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The work of the peace movement is needed now more than ever

SCOTTISH CND continues to be very busy making the case for removing nuclear weapons from Scotland and from our world.
The centrepiece of our activities this year will be the Nae Nukes Anywhere international march and rally which will take place on Saturday September 22.

The event’s purpose is to demonstrate the level of opposition in Scotland and across Britain to nuclear weapons being based at Faslane.

However the event is also about presenting a clear challenge to the Westminster government to support the Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons Treaty which was endorsed by 122 countries at a special session of the United Nations in July 2017. 

This groundbreaking treaty has been open for signature and ratification since September 2017 and commits signatories to having no involvement in the production and development of nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately the British government has paid no attention to the treaty. It is hoped that the march and rally will encourage groups and individuals to maximise pressure on the May government to look at how it can co-operate with a treaty which could be a major step towards a more peaceful and stable world.

As well as planning the Faslane event, Scottish CND continues to organise public meetings and street stalls across the country.
We use this public work to relentlessly make the case for ridding our country and our world of the scourge of nuclear weapons. 

The educational work of Scottish CND, through our charitable offshoot Peace Education Scotland, continues to develop. 

At the time of writing there are a number of invitations to undertake talks in schools on the environmental and humanitarian consequences of any use of modern-day nuclear weapons.

Peace Education Scotland in conjunction with Scottish CND also recently organised a Youth Peace Academy in July of this year, which involved 70 young people from 18-30 in a weekend of workshops and talks aimed at developing campaigning and activism skills.

I am also delighted to report that Scottish CND has also gained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to organise a mobile exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of Scottish CND. There is a massive amount of material available and the mobile exhibition should attract considerable interest.

We hope to launch the exhibition in December this year and then organise a tour of towns and villages across the country.

In another interesting project, two Scottish CND members from Glasgow and the Fair Pley production company have put together a cabaret evening of entertainment that tells the story of the Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons Treaty. The show has already had a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe and another performance takes place at Webster’s Theatre in Great Western Road Glasgow on Friday September 21 — on the eve of the Faslane march and rally.

Another interesting part of Scottish CND’s work is our involvement in networks such as Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland, which explores the links between some banks, financial institutions and companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

Scottish CND has also set up a Scottish CND Trade Union Network which aims to involve stewards and individual trade union members in the campaign to scrap Trident and win support for international efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Despite the very credible record of activity by Scottish CND and the wider peace movement, we are very aware that our work is being carried out at a very difficult time.

Trident renewal is going ahead despite the escalating costs, and relations between the US and North Korea remain tense.

However, most alarmingly of all, the Trump administration revealed in February 2018 that it intends to continue with the modernisation of US nuclear weapons which was first laid out by the Obama administration.

It is also extremely worrying that the administration seems inclined to develop several new nuclear weapons capabilities, such as the development of submarine-launched cruise missiles.

Given the escalation in world tensions caused by the likes of Trump and some other politicians across the globe, it seems that organisations such as Scottish CND and our partner organisations in the wider peace movement are, in the words of CND general secretary Kate Hudson, now needed more than ever.

Arthur West is chair of Scottish CND.

The Nae Nukes Anywhere event will start Faslane Peace Camp at noon and will be followed by a rally at the north gate of the Faslane base starting at 1pm. Confirmed as speakers are founding director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement Sharon Dolev, Ekatrina Earsalovna professor of International Relations at the Ural Federal Univetsity in Russia, and Timmon Wallis, national co-ordinator of Nuclear Ban US. For more information email hello@nuclearban.scot. Also tickets for Teas Oot can be arranged by phoning Webster’s Theatre on (0141) 357-4000 or email hello@websters@glasgow.com.

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