'Trident renewal is a risk to the public'
The upsurge in grassroots political activity has benefited the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) twice in one year.
First we saw the dramatic results of the General Election - 57 Scottish anti-Trident MPs, 56 SNP and one Labour. Second, the Labour leadership contest resulted in a resounding victory for the Vice Chair of CND, Jeremy Corbyn.
The future of nuclear weapons in Scotland has scarcely been off the media agenda.
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George Osborne’s journey to Faslane on 31 August illustrated how the UK Government are spending billions on weapons of mass destruction while cutting support for the poorest and most vulnerable in society. A few days later a convoy transported nuclear weapons along the Edinburgh bypass, reminding us that Trident is on our doorstep.
The nuclear programme is a risk to the public on land and at sea. On 15 April a fishing boat from County Down almost capsized when it was towed backwards by a submarine. The Ministry of Defence initially denied all responsibility. Rumours circulated that it was Russian submarine.
On 7 September Penny Mordaunt, Armed Forces Minister, finally admitted that it had been a British submarine after all. She failed to mention if it had been a Trident sub sailing on patrol that had almost sunk the small fishing boat, although it almost certainly was.
The Scottish Parliament has taken a stand against Trident renewal in June 2007 and in August 2014. We are not alone.
Since 2013 there have been three international conferences looking at the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. Austria hosted the most recent gathering. As it ended they issued a pledge calling for action to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. This pledge has now been supported by 116 nations.
Alexander Kmentt, Austria’s disarmament Ambassador, played a key role in this initiative and his work has inspired disarmament campaigners around the globe. On 23 September Ambassador Kmentt attended a meeting organised by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, in Committee Room 6 of the Scottish Parliament.
John Ainslie is the coordinator of Scottish CND