Scottish CND      Magazine
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US !
40 years well spent - poem by Margaret Harrison
Diary of key events
So here we are facing CND’s big four zero; a suitable occasion to look back not in anger at our past years, to assess our achievements, acknowledge our mistakes, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of ridding the world of nuclear bombs. OK, lets face it, nuclear free in 83 was not a good idea. I’ve still got the badge, and the sticker - I don’t think there ever was a T-shirt - but what the heck, if we can’t have a laugh at our own expense, we would be a sorry lot. And if that’s all we’ve got wrong, it’s precious little to be ashamed of.
People who have been slogging away for donkey’s years may paradoxically be the least able to see what has been achieved. You can be so close to things that you fail to see the changing broader picture. It’s worth while stepping back and making a conscious effort to see what has changed.
Fundamentally, our campaign has always been educational in the broadest sense; to change public and political perception about nuclear bombs; to alert people to the colossal dangers inherent in our nuclear policies so that they demand action. In this, we have been largely successful. Public attitudes have changed dramatically. We’ve come a long way from the naive “atoms for peace” euphoria of the 50s and 60s and the insane nonsense about controlled escalation a limited engagement on the European theatre etc. There is now a widespread and deep suspicion about things nuclear generally. After the Three Mile Island incident, Chernobyl and the disclosures about Sellafield and Dounreay, our nuclear barons have lost all street cred. They have been upstaged by Homer Simpson’s three-eyed fish and Steve Bell’s two-headed sheep.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone that will even attempt a rational justification of Trident. Many former nuclear War Lords now support the elimination of nuclear bombs. In 1996 General Lee Butler, former Commander in Chief US Strategic Command along with 60 other Generals from around the world called for speedy nuclear disarmament; likewise Field Marshall Lord Carver and Field Marshall Lord Bramall now support abolition. The Gallup Poll of Nov 7th shows a thumping 87 % majority of people want the UK government to support a treaty banning nuclear weapons. By any reckoning this is success.
Here in Scotland especially the situation is promising. Despite Blair’s New Labour - New Bombs policies, the Scottish Labour Party has consistently rejected Trident, as have the SNP, and the Churches. Since all UK bombs will be deployed out of Scotland as of March this year, feelings of resentment and exploitation may well intensify the anti-nuclear consensus that already exists. Our new parliament will serve as an arena to highlight this issue, even though it does not have legislative powers. On top of this there is the World Court decision, and the growing international pressure to conclude a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
I don’t think I am being over-optimistic when I say that we just may be scenting the first faint whiffs of victory in the air. So let’s go for the final push, make it the big one, and bring out as many as we can for the August 15th demo. This will be a chance for us to show that we don’t intend to throw a 50th birthday party, because long before then we will have got nuclear bombs out of Scotland.
Forty Years Well Spent
Forty years is an awfu’ lang time
Tae be marchin’ an’ campaignin’.
Ye’d think by noo that fowk wid ken
Nukes are nae use for fechtin’.
We’ve marched, written letters and leafleted.
Many have gone to jail.
The story of oor C.N.D.
Is a wondrous tale.
These wimmen at Greenham a’ showed they had guts
Tae camp in the cauld an’ the damp.
Inspired by their courage it made us a’ think,
So we stairted the Faslane camp.
At the stairt o’ oor camp, they were a’ in tents
An’ the midges were bitin’ sair.
They must ha’ wanted tae ban these nukes
A hale lot, tae mak them stey there.
Some were cuttin a hole an’ gaun through
An ithers went ower the fence.
They wirnae feert tae gang intae thon place
Wi’ the polis ready tae pounce.
We were singin’ carels wan Christmas nicht
Ootside the gates o’ Faslane
When twa Santa Clauses broke intae the base.
It caused sic a laugh ye ken.
We’ve had high jinks wi’ oor kerryin’ oan
An we’ve made a hale lot o’ freens,
But we havnae lost sicht o’ the dangers oot there
Which haunts us a’ in oor dreams.
We ken we’ll hae tae keep workin’ for peace.
It’s shair tae come in the end
An’ it’s daft when ye think o’ the millions each day
That oan these monsters they spend.
So grab yer banner an’ jine the gang.
If we let these nukes tak ower oor world
I’m feert it’ll be too late.
Diary of key events
17 Feb 58 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament formed
Mar 58 Scottish Council for Abolition of Nuclear Tests formed (later became Scottish CND)
Easter 58 First CND London to Aldermaston march
May 59 Scottish CND march in Glasgow
18 Feb 61 Glasgow march against Polaris
Mar 61 Protests against arrival of Polaris inHoly Loch including Glasgow Eskimos in canoes
Jan 63 Protests as USS Huntley arrives in Holy Loch
2 Oct 67 First British Polaris submarine commissioned
1973 Scottish CND march from Glasgow to Faslane
Oct 73 British Labour Conference adopts CND stance
Oct 80 Start of CND revival with rally in London
5 Sep 81 Greenham Common Camp started
14 Jun 82 Faslane Peace Camp started
2 Apr 83 Mass die-in George Square Glasgow
1983/84 Large protests against Cruise
26 Apr 86 Chernobyl disaster
5 Oct 86 Arms across Scotland by Parents for Survival
6 Oct 86 Reclaim the hills - mass tresspass at Coulport
30 May 87 Arms across the Tay
29 May 88 Glasgow Gathering for Nuclear Free Scotland
Oct 88 Peace Campers in control room of Polaris sub
Oct 89 British Labour Conference rejects CND stance
9 Nov 89 Berlin Wall comes down
1990 / 91 Protests against Gulf War,
1991 Collapse of Soviet Union
Nov 91 Last US missile submarine leaves Holy Loch
Oct 92 Rally & protests on arrival of first Trident sub
6 Aug 95 Hiroshima 50th anniversary; French test demos
15 Jun 96 Trash Trident demo at Faslane
8 Jul 96 World Court ruling on nuclear weapons
........... All British nuclear weapons scrapped !
Scottish CND      Magazine