part in debates on TV, radio, town halls, universities and so on. During that period she debated with Tony Blair who argued forcefully then for one sided nuclear disarmament. In time Lady Olga was received by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, had a face-to-face meeting with President Reagan, and finally made her way to Moscow. There she met Genrick Borovic, then head of the Soviet Peace Committee. Says Lady Olga,”That meeting told me everything I suspected. He was the mastermind for the anti-nuclear protest movements all over the free world. He asked me why I was so unkind to Monsignor Bruce Kent and Joan Ruddock [prominent pacifist activists in the UK]?

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, WFFD reformed itself as the Defence and Security Forum, a security policy think-tank.

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