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First Minister signs call to ban Nuclear Weapons.



Wednesday 24th September was a busy day for disarmament activities at the Scottish Parliament.

First off, we had the First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon, signing the Global Parliamentary Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Ban . This is an appeal form current parliamentarians for 'all national governments to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons and leading to their complete eradication'.

Alan Mackinnon

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Alan Mackinnon. 

Alan played a central role in Scottish CND and the wider peace movement in Scotland over three decades. He was Chair of Scottish CND from most of the years between 1990 and 2011 and Secretary from 2013. In 1990 and 1991 he coordinated protests against the Gulf War. In 2001, within days of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, Alan took the initiative of pulling together representatives of civic society in Scotland to challenge the anticipated American response. He chaired the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War which organised Scottish opposition to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, including the massive demonstration outside the SECC in February 2003. While his own political affiliation was to the Communist Party of Britain, he was always keen to draw together representatives of a range of political parties, trade unions and religious groups to work together for peace and nuclear disarmament.

In his leadership of Scottish CND he constantly strived to build opposition to Trident.  As well as mobilising public opposition in a series of rallies, he was a key member of the Scottish Government’s Working Group on Scotland Without Nuclear Weapons and contributed to their report, published in 2009.  

Holyrood motion on submarine endangering fishing boat

Bill Kidd MSP has put down a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the UK government to hold a full inquiry into the incident in April when a British submarine almost sank a fishing boat from County Down. Please encourage your MSPs to support this.

Nuclear weapons on Edinburgh bypass

A 20-vehicle military convoy traveled across Scotland on Friday. The convoy included three Truck Cargo Heavy Duty Mark 3 lorries. These are specially-built vehicles which transport nuclear weapons. The convoy was filmed on the Edinburgh bypass at 2.30 pm on Friday - Youtube Video
John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND, said "70  years ago Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Yesterday a convoy drove around Scotland's capital city carrying several nuclear weapons, each one 7 times more powerful than the bomb which destroyed Hiroshima.  It is time we got these Weapons of Mass Destruction off our streets and motorways."

Faslane rehearses nuclear accident

Just 48 hours after a visit from George Osborne, Faslane will rehearse the effect of a nuclear accident on a submarine. Exercise Evening Star will take place on Wednesday 2nd September. A similar test last year involved evacuating some of the workforce.
John Ainslie, coordinator of Scottish CND said:
"George Osborne came to Faslane and announced that Trident keeps us safe. This exercise is a reminder that we are living next door to a nuclear time bomb. The Chancellor spoke of keeping nuclear weapons on the Clyde for the next 50 years. This would mean that the threat of a major nuclear accident would hang over Scotland for the next half century."

Osborne insults Scotland with pledge to renew Trident

Today George Osborne ignored the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland by announcing that the Conservative Government would press ahead and renew Trident. The Scottish Parliament voted against Trident renewal in 2007 and 2014. In May Scots elected 59 MPs, 57 of whom stood on a platform of rejecting Trident. But Osborne is turning a deaf ear to our views and those of our elected representatives.

The Chancellor's announcement at Faslane was presented as bringing jobs to the Clyde. However, when questioned by BBC Scotland Osborne acknowledged that the £500 million expenditure was "partly to ready Faslane for Trident replacement".  He added "These new Trident submarines when they come are going to be with us for decades" and explained that they would still be in Scotland in 2060.

George Osborne wants more nuclear submarines

On a visit to Faslane today George Osborne is expected to announce a further £500 million expenditure on nuclear submarines. 

John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND, said:

"We should beware of George Osborne bearing gifts. If you look underneath the wrapping, you will see that his real present for Scotland is more nuclear submarines. He is cutting benefits for the most vulnerable in our society and making the poor pay for more Weapons of Mass Destruction".


12 months ago Scotland came close to voting for independence. A second referendum, whenever it happens, is likely to put an abrupt end to Osborne's plan for Trident renewal.

In 2006 Tony Blair's government said that they would spend £3 billion on infrastructure as part of the Trident renewal programme. Former Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey has said that the total through-life cost of this project was likely to be more than £100 billion. 

In 2010 the Coalition government, in their "Trident: Value for Money" report, said the costs of Trident would be reduced. They announced that the infrastructure cost would go down by £1 billion. But at least some of this £1 billion was deferred spending rather than a real saving. It is not clear how much of the £500 million spend announced today is from the "reductions" announced in 2010.

Faslane does not have good record when it comes to major construction projects. The initial work for Trident was late and well over budget. The latest example, the Astute jetty was 4 years late. The final cost was £226 million, £93 million over budget. Osborne is following the established practice of regarding Trident as a black hole into which countless wads of cash can be thrown.


The Main Gate decision on Trident renewal is due in 2016. The government seems to be determined to pre-empt this. In January they allocated an extra £216 million to work at Barrow. Now they have allocated a further £500 million for work at Faslane.

Tide turning against Trident

The tide may be turning against Trident.  A combination of political developments presents opportunities for the campaign against nuclear weapons.  

Scottish delegation to Icelandic Peace Movement

Veronika Tudhope recently visited Iceland as a guest of the Icelandic peace movement. The main events were a talk to local activists to update them on the situation in Scotland, and a candle floating  to commemorate Hiroshima  but there were also plenty of other opportunities for further learning, networking and  bridge building.











Labour leadership candidates on Iraq and Trident

Voting record of Labour Leadership candidates in House of Commons:

  Iraq 2003 Trident renewal 2007 Trident renewal 2015
Jeremy Corbyn Against Against Against
Andy Burnham For For For
Yvette Cooper For For  For
Liz Kendall Not MP Not MP For