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The Hexham Debates - Janet Fenton

Hexham is probably known, if at all, to Scots as an interesting wee place from which to explore the old Roman wall. The Hexham Debates started in 2007, initially as a response to Parliament's plans to replace Trident, and initiated by Trident Ploughshares' Caroline Westgate through her local Quaker Meeting in Hexham. 

Bruce Kent was one of the first 'debaters' and the events were very popular and went from strength to strength for more than a decade. One reason they proved so popular is that they were/are designed not to be adversarial. They explore topical issues in a non-confrontational context. The debates were inspired by the Putney Debates of 1647 which aimed to explore how England might be following the Civil War, with an invited speaker making a longer than usual presentation of their views and then an open but respectful discussion or 'probing' of the ideas presented and one important aim is to demonstrate ways in which a government's legitimacy depends on the consent of its citizens, and our responsibilities as citizens in that context.

The debates have been well attended, albeit mostly by Northumbrians. Obviously, they are not happening live due to Covid-19, which gives a great opportunity in the form of an invitation. Rather than taking place at St Mary's Church Hall, the Hexham debates will now happen live online via Zoom on Saturdays from 11:00am - 12:30pm. The same exciting speakers, the same lively discussion! The March debate was on Extinction Rebellion and the next one in April is on Refugees.

You can find out more about the Hexham Debates and how to get involved via the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/hexhamdebates/

https://hexhamdebates.wordpress.com/

We are all doing our best during these turbulent times and by getting involved in digital campaigning we can keep our spirits high and our message clear.

 

Windows for Peace Placard making challenge

Schools are closing and we're to stay home as much as we can to help in these difficult times, but we are not to avoid each other or be alone - not in the broader sense.

Now with an underfunded NHS, we see the true cost of Trident.

We are inviting you to join our placard making challenge and display it on your window. Whether you are a parent with kids to keep busy, a pensioner with time on your hands or working from home to protect yourself and your family, please get some markers, cardboard, glue and other materials and unleash your inner crafter and protestor. Post your photos on social media using hashtag #windowsforpeace, #protestfromhome #ScotlandnotTrident.

If you do not have social media channels send you photos to our email address.

If you have not joined our Facebook and Twitter pages (@Scottish CND) please follow us. We have other activities planned.

Beyond Nuclear Conference - POSTPONED

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO AUTUMN 2020 - APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED 

Helensburgh CND have organised a conference to discuss the worrying developments at the Hunterston Nuclear Power Station and the alternatives available on 4th April 2020 in Glasgow. All our members and supporters are invited to attend.

Outer Space is the Next Frontier for War - Dave Webb (CND UK)

CND UK chair Dave Webb has written for the Morning Star about the alarming developments in space weapons technology. 

The article is copied below but you can also read on the Morning Star website here.

It may have been lost among all the fuss about impeachment, but on December 20 President Donald Trump signed the US National Defence Authorisation Act for 2020, rubber-stamping a record defence budget of $738 billion.

The US/UK Warhead Deal

As first seen on http://www.nuclearban.scot/, the website for Scottish ICAN partners.

It is important to note that the missiles on the UK nuclear weapon submarines are not British but are leased from the US. Indeed the UK does not have the facility to remove the missiles from its four Vanguard-class boats - that needs to be done at King's Bay in Georgia. The delivery and targeting software is US made. The Trident warheads - the actual nuclear bombs - have been manufactured and assembled at the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex in Berkshire but the design is American, although the evidence suggests that some design elements have depended on collaboration between the US and the UK nuclear weapon engineers. Not a sniff of "taking back control" on this one. The UK describes its Trident system as an "independent nuclear deterrent". The description is false.

Write to SEPA to oppose radioactive waste disposal from HMNB Clyde

 

We would like to invite our members and supporters to submit their comments of disapproval to the SEPA consultation on MOD’s application regarding the disposal of radioactive waste from Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde.

The Nuclear Support Hub (NSH) which the MoD is building at Faslane is intended to centralise the existing radioactive waste handling facilities. It is situated in a new location within the Faslane site, with a new discharge point into the middle of the Gare Loch. The number of nuclear submarines at Faslane is scheduled to increase and radioactive discharges are, in fact, expected to increase some by very large amounts. MoD is seeking approval to transfer submarine and weapon related solid and contaminated liquid waste from Coulport to Faslane

We strongly object to these increased radioactive discharges which, if permitted by SEPA, would result in increased radioactive contamination of the entire Gare Loch, including its flora and fauna and would result in increased radiation doses to people living in the vicinity of the Loch.

Scottish CND see no good reason why the MOD should be given preferential treatment and be exempt from the provisions already in place for all the other employers. The MoD’s application involves expected increases in discharges of Tritium by as much as 30 times and discharges of Cobalt 60 by almost 50 times.

Scottish Government's Approach to Civil Nuclear Power

The following content is from a letter sent to Paul Wheelhouse MSP as the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands and cc'd to Office of Nuclear Regulation, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, North Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Council and East Lothian Council from Scottish CND, UN House Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Response to First 'Low-Yield' Trident Warhead

Last week, The Guardian and other media published that the United States has deployed its first low-yield Trident nuclear warhead on a submarine that is currently patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. Donald Trump commissioned the W76-2 warhead two years ago which has an explosive yield of five kilotons, a third of the power of the "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 

Scottish CND Executive member and lifelong peace activist Brian Quail penned a letter in response:

100 Seconds to Midnight

Doomsday Clock Registers Increased Planetary Peril

Today the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its symbolic Doomsday Clock twenty seconds closer to midnight in recognition of the significantly increasing risks of nuclear war and climate catastrophe.

In its statement, the Bulletin says that any belief that the threat of nuclear war has been vanquished is a mirage and that civilisation-ending nuclear war - whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication - is a genuine possibility. Their assessment is based on the Iranian and North Korean developments as well as on the almost total breakdown in arms control measures applying to the nuclear armed states.

Reflecting the urgency of the situation a timely Scottish Parliament motion(1) by Bill Kidd MSP has called for real progress towards genuine nuclear disarmament, citing tomorrow, 24th January, as the anniversary of the very first UN resolution which was a call for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The quinquennial Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) takes place in New York in April/May. This is the first Review since the adoption by the UN of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which complements the NPT and provides the legal mechanism for the fulfilment of the hitherto disregarded pillar of that treaty - the obligation on the nuclear-armed states to take real steps in good faith towards complete disarmament. Scottish campaigners are urging their parliamentarians to attend the Review in a civil society capacity since otherwise Scotland's rejection of nuclear weapons will not be represented.

Chair of Scottish CND Lynn Jamieson said: "We appreciate the stark realism of the Bulletin's assessment of the horrifying risk we face every single day and hope that this will lead to real and immediate action. We need an immediate step back from the brink by the nuclear-armed states and those seeking to acquire these weapons. Above all we need to begin the journey towards the total elimination of these weapons via the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

NPT and the TPNW discussions at the UN May 2020

NPT and the TPNW discussions at the UN May 2020. This year, our Scottish Parliamentarians have a unique opportunity to join diplomats and governments to advocate for nuclear disarmament, not just from Scotland but for the world. Can you help make that happen? Here’s the background and why it's important.

This year, the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) gets closer to ‘entry into force’, that is the point at which it will become binding on those who join. For that to happen we only need 16 of the states who have already signed to complete ratification by putting it through their national legislation. All Greens, SNP and a good number of Scottish Labour Parliamentarians have signed a pledge to support the TPNW. The unique opportunity for our parliamentarians will arise because the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is due for Review in New York in early May  [1].

Write to your MP or MSP now