On Saturday 13th April the Scrap Trident weekend of protest and action will commence with a march through Glasgow city centre followed by a rally in George Square. Taking part will be people from all over the UK and beyond, and from every walk of life. Pensioners, teenagers, families, disabled activists, public sector workers, private sector workers, unemployed workers, students, trade union members and even politicians will unite to demonstrate their opposition to squandering £100 billion of public money on weapons of mass destruction. They will demonstrate that it is time to redefine the priorities in our society and pledge this money to the cause of social justice.
The Scrap Trident march will be organised into blocs, each of which will be headed by a banner indicating how £100 billion could be better spent. Marching in the ‘Scrap Trident – Fund the NHS’ bloc will be medical radiographer Selina Duncan of Glasgow. Here she explains exactly why she is marching:
“As an employee of the NHS, seeing first-hand how the cuts affect our quality of care, I feel compelled to question the government’s judgement in choosing to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system at such enormous cost.
In its lifetime, Trident will cost £100 billion. According to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament , just the £25bn cost of constructing the replacement nuclear submarines could pay for: the training of 120,000 nurses or 60,000 teachers; a £2,500 bonus for every pensioner; or free public transportation for generations.
Constantly I hear about cuts to the NHS, cuts to education and cuts to welfare. Any cuts to Trident? It seems not.
The sickening reality in Britain today is that chunks are being taken out of already paltry benefits; the disabled and single parents are being forced to move house because they are denied the ‘luxury’ of a second bedroom, billions of pounds worth of housing benefit are subsidising high rents and low wages. At the same time spending on weapons, warfare and ‘defence’ is ring-fenced.
It is ludicrous that a government of millionaires in one of the richest countries in the world is prepared to cut the living standards of the majority of the population while protecting the richest. Even more dangerous is its readiness to go to war with increasing regularity in order to defend its strategic interests and protect its markets and access to natural resources around the globe.
Those of us who oppose this agenda have a responsibility to speak up. In particular, we need to make the point that the money spent on military hardware could be used to pay for better welfare, health care, housing and education without further taxing those who already struggle to make ends meet. We need to redefine society’s priorities and bring an end to the grotesque levels of spending on wars, which were never justified in the first place, on the Trident nuclear submarine system and on ever higher levels of arms and weapons.
That is why I, and my colleagues in the health care professions, will be marching on Saturday 13th April.
I urge everyone who opposes the government’s barbaric austerity policies to do join us.”
Selina Duncan is an Industrial Relations Representative for the Society of Radiographers
If you, like Selina, believe that at least some of the £100 billion earmarked to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system would be better spent on funding our National Health Service then join the Scrap Trident – Fund the NHS bloc in George Square, Glasgow on April 13. Assembly is at 10:15am. Look for this banner:
The Fund the NHS Bloc is for NHS workers, patients, carers and anyone who thinks that health spending should be a priority in society.