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Merton Hague Appeal Competition

Nazmin kindly arranged for a friend to video the Prize Giving Ceremony on July 16th. Please let us know if you would like to borrow a copy of the tape.

We have held two working parties during the summer and chosen a selection of the children’s work which we hope will form a smaller exhibition on the theme of peace, suitable for display in libraries, community centres, places of worship etc. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, or have access to display space.

Lions Club of Merton Fair, August Bank Holiday

WDC/CND had a plant stall at this major annual charity event in Morden Park. The weather was perfect and the crowds were huge, and takings amounted to an impressive £203. Thanks to Demos, Jim, Ann, Joanna, Margaret, Sarah and Gail for a splendid team effort.

Tapes of Hague Conference Workshops

We have purchased copies of tapes made at the International Hague Appeal for Peace conference at the Hague in May.

Fast Track to Zero Nuclear Weapons: Update on the work of the New Agenda Coalition.

Making the Case for Nuclear Abolition: A round table discussion looking at the initiatives building support for a global campaign for an international treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Breaking the Nuclear Disarmament Deadlock:    An examination of the momentum for nuclear disarmament through the International Court of Justice, New Agenda Coalition, Middle Powers Initiative etc.

Speakers include Doug Roche (Canada), Maj Britt Theorin (IPB), Rob Green (WCP), Alyn Ware (IPB), Jonathan Schell, Senator Alan Cranston, Peter Weiss (ILANA), Merav Datan (IPPNW).

These tapes will form the basis of group discussions at our meetings this autumn. Members are also welcome to borrow them individually.

Letter to Roger Casale M.P.

At the end of July I wrote to Wimbledon M.P. Roger Casale on behalf of the group in response to the Government’s heavily publicised ‘end of the year’ report.

“We are increasingly concerned at the apparent lack of urgency shown by the current administration when it comes to fulfilling the Manifesto pledges in relation to weapons of mass destruction.

“We were told that a Labour administration would be “committed to a nuclear weapons free world” and will “actively pursue further measures of mutual balanced and verifiable reduction in nuclear weapons worldwide” and “when satisfied with verified progress towards our goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons we will ensure British nuclear weapons are included in such negotiations”.

“A Labour administration — will work for a negotiated multilateral no-first-use agreement amongst the nuclear weapons states.

“— will work for a negotiated strengthened security assurance to non-nuclear weapons states in the form of an international, legally binding treaty.

“ — will campaign for further international measures to assist with dismantlement of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.

“International nuclear weapons negotiations are currently at stalemate, and the post-cold war ‘window of opportunity’ to make real progress towards international nuclear disarmament is generally held to be closing rapidly.

“All initiatives have been stone-walled by the nuclear powers, acting in their own short-term self interest.

“The Prime Minister has repeatedly shown his capacity for international leadership. A model Nuclear Weapons Convention already exists. For theory to turn into reality it requires the committed support of one of the Permanent Five nuclear weapons states. Why can’t this be Great Britain?”

Roger replies that he has forwarded my letter to George Robertson M.P., Secretary of State for Defence, and suggests that we discuss matters further at one of his constituency surgeries.

Joanna Bazley

Hiroshima Day in Wimbledon...

A lovely evening, while not guaranteed for the occasion, is almost a prerequisite for the annual sailing of lights on Rushmere in memory of Hiroshima.

This year was no exception, many more people seemed to have been present in addition to the usual CND members of adjoining groups. Indeed, this is perhaps the only time during the year that we meet.

Jim’s boat, with the reminder “No More Hiroshimas”, was the first to be launched followed by another vessel, “Peace”. Dozens of nightlights in clear plastic holders were then placed on the water where they bobbed gently according to the wind. A moving sight, indeed.

This year several people walking on the Common stopped to enquire what we were doing and members of the group told them about the candle ceremony and its background. On a lighter note, a birthday party was being held nearby and we were asked most enthusiastically to join in. This seems to be a conveniently happy note on which to finish.

Maureen Sanders

... and in Sidmouth

Our Hiroshima commemoration, which has now become an annual event at the Sidmouth International Folk Festival, received good publicity at many of the events and was well attended this year. A number of new people were involved and one of these, a young woman, spoke of her meeting with a survivor of the Hiroshima bomb who still has on her back the shadow of the baby she was carrying when the bomb fell. Nobody needed to say anything following that, but there was a very good uptake of the leaflets and postcards that we had taken along and these were distributed to festival-goers and holiday-makers immediately following the ceremony.

We returned from Sidmouth in time for the Wimbledon activities, candle-floating and picnic, then on Monday 9th August took part in the Nagasaki Day demonstration in London. This was indeed a memorable occasion. After the hour-long vigil at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields church, we all walked behind the London Region CND banner to the Buddhist Temple in Battersea Park for a very impressive ceremony. The sight was quite spectacular, the atmosphere very serene yet incredibly moving. Lighted lanterns had been placed on tables and on the steps of the Temple, and after some short speeches they were launched into the river between the Albert and Chelsea Bridges. Both bridges were lit up and the lanterns floating in between produced an effect that was quite magical, impressing passers-by as well as those who had come especially for the event.

Maisie & Helen

CAAT Womens’ Network

The launch meeting of the CAAT Women’s Network will be on Saturday 25th September 1pm - 4pm Oxford House, Derbyshire Street (Bethnal Green tube station). This is a special interest group of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade “aimed at highlighting the effects of conflict on women, and empowering women to take action to stop the arms trade”.

The organisers point out that women are the first to lose out on education and health care when governments in the developing world slash social spending for the sake of the military budget. UK companies arm some of the most repressive regimes in the world despite the fact that almost half of all women in this country believe that we should not sell weaponry to any other state.

The launch meeting will be an opportunity for shared ideas and discussion, and a chance to meet other interested people. A new CAAT Womens’ Information Pack will be available.

[0171-281-0297 for further details or to book a place at the creche]

International Conference on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Île Longue, Brittany - October 10th

Île Longue is the ‘French Faslane’, the base for the French nuclear-armed submarines. The energetic Breton peace group “Le Mouvement de la Paix” is anxious to forge links with grassroots activists in this country and has issued an invitation to representatives of local CND groups to attend an international conference on October 10th.

All expenses from Roscoff will be met by the Mouvement de la Paix and generous hospitality is offered. It might be possible for WDC/CND to subsidise whole or part of the fare to Brittany. Please contact Joanna (543 0362) as soon as possible if you are interested.

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