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     Scottish CND      Magazine


The attitude of the Government to nuclear disarmament was summed up very well by a Labour Peer. Speaking in the House of Lords in a debate on the Queens speech, Lord Hugh Jenkins said:

It seems to me that the elimination of the nuclear weapon is on the backburner. If the Government had wanted to mention anything about nuclear weapons in the gracious Speech, they could have suggested to Her Majesty the words, "My Government have decided not to take any steps to implement the manifesto policy of seeking the global elimination of nuclear arms. My Government demonstrated the firmness of their decision in this matter when on Friday 13th November the vote of the United Kingdom was cast against eliminating the nuclear weapon at the United Nations and against an attempt to move positively in the direction of elimination".

The resolution before the UN General Assembly was called "Towards a nuclear-weapons-free world: the need for a new agenda". From the viewpoint of an antinuclear campaigner it was not a very strong resolution. The final vote was on 4th December. While the vast majority of countries, 114, backed the resolution, a handful, 18, voted against, including Britain, France, the US and Russia. Interestingly most of the NATO countries failed to follow the US lead and abstained. In all there were 38 abstentions.

When asked to explain how they would approach this the Foreign Office Minister, Tony Lloyd said: “We oppose the current draft of this resolution, which we have considered carefully, since it is inconsistent with maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent. We remain ready to support measures that will make a practical contribution to advancing nuclear disarmament.”

So the British government opposes moves towards nuclear disarmament because it wants to keep Trident.

Scottish CND      Magazine