We have written to M.P. Roger Casale urging him to sign Early Day Motion Nº 82 — and we await his reply.


The United Nations Association has joined forces with Friends of the Earth, church groups, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, local youth workers and members of the ethnic minority community to make plans for Merton’s contribution to the Hague Appeal for Peace. Anyone interested in this ambitious project to make war illegal should come to our next meeting at the Community Centre, St. George’s Road, on Tuesday January 26th at 8·00pm.

Next May we will be sending delegates to the big Peace Conference which is taking place at The Hague in the Netherlands; this meeting will be for the ordinary people of the world, not their governments. Planning has been taking place for more than a year, inspired by the coming centenary of the first international Hague Peace Conference. The conference of 1899 was the brainchild of the ill-fated last Czar of Russia; from it came the forerunner of the International Court of Justice and the basic humanitarian laws of war.

After a hundred years, and the appalling 20th century legacy of war, it is time to take a fresh look at the way we manage disputes between nations. At this centennial Hague conference, non-governmental organisations from every continent will be gathering together to promote the idea that war is not inevitable. People from conflict zones all over the world will have the chance to sit round a table together and talk. The year-long planning process has already brought its own rewards, and after the intensive discussions at The Hague delegates will produce a working document which they will present to their governments. When they return to their communities they will continue spreading these ideas for years to come.

The emphasis at The Hague is on youth and a better future for the world in the 21st century.

We issued this preliminary press release last month. A small subcommittee is now hard at work devising ways in which the Hague message

"Time to abolish war — Peace is a human right"
can be sent into all Merton schools.

Britain votes against nuclear disarmament at the United Nations

At the United Nations a number of resolutions concerning nuclear disarmament are put for consideration before the UN First Committee on International Disarmament and Security. In addition to the ones that usually appear every year, there was a new one this year put forward by the ‘New Agenda Coalition’ (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden).

Introducing the motion, the representative of Ireland said that the need for a new look at approaches to nuclear disarmament has been made apparent by events in Southern Asia. He went on to say that until there is a commitment by the nuclear-weapon states to an accelerated timetable for eliminating their nuclear arsenals, little would be accomplished. The resolution, if it were adopted, would require the commitment of the nuclear-weapon states to pursue nuclear disarmament from a new perspective, one of ‘let’s do it’ and not one of ‘how can we stop it?’.

The vote was 97 nations for, 19 against and 32 abstentions. Those who voted ‘no’ include seven of the eight nuclear weapons states (excluding China) plus those Eastern European nations who are aspiring to EU and NATO membership, Turkey and Monaco. The “glimmer of hope”, writes William Peden, CND Parliamentary Officer, is the crack appearing in the normally pro-nuclear block vote by all NATO members — several non-nuclear NATO countries choosing to abstain rather than vote against the resolution. “It could provide the much-needed political impetus to create compromise at the Conference on Disarmament at Geneva and the Non-Proliferation Treaty in the next twelve months.”

March to Aldermaston and onwards

A new video featuring the famous 1958 campaign film can be borrowed from Muriel [946−3270]. As well as the classic 1958 footage (camerawork directed by Lindsay Anderson, text written by Christopher Logue and delivered by Richard Burton) there are interviews with many of the film technicians and celebrities recalling their part in the making of the film. Dave Knight and Bruce Kent provide the ‘onwards’ perspective.


The Newsletter is both later and shorter this month because of illness.

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