Geoff Reid, a witness to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima who visited Wells in August 2013, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 on 18th January. Listen here.
ILLUSTRIOUS RETIRED SOLDIER OPPOSES NUCLEAR DETERRENT
On the occasion of his 90th birthday Field Marshall Lord Bramall, formerly Chief of the General Staff and “the country’s most illustrious retired soldier”, was interviewed by The Times (21st December 2013) which commented that “his military experience is unrivalled and his renowned intellect as piercing as ever….. He is scathing about the Cold War mentality that causes successive governments to cling on to the nuclear deterrent. ‘It doesn’t deter. We don’t need it, we can’t afford it. Look at 9⁄11. The US nuclear deterrent didn’t deter it, and they didn’t use it, they couldn’t have.‘”
In the House of Lords debate on Trident renewal on 24th January 2013, Field Marshall Lord Bramall had used his final speech to reiterate his view - shared by other generals - against renewal. “The first question, from a military point of view, is whether we still need the successor to Trident which the Government presently seem to have in mind. Will it be able to go on doing the job it is supposed to do under any relevant circumstances? To this I believe the answer is unquestionably no. For all practical purposes it has not and, indeed, would not deter any of the threats and challenges - now more economic than military - likely to face this country in the foreseeable or even longer-term future. It has not stopped any terrorist outrage in this country nor, despite America’s omnipotent deterrent, did it prevent the very traumatic 9⁄11. It did not stop the Argentines trying to take over the Falklands, nor did any nuclear deterrent stop Saddam Hussein marching into Kuwait or firing missiles into Israel. Nor indeed, in a now intensely globalised and interlocked world, could our deterrent ever conceivably be used - not even after a serious hostile incident which it had presumably failed to deter - without making the whole situation in the world infinitely worse for ourselves as well as for everybody else.
“For all practical purposes our deterrent has never been truly independent, and if this country had not had a national deterrent over the years, dominated by the formidable balance of terror between the USA and the old Soviet Union, it would certainly not be seeking to acquire one now. I see no reason why these circumstances should change, because conflict is moving inexorably in an entirely different direction. Indeed, even that often-quoted justification for such a status symbol - a seat at the top table - has worn a bit thin, with prestige and influence more likely to be achieved by economic strength, wise counsel and peacemaking than by an ability to destroy en masse….
“Other countries may not necessarily follow our example if we were to start to run down our own white elephant and be seen to be stepping further down the nuclear ladder. However, to encourage them in the completely opposite direction, to follow our particular stance, seems to me to be very irresponsible for a country such as ours, which rightly has aspirations to be a leader in international affairs….”
For this and other contributions to the debate, see here.
MORE TRIDENT NEWS
On July 16th 2013 CND launched its report Scrap Trident: The Real Alternative with this press release:
With the government’s Trident Alternatives Review being published today, CND yesterday launched a new report outside Parliament. ‘The Real Alternative: What the government’s Trident Alternatives Review isn’t telling you’, was launched by our General Secretary Kate Hudson who was joined by Labour MPs Joan Ruddock and Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem Tessa Munt and the SNP’s Angus Robertson. The-real-alternative-coverOur report finds that ‘The government’s failure to consider non-replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system is an abdication of responsibility’ and says ‘Non-replacement is a credible option, which offers serious strategic and economic benefits’.
We argue the government should disarm rather than replace Trident. The government’s Review is likely to advocate a reduction in the number of submarines and an end to their round-the-clock operation. CND believes this will be a step forward which will help open up the wider debate, but the full disarmament option must also be on the table.
July 2013. The BBC reports that the Liberal Democrats are considering calling for Britain to give up its permanent at-sea nuclear deterrent within the next few years.
May 2013. Jeremy Corbyn MP puts down Early Day Motion 150 on Trident Replacement: “That this House notes the findings of the National Security Strategy that a nuclear weapon threat from another state is of low likelihood; further notes a procurement cost of £25 billion and an estimated lifetime cost of over £100 billion for the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system; believes that there are greater spending priorities both at the Ministry of Defence and across other departments; and urges the Government to cancel plans to replace Trident.” 47 MPs have so far signed the EDM. If your MP has not signed you can send them an email from the CND website.
May 2013. Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix urges Britain to relinquish the Trident programme. He says the UK will not be more protected if it extends the life of Trident at a cost of £100bn.
January 2013. Nick Harvey, former Lib Dem Defence Minister, writes in The Guardian that Trident will not protect us, and that Britain can’t justify military cuts without looking at the billions spent on nuclear weapons. In February 2011, while Defence Minister, Nick Harvey told The Guardian that he tried to dig up the original justification for Britain’s sea-borne deterrent and found very little.
Hiroshima Day, Tuesday 6th August 2013.
During the day we had a marquee on Wells Cathedral Green, showing an exhibition of art by children in Fukushima. We were fortunate to have artists Geoff and Mitsuko Read with us for this event. When the tsunami struck Japan in 2011 they were living in Fukushima with their young son. As the nuclear power plant nearby went into meltdown, the family evacuated to Hiroshima and Geoff started a project working with children from Fukushima about their lives there. The resulting exhibition has been shown throughout Japan, Australia and the USA. In the evening we commemorated Hiroshima Day with candle floating at the Bishop’s Palace moat. Geoff and Mitsuko spoke eloquently and movingly about their experiences of fleeing a nuclear disaster zone and what is happening in Fukushima now, and we also heard from Michael Eavis and the Mayor of Wells, Theo Butt Philip. The Fukushima exhibition is online at http://strongchildrenjapan.blogspot.com/
Saturday 3rd August 2013. Hiroshima Day exhibition and information marquee on Wells Cathedral Green.
26th - 30th June 2013. Information Stall at Glastonbury Festival.
4th April 2013. Trident Campaign. In Wells Market Place, soap-box talk by Bruce Kent, Honorary Vice-President of National CND. Attended by Tessa Munt MP, Michael Eavis, and Andy Merryfield (Labour Party). Report in Wells Journal
23rd March 2013. Trident Campaign. Public meeting in Wells Museum at 7.30pm. Speakers: Wells MP Tessa Munt and Chair of National CND Dave Webb. To download leaflet publicising the anti-Trident Campaign and the public meeting on 23rd March click here
Saturday 22nd December 2012 - Carol singing outside Wells library on Union Street from 11.00 to collect for Wells YMCA and The Julian Trust night shelter (Bristol). £100 will be donated to each of these organizations.
The committee made this a focus of our autumn 2012 campaigning. On September 22nd we supported an information stall outside the post office, Wells Market Place, building support for their day of action on October 8th.
HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI AUGUST 1945
On Saturday August 4th 2012 we had a CND / Stop Hinkley stall & live acoustic music to commemorate the dropping of the first two nuclear weapons. (See photos.)
We were also very pleased to show a powerful Peace Pledge Union poster exhibition on their effect:
- Wells Cathedral Cloister (Saturday July 28th – Sunday August 5th)
- Wells Library (Monday August 6th – Saturday 11th)
LAMA Festival 8th – 10th June 2012
Two of our younger members, Quinn and Kama Miller, took the CND stall to a music festival in Lynmouth. This proved a great success, with over a hundred signing up to the Stop Trident campaign and Crispin Aubrey from the Stop Hinkley campaign speaking at the public forum. Seize the Day, a popular local band with a strong peace/anti-nuclear message, also played at the festival.