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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Whither Scottish CND: Beyond Nuclear Arms

Roddy Chisholm
(the article informs the content of two resolutions submitted to Conference)

Scottish CND has always campaigned for a land free of nuclear weapons. Our primary goal is a nuclear free Scotland and beyond that a nuclear free world. Many of us joined the Campaign when the Cold War was at its height and when there was a real danger of a nuclear holocaust.

The world has moved on. Now there is little real danger of such a conflict between the superpowers of Russia and America. The danger now lies in the proliferation of states which possess nuclear weapons and in the instability of such states.

There are two motions coming before Conference which call on the Campaign to look and to move beyond its original objectives. I believe that this is necessary for the following reasons.

While Scottish CND can influence public and political opinion at home in respect of British possession of nuclear weapons, our ability to do likewise in the new nuclear states must be severely limited, if not non existent. Our only possible hope of influencing thinking in these countries is by both example and by persuading our own Government that it is in its best interests to work for comprehensive nuclear disarmament.

While we all joined the Campaign to stop Britain from contributing to a nuclear holocaust, we all share a common love of life and hatred of the needless suffering and waste caused by war. The history of the Cold War was by proxy. While conflict between the superpowers was never realised, the two principal powers sponsored, aided or participated in localised conflicts through that era.

We all know where they were fought, we have all seen the television coverage of the fighting and of the suffering of the innocent. And the end of the Cold War has not seen any lessening of this. The conflict in the former Yugoslavia brought it home to us all that even Europe is not invulnerable to war and that parts of it are still highly unstable. Yet, I believe that the tragedy in and around Bosnia could have been, if not completely avoided, been significantly reduced by earlier and more decisive action by the neighbouring states.

Finally, we must look to our own Campaign. Although Britain is still a nuclear weapons state, and, although Trident is still based at Faslane, we should be asking ourselves, how effective are we ?

No one can deny that, with the end of the Cold War the public perception of the threat of nuclear war has significantly diminished. We no longer attract the numbers we once did. It seems to me that either Scottish CND can continue with a core group doing very useful work but mainly on a lobbying basis.

Or we can expand our aims to include working against non-nuclear war which would involve working against the arms race, Britain's lucrative arms industry, give support to campaigns against particular local conflicts and to mobilise all those who are horrified by the suffering and loss caused by any type of war.

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     Scottish CND      Magazine