On 27 February, Scottish WILPF members joined around 70,000 people for what has been dubbed the biggest anti-nuclear rally in a generation in London. The demonstration, organised by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was to protest against the Conservative UK Government’s plans to replace its Trident nuclear programme.
Trident is immoral and costly
Scottish WILPF members have been protesting Trident for decades, yet the UK Government continues to house the submarines at Faslane, 40km north of Glasgow and plans to spend billions on replacing the ageing fleet.
“£180 billion, at a time when one in four children in Scotland live in poverty and under the Conservative Westminster Government the use of foodbanks in Scotland has increased 300 times, is an immoral expenditure,” says WILPF UK member Anne Scott, who lives in Edinburgh.
The UK Government refuses to participate in multilateral nuclear disarmament talks
Conspicuous by their absence, the UK Government refused to attend the United Nation’s first session of the ‘open-ended working group’ on ‘taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations’, which began on 22 February 2016 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The most recent proposal on the table is a treaty banning nuclear weapons, which would prohibit the use, deployment, transporting and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. This is advocated as the next step by a growing number of governments, as well as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a network of over 400 civil society organisations in 98 countries, of which WILPF is a partner organisation.
Meanwhile in the UK
On 4 March, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon announced a further £642m increase in spending on the replacement of Trident, increasing the money already spent on the programme to £3.9 billion. This is despite a parliamentary vote on whether to go ahead with the programme being scheduled for later this year.
Trident is dangerous
The humanitarian and environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons are well understood. 50 per cent of Scotland’s 2.5 million people live within 60km of Faslane. According to Scottish WILPF’s Anne Scott, “an accident at Faslane could destroy the whole of central Scotland.”
“I do not like living in the blast zone of a nuclear weapon. Trident is a weapon of mass destruction, it should not be replaced.”
The humanitarian and environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons are well understood. WILPF believes that replacing Trident means increasing the threat that nuclear weapons will be used again, whether by accident, miscalculation or design.
WILPF will keep following the issue closely. Keep an eye on this website or follow us at Reaching Critical Will to stay updated.