Hiroshima Day Commemoration

This year is the 76th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Please join us on Friday 6th August 2021 at 8·30pm at Rushmere pond on Wimbledon Common (near the War Memorial) for our simple ceremony of poetry and quiet reflection, followed by the launching of symbolic lighted boats, in the Japanese tradition. The Peace Table will be there and we’ll have some paper boats, tealights and tapers available for all.

For those who have time and opportunity at midday on 6th August, London CND will be holding its annual commemoration in Tavistock Square, which will also be available online. Visit https://mailchi.mp/a819529b50ed/76-years-since-hiroshima-london-cnd-remembers

Related to the Hiroshima commemorations is the news that National CND have been sent some ‘Peace Seeds’ for planting in the UK. The seeds come from a Camellia japonica plant which survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The bush grew in the Yoshijima Inari Shrine located 2·16 kilometres south of the hypocentre. The shrine itself was partially destroyed by the bombing, and has been repaired and restored by the Yoshijima-nishi Neighbourhood Association, whose president, Mamoru Kawaguchi, wants ‘to pass down the shrine to the next generation along with the memories of the atomic bombing’. When we have more information about where the seeds will be sown, we will let you know.

AGM Report

Ten members were present at the Group’s AGM on Sunday 18th July. For the first time in over a year, we were able to meet face-to-face, socially-distanced, in William Morris House, Wimbledon, and were delighted that Maisie Carter was able to chair the meeting, despite her recent bouts of ill-health. Maisie summed up the year as being the best of times, and the worst of times! Among the bad news was the pandemic, a 40% increase in nuclear warheads and the Doomsday Clock being closer to midnight than ever before. To balance this, we welcomed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons coming into force in January, and Biden’s election in the US. Locally, we had several very successful Peace Tables and also collaborated with other local activist groups such as the PSC, attracting encouraging interest from younger people. Gill McCall was thanked for producing a panel for the Loving Earth Project. The significant contribution of Harriet Bazley to the production of the newsletter was noted and thanks extended to her.

The following were elected to the Steering Committee: Chair: Maisie Carter (health permitting); Vice-Chair: Sue Jones; Treasurer; Ruth Crabb; Secretary and Membership: Alison Williams; Minutes Secretary and representative to London CND: William Rhind; Newsletter Editor: Sue Jones.

A reminder that the Steering Committee is open for all members to attend, and we will continue to do so via Zoom for the foreseeable future. If you wish to attend any future meetings (please check the Diary and e-mail William Rhind at williamrhind@hotmail.com for the Zoom link).

Treasurer’s Report 2020/21

I think the most important aspect to note about these accounts is that we started the year with £4,156·56 and after donations and expenses ended it with £2,907·25. Now that we no longer have a major fund raising event, such as Fete of the Earth, we are very reliant on subscriptions and donations to keep our heads financially above water. Without Sheila Knight’s very generous legacy in 2019 and another large donation this year our finances would not look so good, and as a group we need to think about how we are going to raise money so we can maintain our presence locally and continue to donate to National CND and other related causes.

Although many of the newsletters are now emailed, postage continues to be a major expense costing £150·68 for the year. £99·35 has been spent on CND merchandise, mostly T-shirts, and £125·00 on subs to the Movement for the Abolition of War, which hadn’t been paid since 2017. As we are now fully paid up, you might like to make a note of the link to MAW’s newsletter: https://abolishwar.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/news56.pdf

During the financial year July 1st 2020 until June 30th 2021 WDC/CND made donations of £2075. The majority of the money went to CND, £500 to London CND, £500 to the CND Hiroshima Appeal and £500 to CND’s work for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). £100 went to British Red Cross, £200 to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and £200 to Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP).

Ruth Crabb

Net Zero without Nuclear

In addition to all the familiar arguments favouring Nuclear Disarmament, campaigners now need to add action to confront the climate emergency.

The nuclear industry is doing its best to persuade the government that investing in new power stations for supposedly ‘clean’ nuclear energy is essential for a low-carbon future. Some environmentalists have been persuaded but Jonathon Porritt, in an eloquent and detailed report submitted in April to the Sizewell C Application Inquiry, says the case against it has never been stronger: http://www.jonathonporritt.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Net-Zero-Without-Nuclear-updated.docx.pdf

Jonathan Porritt has been ‘anti-nuclear’ since 1974 when he joined the Green Party, and is still waiting for someone to prove him wrong. The new paper sets out the case against nuclear power with reference to eight principal concerns (Cost, Build Rate, Waste, Decommissioning, Proliferation, Safety, Radiation and Physical and Cyber-security) and then answers the arguments given in favour of it.

To convince those he calls “concerned and conflicted greenies” (who fear that there may yet be the need for nuclear power as part of the overall mix), he makes detailed references to the impact of climate change — nuclear power stations worldwide, dependent on their supplies of cooling water, are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as rising ocean levels flood coastal sites, rivers dry up, and sea temperatures rise — and continues with why nuclear power denies hope for a Just Transition: more expensive electricity, fewer jobs, intergenerational waste and nuclear weapons.

He describes and comments on the Nuclear Power/Nuclear Weapons link clearly and concisely, as one would expect from someone who’s been a CND member for over 40 years. That connection is undisguised in the USA and in France, where President Macron last year announced “Without civilian nuclear, no military nuclear; without military nuclear, no civilian nuclear”, but in the UK the nuclear industry has always denied it. We have all hoped the obscene cost of Trident would finally make our governments see sense.

Researchers at Sussex University have revealed an aspect of the cost argument which may help: the fact that our nuclear weapons programme would become unaffordable in the absence of civil nuclear energy, which means that it is being significantly supported outside the defence budget without public scrutiny, and entirely off the public books. (Andrew Stirling and Philip Johnstone 2018; SPRU Working Paper Series, Brighton http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84067/). This report and that section conclude with reference to the irony of our supposed ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ relying not only on the USA but also China, named in the Integrated Review published in March as a highly significant threat to our security.

Alison Williams

Reporting the UK government to the UN for breaking international law

As a signatory to the UN’s nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the UK has committed itself to working towards disarmament. Instead, it is going the other way and getting more nuclear weapons — and this during a pandemic, no less.

Following CND’s commissioning of a legal opinion (see June/July Newsletter), it is reporting the UK government to the President-designate of the upcoming UN NPT Review Conference — a significant international summit to monitor progress, or lack thereof, of the treaty.

CND is hoping to collect thousands of signatures to back this campaign, so please support the action by signing the petition at https://cnduk.org/report-the-uk-to-the-un/

Fundraising Social

We hope you will come to our Fundraising Social: 6·30 pm on Saturday 4th September, at 28 Conway Road, SW20 8PA. Substantial refreshments will be provided and there will be a minimum charge of £5.

This evening is not just about fundraising; it is an opportunity for members and friends to meet socially after so many months of restrictions. We have much to celebrate. The United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty is now in force and the peace movement is growing, but there is still much to do to persuade governments, including our own, to sign up. WDC/CND is active on this and many other pressing issues. So please do come along if you can and help us to raise funds so that we can continue to spread the anti-nuclear and peace message.

Maisie Carter

On the Verge of an Abyss

It’s not often Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, chides member states individually and publicly for their shortcomings as he did the UK in March. The decision to increase our stock of nuclear weapons violates Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and subsequent commitments to “undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons”. Furthermore, “at a time when nuclear weapon risks are higher than they have been since the Cold War, investment in disarmament and arms control is the best way to strengthen stability and reduce nuclear danger” (https://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/asset/2608/2608243/ for his Chief Spokesman reporting.)

On 19th April he introduced a press conference to launch the World Meteorological Organisation’s report on the State of the Climate 2020 with a short address given at President Biden’s Earth Summit a few days later https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sgsm20688.doc.htm “We are on the verge of an abyss,” he said; “we must agree a new direction of travel… the next ten years need to be a decade of transformation…” and commitments and plans need to be backed up with concrete immediate action — and finance.

The agenda for COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) in November is to agree how to fully implement the 2015 Paris Agreement which, like the NPT, has its problematic Article 6. This provides for an emissions trading system which would allow low-emitting countries to sell their surplus to high-emitters with a cap to ensure overall reduction. Supporters argue that with effective and transparent implementation Article 6 could help achieve the necessary climate goals and a sustainable low-carbon future. Those enjoying the benefits of the status quo resist change.

President Biden invited the leaders of 40 countries to attend his virtual Earth Summit in April, those responsible for roughly 80% of the world’s emissions and GDP. 130 developing countries — 39 of them Small Island States — have long been experiencing the extreme effects of climate change which now afflict the US, China and the rest of us. That’s the nightmare. Honouring Article VI of the NPT (disarmament) and Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (economic cooperation to save the planet) — that’s the dream!

Alison Williams

Peace Table activities

On 12th June we set up our Peace Table alongside Stand Up To Racism Merton, and held a joint stall outside Centre Court, Wimbledon. It was lovely to see so many of our regulars (at least eight) there, and also to welcome Esma, Bella and Stephen to the stall. Our theme was Nurses Not Nukes: Demanding a Decent Pay Rise for Health Workers, rather than spending an obscene amount of money on increasing our stock of nuclear warheads — this in spite of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Dozens of signatures on our petition, well over 200 leaflets given out, many conversations with passers-by, all of whom would support a decent increase in Nurses’ pay over the increase in nuclear weaponry.

The SUTR Merton stall was extremely busy, with people queuing up to sign petitions on Asylum for Refugees. That was the second combined stall we had run. In May we linked arms with Palestine Solidarity Campaign: another very successful event.

On 26th June, we set up the Peace Table outside Centre Court in Wimbledon, once again to promote the message Nurses not Nukes! A small group then took our message to the People’s Assembly demonstration in Parliament Square. There was a wide range of groups represented: CND, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War, Extinction Rebellion, Trade Unions and others.

Were you at Greenham?

This summer is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, with many activities planned to mark the occasion. These are being organised by Greenham Control Tower, based at Burys Bank Road, Newbury Berkshire, RG19 8BZ. Tel: 01635 44145, info@greenhamtower.org.uk

If you were at Greenham at any point over the years, and would be willing to speak to the press, please contact pressoffice@cnduk.org

And finally….

Wonder how many people remember being consulted!

“The British people are prepared if necessary to be blown to atomic dust.”

Lord Home, Foreign Secretary 1961

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