Mid-Somerset CND & Peace Group
Welcome to the website of the Mid-Somerset Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace Group (formerly Mid-Somerset CND).
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Next planning meeting will be on Monday November 3rd, 19.30 at The Kings Head, Wells High Street. All welcome!
September 2014. The security Think Tank Chatham House has prepared a report based on anonymous briefings with Parliamentarians in London and Edinburgh. The report suggests that "a narrow victory for the No campaign in the Scottish referendum would raise 'major questions' about the future of the United Kingdom ..... A large number of people voting to leave the UK - despite a No victory - could also lead to the Government being forced to relocate the Trident nuclear submarine fleet. Trident is currently based in Scotland. However Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has repeatedly said that Trident could not remain in an independent Scotland. The report said: 'The referendum has highlighted the strong and widely felt Scottish opposition to the basing of Trident in Scotland.' It said that one option 'even in the event of a No vote' was that 'Trident might still need to be moved from Scotland'. The report warned that a vote for independence could also force the rest of the UK to let go of its Trident nuclear deterrent altogether. It said the political and technical demands of relocating Trident to England by a mooted target date of 2020 would not be possible....... 'The additional costs of moving the nuclear submarine bases could re-open the debate over the viability of Trident ...'" (Telegraph online, but the passage marked here in red is excluded.)
January 2014 Quaker briefing: download here
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. Our 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.
These are all peace related books/pamphlets which we have in our archive.
Any member is welcome to purchase for a small donation to the group's funds.
Please contact the treasurer and make an offer.
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