This is how the decision to award £350m contracts for the next generation of nuclear-armed submarines by BAE Systems, Babcock and Rolls-Royce was reported by the BBC on 22 May: “The contracts are part of the £3bn already set aside to start work on the replacement of the UK’s fleet of four Trident nuclear submarines by 2028.... Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said this was an important step towards renewing the UK’s nuclear deterrent.”
All this is in open defiance of the Tory coalition agreement with the Lib Dems which promised to look at alternatives and delay a final decision on replacing Trident until 2016, after the next general election. The largest contract worth £328m goes to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines which will work on the overall submarine design. Babcock gets £15m for designing parts of the ‘inservice support’ and Rolls-Royce gets £4m for the integration of the reactor design.
The MoD said that although the decision on the final design and build would not be made until 2016 detailed work had to take place now to ensure that the successor submarines would be “technologically advanced”, and Eric Grove, Director of the University of Salford’s Centre for International Security and War Studies said “It’s without commitment in theory but of course it is with commitment in practice. We wouldn’t be spending this kind of money on design if it didn’t look as if it was going to go forward.”
Meanwhile, local services such as health and education continue to be cut and we are told that the country is unable to afford items of basic decency.
“That this House notes the findings of the National Security Strategy that a nuclear weapons threat from another state is of low likelihood; further notes a procurement cost of £25 billion and an estimated lifetime cost of over £100 billion for the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system; believes that there are greater spending priorities both at the Ministry of Defence and across other departments; and urges the Government to cancel plans to replace Trident.”
Please ask your M.P. to sign.
CentreForum is an independent liberal think-tank (http://www.centreforum.org) and their recently-released study “Dropping the Bomb: a Post-Trident Future” is believed to reflect the views of many senior Lib Dems who are trying to force a debate on whether the UK still needs an “independent nuclear deterrent”. Major points:
This important meeting (see May Newsletter) is a joint venture with Merton Palestine Solidarity Campaign and takes place at the South London Irish Centre, Hartfield Rd SW19 5TG. There are three excellent speakers.
Chris Cole (Drones UK) will give an overview of drones internationally and discuss some of the issues they present to world peace.
Mary Dobbing (Campaign against the Arms Trade) will talk about drones and the UK/EU commercial links with the Israeli government.
John Hilary (War on Want) entitles his contribution The New Face of War (“British and US imperialism using high technology and private military companies”) and will speak about the effect of the arms trade on world poverty.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is reviewed on a five year cycle and the PrepCom meeting in Vienna was the first preparatory committee of the 2015 cycle. The Chair’s Summary — cleverly issued as a working paper rather than being constrained as a formal document adopted by consensus — highlights some critical developments since the May 2010 Review Conference.
[Based on http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/npt/2012/nir/5969-11-may-2012-no-9
The NATO summit held in Chicago on 20–21 May was originally intended to coincide with the G8 Summit but this was moved to the high-security venue of Camp David because of the expected demonstrations, and indeed around 15,000 people joined the march in Chicago including trade unions and the Occupy movement — a level of anti-NATO protest unprecedented in the US. CND Chair Dave Webb was in Chicago and reports “The ‘Veterans for Peace’ group were at the front of the march and the rally at the end included speeches from ex-servicemen and women who were now working for peace and to bring the troops home. Each one gave an incredibly moving speech about their experiences and how they became disillusioned with the system which they believed in. At the end of their speeches they threw their medals in the direction of McCormick Place where the NATO leaders were meeting behind heavily guarded and locked doors.” Dave goes on to comment that the US media focussed on police violence after a minority of protesters refused to disperse, with just a few lines about the veterans returning their medals, which sounds a familiar story.
NATO is a relic of the Cold War and should be reviewing its objectives. The UK 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review specifically prescribed moving on from Cold War thinking. The Lisbon Summit statement (“as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear power”) needs revising. It prevents progress towards disarmament required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and this hypocrisy feeds the proliferation which the UK and NATO claims to deplore.
Please write to David Cameron, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA or e-mail via http://www.number10.gov.uk/footer/contact-us
[Based on notes from Anni Rehin, CND letter-writers coordinator and Kate Hudson’s blog]
Please put the date in your diary and make every effort to sell as many tickets as possible for what should be a really fun evening. It is now several years since our successful dance at Dundonald School and this time we are going to the Community Centre where the hall is bigger. Again we shall have live music and a caller, so that nobody needs to be an expert dancer. Food (ploughmans) is included in the ticket price, and soft drinks will be provided, but if you want anything stronger bring your own bottle (and glasses). Tickets will be available on the door but it will make life much easier for the catering team if tickets are at least reserved in advance. Phone 020 8543 0362 to book your ticket now!
7·30–10pm Friday 22nd June, Community Centre, St George’s Road, Wimbledon SW19 4DP. £10 including food.
Rev. Chris Palmer of Holy Trinity Church, Wimbledon Broadway, continues to be very helpful in enabling us to set up what should be a really exciting series of lunchtime discussion meetings in the autumn.
The inaugural meeting is now fixed for Friday September 21st (the International Day of Peace pioneered by Jeremy Gilley). The theme will be “Can War be Just in the 21st Century?” and the speakers will be
This event will run from 12·30–2·00pm, with people invited to bring packed lunches and eat together for the first half hour (tea and coffee provided) and then have an hour for the talks and discussion.
October will see a meeting during One World Week on the theme of “Sharing Destiny — moving towards one world: is authentic global equality an impossible dream?” (Speakers to be confirmed.)
November 15th (1·00–2·30pm) will be our contribution to Remembrance Sunday: “The Militarisation of Society” (is it happening? Is it necessary? Is it inevitable?) We are very pleased to be able to confirm that our speakers will be well-known veteran Bruce Kent and young Quaker activist Sam Walton.
As soon as full details of the whole series are available we shall produce publicity material. Meanwhile do please spread the word as widely as you can. We want these to be thought-provoking discussions of complex issues.
May 19th lived up to expectations with a total of £1,650 taken on the day. Expenses (hall hire, printing costs, advertisement, catering expenses) amounted to £309 so we made a profit of at least £1,340 (bits and pieces are still coming in). This is a great tribute to a lot of hard work by very many people and to the generosity of you all. Response to the last minute appeal for brac-à-brac enabled the “we can sell anything” white elephant team to raise £361 which must be an all-time record. Final figures will be presented at the AGM but this is the rough breakdown of stalls:
The one disappointment was that numbers through the door were considerably lower than last year, which may be connected with the fact that we were unable to distribute all our flyers, and next year we shall make this a priority. There have been suggestions that we should mark the 30th Anniversary Fête in 2013 with free admission in order to attract more casual custom.
We shall certainly hope to attract press publicity for our extraordinary achievements over the years, especially as many of the original players are still with us. “You are famous” said one satisfied customer this year, and indeed I think we have succeeded in becoming part of the spring scene in Wimbledon.
A big thank you goes to all helpers.
This illustrated booklet with photographs and maps helps tourists and Londoners alike discover some of the people and places associated with national and international peacemaking. Discover memorials to famous people like Gandhi or Edith Cavell, mediæval heroes such as the Burghers of Calais, inventors, journalists, admirals and conscientious objectors as part of the hidden history of London. The price is £2 plus postage (1 copy: 60p, 2 copies: £1, 5 copies: £2) and cheques should be made payable to Valerie Flessati and sent to 11 Venetia Rd, London N4 1EJ.
On Saturday I spent about 4 hours in the middle of Waterloo Station, along with different protest groups, the UK Uncut, the disabled in their wheelchairs, the Greater London pensioners with their banner, and me with my poster, exposing and opposing the government.
One chap had a poster supporting the police, who are also opposing cuts in their numbers and pensions. The police made no effort to remove us, we all got along together. Scores and scores of people took photos of the banners and my posters, as they usually do.