Dodging the Disarmament Question

Lots of politicians and candidates for office  say that they are against nuclear weapons but that the only way forward is to work together with all the states that have them for a shared agreement to give them up. This is called multilateral disarmament. These folk also argue that because there is a danger that new countries will get nukes a shared agreement to get rid of them is a long way off.

photo credit: cndcymru.org

They claim that it does not make sense for one country to unilaterally abolish its nukes. Yet there are many successful states world-wide which don’t possess nukes and don’t  seek to shelter under the threat of another country’s nuclear weapons. Their claim is also like saying that it does not make sense for one country to drive out organised crime – it has to be a world-wide response. There is a half-truth in that. To persist with the organised crime analogy, it would need a world-wide response to unravel it all. But, it is unthinkable that any state with the will and the power to chase organised crime from its borders would refrain from doing so, simply because it wasn’t happening elsewhere. Such a unilateral act would also encourage others to copy and make global collaboration on the issue more likely.

And of course complete multilateral disarmament and the banning of nukes outright and forever is what we want.  There are worldwide organisations, such as ICAN, working hard and persistently for precisely that. Yet most of the people who make multilateral disarmament their reason for the UK to keep its nukes put nothing into these global networks. They seem content to defend the position of the few countries in the world that have nukes rather than line up with the great number of countries who want to see the back of them.

Some may have thought  deeply about the matter and come to their honest conclusion that multilateral disarmament is the only way. Yet for most it is a lazy way of dismissing the horrifying fact that on a 24/7 basis this country is threatening mass murder. In both cases they need to be asked two simple questions. What precisely are you doing about multilateral disarmament? Would you be personally willing to press the button to fire one of the UK’s Trident missiles?

David Mackenzie

 

Love Bairns Not Bombs Day of Action 14 Feb

This Saturday is Valentines Day and the Scrap Trident Coalition will be out on the streets saying Love Bairns Not Bombs.Scrap-Trident-Clydebank-2

Bairns is Scottish for children and we aren’t just thinking about our bairns, but bairns the world over and the bairns yet to be born. Nuclear weapons are so powerful and the devastation they could visit upon our beautiful planet and its inhabitants is unimaginable. Come and join us in leafleting about the Bairns Not Bombs mass demonstration and big blockade in April and spread a little love…

Stalls we know of so far:

Edinburgh, Wellington Statue, East End of Princes St from 12 noon.

Leith. We love Bairns not bombs, Independence for Scotland,
Yes Leith & Edinburgh North stall
Elm Row Edinburgh 12.00 – 2.00pm. 

Peebles, High Street 10.30 am.

Glasgow:

Vote with Your Heart Ballot. Donald Dewar statue and Buchanan St 12 noon – 2 pm. 

Scottish CND Scrap Trident stall outside Waterstone’s Book Store in Sauchiehall St from 2 – 3:30pm.

Stop the War Scrap Trident stall Buchanan St  St.12noon – 2pm.

Ayr Street Stall at Bridgegate House Irvine at 10 am to 11 am.
Street Stall will be followed by Door to Door leafleting from 11am to 12 noon.
Activities organised by Ayrshire CND -all welcome. Contact Arthur West, Ayrshire CND on 07826127759 for more info

If you are planning to do a stall at another location please post it on the Facebook Event Page here. 

Follow the Leader

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Next week, the Scottish Labour party will choose a new leader: Jim Murphy, Sarah Boyack or Neil Findlay. The three candidates took part in an online hustings for Guardian readers today.

A reader asked this question: “As Scottish Labour policy is against Trident, will you as leader of Scottish Labour advocate the democratic will of Scottish Labour members on this issue, or will you insist on pushing the UK party policy on the Scottish party?”

Their answers were as follows:
Sarah Boyack

“I’ve made my views clear – I don’t support the renewal of Trident. I’m proud of the work of the last Labour government to negotiate a reduction in nuclear warheads across the globe. Spending billions on acquiring a new weapons system would be going in the wrong direction.

We need to play our part by investing in our own UK defence and peacekeeping capabilities, supporting conflict resolution and using economic sanctions where appropriate.”

Neil Findlay

“I’m against the UK having nuclear weapons – I want the Scottish Labour party to be campaigning for the UK to cancel Trident.”

Jim Murphy

“I want a world free of nuclear weapons. There are two entirely legitimate views on what is the best way to achieve that – multilateralism or unilateralism. I’m not a unilateralist and want the UK to be part of negotiations to make the world nuclear-free.

I know that that is tougher at the moment when the likes of North Korea are trying to acquire nuclear weapons. But I don’t believe in unilaterally stopping being a nuclear power. I’m pretty proud of all the work the previous Labour government did to reduce our warhead numbers.”

So there you have it. If you’re a Labour party member who is against renewing Trident in 2016, or a union member who has a vote in the leadership contest, it’s clear, despite the obfuscating political flannel, that a vote for Jim Murphy is a vote for the continuation of nuclear weapons in Scotland.

Labour party members in Scotland who insisted they were just as opposed to nuclear weapons as we were during the indyref campaign now have a chance to do the right thing. The question is – will they?

We’ll be watching the outcome with interest.

30 Nov 2014: Biggest demo at Faslane in a Decade

Today close on 1500 people gathered in the sun at Faslane naval base in the first of three protest events planned to call on the UK government to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system.They travelled from as far afield as Assynt in the north, from Fort William, the Borders, and in large numbers from Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt.After walking along the site’s northern perimeter they gathered at its north gate, filling the entry bell-mouth and the near side of the roadway. There they made a noise that could be heard in Westminster.

Penny Stone led the assemblage in singing Down by the Riverside (and study war no more), Bobby Nicolson performed his anti-Trident songs. Lisa Rigby revived the civil rights anthem Keep You Eyes on the Prize and poet Gerry Loose read poems with an anti Trident theme from his new book Fault Line while Scrap Trident’s David Mackenzie read one of his own poems.

For many this was the first visit to the operational base of the UK’s nuclear weapon submarines. The reaction of Murray Dickie from Stirling was typical. He said:
“Walking along the miles of razor wire-guarded perimeter fence you realise what a huge financial cost this place is – never mind the abomination of what’s stored behind it. Great company, huge good spirits – awful contradiction with a nuclear arsenal just a few hundred metres away!”

DSC_0633People tied messages of their hopes for peace and disarmament all along the weld mesh perimeter fence. Three Samba Bands and the Protest in Harmony singing group contributed to the Carnival  atmosphere.

Mainstream media coverage recognized the importance of this story. BBC reported that “Hundreds Protest Against Nuclear Weapons at Faslane” with a photo featuring Scottish CND’s larger than life “Big Sandy” giant puppet. The Scotsman headline read: Carnival Atmosphere at Faslane Trident Protest.” The Herald said “Nearly a thousand people gathered at Faslane.” There was TV coverage by BBC Reporting Scotland which noted that “no arrests  were made” and STV.

Scrap Trident is now planning a mass demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday the 28th of March and a blockade of Faslane on Monday 13th April in anticipation of the next general election. The next Westminster Parliament will determine whether to replace Trident at a cost of up to £100Bilion.

There are lots more photos on our Facebook page. If you have photos or know of more photos that we can add to the album please send them to scraptrident@gmail.com.  And if you are thinking of joining us for the Big Blockade in April please drop us an email and keep checking back here for more information coming soon.

 

Well done everyone for a great day.

 

Stirling Uni Student Alasdair Ibbotson said:

Stirling Uni Students Report Crime of UK Nuclear Weapons

Stirling Uni Students Report Crime of UK Nuclear Weapons

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Last week 10,000 students marched through the centre of London demanding free education- so many young people don’t unlock their full potential because of cost. Last year 1,000,000 Britons used a foodbank at least once. Yet despite the fact they don’t solve any of the problems facing the UK, the government is robbing these people to spend £100bn on nuclear weapons, and that’s unacceptable.”

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First Minister Calls on UK to Not Replace Trident – MSPs Support Scrap Trident Protest

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and more than twenty MSPs today offered their support for the Scrap Trident demonstrators who will hold the largest protest in a decade at Faslane naval base on Sunday 30 November. [1]

Speaking in support of the demonstration First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged “the UK Government to listen to these messages, to cancel their plans for the renewal of their nuclear weapons programme and to withdraw Trident nuclear weapons at the earliest opportunity.”

MSPs Scrap Trident photocall 26 Nov 2014.  Image by Ivon Barthol

SNP, Labour, Green and Independent MSPs stand with Scrap Trident Protesters at Scottish Parliament. Photo Credit: Ivon Bartholemew

The First Minister said: “My opposition to the possession of nuclear weapons and to the basing of Trident in Scotland is absolute and I offer my full support to the Scrap Trident Coalition. It is my goal, and the policy of the Scottish Government, to secure the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Scotland and to support the pursuit of global nuclear disarmament. The Scottish Parliament voted to reaffirm its support for these goals on 6th August 2014.

“I agree strongly with the message of this demonstration and I offer the Scottish Government’s support for a peaceful and lawful demonstration. Through such efforts, the public and civic society can demonstrate to the UK Government the democratic opposition that exists to the continued possession and threat of nuclear weapons.

“I urge the UK Government to listen to these messages, to cancel their plans for the renewal of their nuclear weapons programme and to withdraw Trident nuclear weapons at the earliest opportunity.”

Twenty MSPs from the Scottish Greens, Labour, Independents and the Scottish National Party, including Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, on behalf of the First Minister, Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Greens, and Neil Findlay MSP Scottish Labour Party stood with the Scrap Trident banner and activists at Scottish Parliament to show support for the Scrap Trident demonstration.

Patrick Harvie MSP (Scottish Greens) said: “Many people will share my deep disappointment that the referendum outcome has not allowed us to reject Trident in the way I would have liked. However, the anti-nuclear movement is one of longevity and determination, and the case in favour of Trident grows weaker all the time. We now have an opportunity in Scotland to make Trident one of the defining issues of the Westminster election.”

MSPs Scrap Trident photocall 26 Nov 2014.  Image by Ivon Barthol

Green and Independent MSPs say Scrap Trident. Photo Credit: Ivon Bartholomew.

Neil Findlay MSP (Labour) said: “The UK should not renew Trident. The cost of renewal would be better spent creating jobs, enabling our  public services to pay a living wage to employees and building houses for rent. Trident is both morally and economically wrong”.

Brian Larkin, Coordinator of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and one of the Scrap Trident organisers said “In 2016 the next Westminster government will decide whether to replace Trident and continue to deploy nuclear weapons for the next 50 years. But now, for the first time in a generation, with the surge of political engagement in Scotland, it seems possible that the replacement will not go ahead. A raft of anti-Trident Scottish MPs could hold the key to a nuclear free UK and even a nuclear free world. These Scrap Trident demonstrations are intended to ensure that the question of Trident replacement is firmly on the agenda.”

MSPs Scrap Trident photocall 26 Nov 2014.  Image by Ivon Barthol

Scrap Trident Activists with John Wilson MSP. Photo Credit Ivon Bartholomew

According to Scrap Trident Coalition organisers the “Trident Still Has to Go Now” demonstration signals the beginning of a new phase in popular opposition to Trident in Scotland. Organisers say they expect more than 800 people to attend the demonstration, which will be the largest demonstration at Faslane in a decade. The Scrap Trident coalition has already announced a further demonstration in Glasgow 28 March and a blockade of Faslane 13 April 2015.