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This pandemic is only a small taste of nuclear annihilation

In order to ensure a future for ourselves and future generations, we need beat the virus — then go on to build a common security through nuclear disarmament, writes BILL KIDD

ON January 23 this year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday Clock to “100 Seconds to Midnight.” That is the closest to planetary disaster our world has ever been and it’s due to the dual threats of climate change and nuclear weapons — policies that are way out of control.

Honestly, if you think that the Covid-19 pandemic has had life-altering impacts on you, your community and the world in general then I have to quote Al Jolson and say: “You aint seen nothing yet.”

The infrastructure of our civilisation still stands around us — and although it’s the truth and one that shouldn’t be understated, that the virus is a real danger — the madness of impending nuclear disaster would take all of our civilisation away.

Further, the cost of these weapons of mass-murder stands, at today’s estimate, at $1 trillion world-wide — think of the achievements that could be made towards the UN’s 23 Sustainable Development Goals, or indeed fighting the coronavirus.

The established route to disarmament would have seen all UN member states, disarmament experts, parliamentarians and civil-society experts meeting at the UN for the 50th Anniversary Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in April-May 2020 — this has now of course been postponed due to Covid-19 until next year.

Remember the “100 Seconds to Midnight” and potential planetary disaster? Well maybe, just maybe, the nuclear weapons states can hold off on Armageddon for a wee bit longer.

In July 2017 the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which it called on all states to adhere to as complementary to the NPT as an effective measure as foreseen in Article V1.

This has been opposed by the nuclear-weapons states and their lieutenant states who would rather waste vast sums of money and other resources on maintaining and developing even larger arsenals as well as on an advance of artificial intelligence and cyber-weapons operations.

Covid-19 is a killer virus stalking our communities and I believe it’s been seen that most of us are pulling together to face it down – we need to do the same to face down the existential threat of nuclear weapons already in our midst.

Bill Kidd is constituency MSP for Glasgow Anniesland and co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

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