…But I ask the marchers to understand this.
I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership. And the cost of conviction.
But as you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this:
If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for.
If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.
Let me read from an e-mail that was sent by a member of the family of one of those four million Iraqi exiles. It is interesting because she is fiercely and I think wrongly critical of America. But in a sense for that reason, it is worth reading.
She addresses it to the anti-war movement.
In one part, she says:
"You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq.
Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?
Saddam rules Iraq using fear - he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever - this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard pressed to find a family in Iraq who have not had a son, father, brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or “disappeared” due to Saddam’s regime.
Why it is now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America’s policy in Iraq, when it is right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of its horrors?"
We will give the e-mail to delegates. Read it all. It is the reason why I do not shrink from action against Saddam if it proves necessary. Read the letter sent to me by Dr Safa Hashim, who lives here in Glasgow, and who says he is writing despite his fears of Iraqi retribution.
He says the principle of opposing war by the public is received warmly by Iraqis for it reveals the desire of people to avoid suffering. But he says it misses the point - because the Iraqi people need Saddam removed as a way of ending their suffering.
Dr Hashim says:
"The level of their suffering is beyond anything that British people can possible envisage, let alone understand his obsession to develop and possess weapons of mass destruction. Do the British public know that it is normal practice for Saddam’s regime to demand the cost of the bullet used of in the execution of their beloved family members and not even to allow a proper funeral?
If the international community does not take note of the Iraqi people’s plight but continues to address it casually this will breed terrorism and extremism within the Iraqi people. This cannot be allowed to happen".
Remember Kosovo where we were told war would de-stabilise the whole of the Balkans and that region now has the best chance of peace in over 100 years?
Remember Afghanistan, where now, despite all the huge problems, there are three million children in school, including for the first time in over two decades one and a half million girls and where two million Afghan exiles from the Taliban have now returned.
So if the result of peace is Saddam staying in power, not disarmed, then I tell you there are consequences paid in blood for that decision too. But these victims will never be seen. They will never feature on our TV screens or inspire millions to take to the streets. But they will exist nonetheless…