Scottish bishops against Trident nuclear weapons


This video from England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn – Stop Trident (CND)

National UK march and demonstration against the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons, organised by CND and supported by Stop the War Coalition.

Trafalgar Square, London, 27th February 2016.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Bishops speak out against Trident

Wednesday 13th July 2016

CATHOLIC bishops questioned the renewal of Trident yesterday and called on Britain to take “decisive and courageous steps” towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

In a joint statement, eight bishops in Scotland said: “Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals.”

The House of Commons will vote on the matter next week after the government recommended renewing the Trident fleet, which is located at Faslane naval base on the River Clyde.

“The bishops of Scotland have for a long time pointed out the immorality of the use of strategic nuclear weapons due to the indiscriminate destruction of innocent human life that their use would cause.

“The renewal of Trident is questioned not just by those concerned with the morality of nuclear weapons themselves but also by those concerned about the use of scarce financial resources.

“Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals.

“We endorse the words of Pope Francis: ‘Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations’.”

The bishops pointed out that Britain signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, which binds those who have nuclear weapons to work towards disposing them.

“Britain should take more decisive and courageous steps to revive that aspect of the treaty and not seek to prolong the status quo,” they added.

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh Leo Cushley, Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Toal and Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert are among the figures which have signed the anti-Trident statement.

This video from London, England is called Tariq Ali – Stop Trident (CND) – Feb. 27th 2016.

By Kate Hudson in Britain:

Theresa May needs to wake up to reality on Trident

Wednesday 13th July 2016

Britain’s WMD are an out-of-date security risk, not fit for the 21st century, writes KATE HUDSON

LAST week, when Theresa May was still just a Tory leadership hopeful, she asserted: “It would be sheer madness to contemplate even for a moment giving up Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent.”

No doubt she thought this made for a good stump speech that would help the votes roll in.

But I — and no doubt countless others — found this extremely alarming, even more so now that May is being confirmed as Prime Minister.

We need more rigorous, up-to-date thinking than this, and at least some evidence that she is willing to make an informed decision rather than a knee-jerk reaction about something that seems — for the political class at least — to be an ideological weapon to be wielded in a completely uninformed way.

She’s got some quick thinking to do, because Parliament is due to vote on this very question of Trident replacement next Monday — July 18. I suggest she and other MPs consider the following points.

The decision to buy Trident was made in the 1980s. Whether to replace it has to be judged by what we need today.

It would be sheer irresponsibility not to contemplate giving up Trident. We need a 21st-century approach to our security needs. Is there any sector where we just unthinkingly carry on with the same old policy?

In fact, May’s own government has twice concluded in its national security strategies that the main threats we face come from terrorism, climate change, pandemics and cyber warfare.

It would be sheer folly to spend £205 billion on a weapons system that does nothing to address these threats and actually puts us at greater risk by making us a target. It would surely be wise to contemplate — even for a moment — spending that money on more useful things.

Let’s spend a moment contemplating the technological viability of Trident, as we hear from experts that the submarine systems will be vulnerable to cyber-attack.

So Trident is not only irrelevant to our needs, it is likely to be rendered obsolete. Former Labour defence secretary Lord Des Browne — who helped Tony Blair push the first step towards Trident replacement through Parliament in 2007 — has pointed out that a cyber-attack could knock out Trident.

And industry experts agreed that “any national public or private infrastructure service or defence facility” could be hacked.

The MoD has rushed to assure us that appropriate safeguards will be made, but the fact is, this is a 20th-century system and it looks and acts like one.

When those subs were first built they were undetectable underwater so enemies never knew where they were.

How can that possibly be the case in the 21st century? Trident is the size of two jumbo jets.

Vast amounts of money are being poured into underwater drone technology and politicians need to make decisions based on these contemporary realities, not just wave these developments aside as if they are in a cold war time warp.

Eventually Trident will be both detectable and targetable. It’s old times technology, and attempts to update it are not going to offset these huge security risks. It would be sheer profligacy to waste British taxpayers’ money on a system with built-in redundancy.

I hope our new Prime Minister will carefully scrutinise the case for and against Trident. Those precious moments contemplating this crucial issue would be well spent, for to replace Trident would be sheer madness.

There is no case where nuclear weapons make us safer or enhance our security. These are weapons of mass destruction, the use — or threat of use — of which is illegal. In 1996 the International Court of Justice advised that: “The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law.”

And it’s not just CND that opposes nuclear weapons. Senior military figures describe Trident as useless and call for it to be scrapped. They want the £205bn or more replacement cost spent on military equipment and troops.

Crispin Blunt, Conservative chair of the foreign affairs select committee and a former army officer, is outspokenly against replacing Trident.

As he points out: “The price required, both from the UK taxpayer and our conventional forces, is now too high to be rational or sensible.”

The debate in Britain has moved on and so has the debate globally. The majority of the world is organised in nuclear weapons-free zones and the overwhelming majority of states back a global nuclear weapons ban treaty.

After all, if there is a nuclear exchange, all countries will be affected, irrespective of whether they are involved in the conflict or not. Rearming Britain with a new nuclear weapons system goes against the trend. It also goes against what is proven to work in complex international and regional conflicts and disputes — painstaking diplomacy and the willingness to go the extra mile for a peaceful solution.

Rearming with nuclear weapons — which is what replacing Trident will be — just makes nuclear war more likely. May needs to get informed about all these elements of the Trident debate. It’s time to choose the rational and sensible option: no Trident replacement.

Kate Hudson is general secretary of CND.

Please join us to protest against Trident replacement during the parliamentary vote on Monday July 18 at 6pm in Parliament Square.

The Guardian: Apologist for nuclear war: here.

14 thoughts on “Scottish bishops against Trident nuclear weapons

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  4. Friday 10th
    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    RENEWING the Trident nuclear defence system makes us unsafe, a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament report released yesterday revealed.

    The nuclear weapons system does not guarantee safety and is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the Security Not Trident report warns.

    And it suggests that a rise in underwater drone technology renders Trident obsolete as the nuclear weapons system will be both detectable and targetable by aggressors.

    CND argues that replacing Trident may encourage more countries to develop nuclear weapons and therefore increase the danger of a nuclear war.

    The report highlights how nuclear weapons failed to prevent terrorist attacks in France, the September 11 attacks in the US and the July 7 bombings in London.

    CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “The recent news of misfired nuclear missiles, the ensuing government cover-up and sustained silence about a serious accident was symbolic of a wider truth: our decision-makers haven’t got a grip on the truth about Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system.”

    But she said this was only part of the picture.

    “Trident is vulnerable to emerging underwater drone technology; one of the unique selling points — that they are undetectable under water — soon won’t exist.

    “Our report also shows why it is vulnerable to cyber attack, why it’s not an independent deterrent and, as years of conflict demonstrate, nuclear weapons do not deter war.”

    Ms Hudson claimed the £205 billion cost of renewing Trident directs much-needed cash away from schemes that can address the real threats posed by terrorism, climate change and cyber-attacks.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-adba-Renewing-Trident-leaves-us-at-risk-of-cyber-attacks#.WJ2hKPKbIdU

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  6. Monday 3rd June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Disarmament might have been electoral suicide 35 years ago, but Corbyn’s rise shows voters are open to persuasion, says PETER KIRKER

    BARON GOULD of Brookwood, who brought us government by focus group, must be turning in his splendid tomb (the most lavish addition to Highgate Cemetery in the modern era). And yet Jeremy Corbyn’s conviction politics is actually beginning to work.

    Instead of constantly shuffling to “where the votes are,” he has this crazy way of just holding to his principles and persuading voters to join him on the ground he’s stood on all his life. And it turns out that such integrity is extremely resilient to anything the mainstream media can throw at it.

    No surprise then that in the recent election campaign Labour’s only serious policy wobble related to the one part of its manifesto that was squarely at odds with Corbyn’s convictions.

    The manifesto commitment is unequivocal: “Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.” Yet the whole world must know by now that Corbyn is equally unequivocal in his hostility to Trident, and indeed to all weapons of mass destruction.

    This policy-conviction mismatch brought an awkward moment for Corbyn himself, and a public put-down for the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry — which must have been hard to take, coming as it did from defence shadow secretary Nia Griffith.

    And there was more fallout post-election, when it was reported that Corbyn had given voice to his personal view in a chat with the Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis.

    Rather than leave Corbyn exposed to no-marks like Tory MP Johnny Mercer, who accuses him of saying one thing in public and another in private, it’s time Labour got squarely behind its leader and allowed him to lead, even on the highly emotive issue of nuclear weapons.

    He has already demonstrated his powers of persuasion across a range of contentious issues. And with public opinion now more finely balanced than it has ever been, he could carry the day on Trident too.

    Disarmament might have been electoral suicide 35 years ago, but not now, with the Greens and SNP having already opened doors to the debate.

    The arrival of a maverick novice in the White House has brought Angela Merkel to a realisation that Germany must develop its own defences. Yet there is no clamour to do that with weapons of mass destruction.

    In the event that Berlin were annihilated in a nuclear attack, Germany could retaliate with little more than sticks and stones.

    Many scores of countries live with the same vulnerability. But there is no unrest in the streets because of it.

    They know, as indeed we in Britain know, that there are more pressing threats, threats against which nuclear bombs are no defence.

    One weakness of the deterrence principle is its assumption, even in this age of suicide bombers, that any would-be aggressor will be rational.

    If an aggressor were irrational — and plenty have been down the years — the threat of mutually assured destruction is rendered as mad as its acronym.

    Even if, say, London were annihilated on some crackpot leader’s whim, where would be the morality in killing millions of innocent people in reprisal?

    But Trident capability is not even confined to tit-for-tatting; it’s supposed to be a deterrent, yet comes with first-strike options specifically built in. Why those options should be needed is not immediately clear, though it might allow Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and CO a bit of extra swagger on the world stage.

    If Labour were to bite the Trident bullet now, there would be time to include its revised policy in the next manifesto, even if another general election is nearly upon us.

    Howl as the Daily Telegraph surely would, several of the nation’s senior military commanders would not, especially if some of the colossal savings were redirected to conventional capability and better terms and conditions for those who serve. Beyond that, the wider electorate — thanks in no small part to a huge influx of enthused and energised young voters — is open to persuasion as never before.

    The leader’s greatest challenge is the Labour Party itself, in particular a significant element within the trade union movement that is quite properly concerned about jobs. (Unison and several other unions are already CND affiliates.) Unite could be won round: my guess is that its general secretary Len McCluskey is privately on board already, but constrained by his national executive. GMB however is a serious obstacle.

    For sure, many thousands of jobs are at risk but there is no morality in this argument, as evidenced in the reality that no trade unionist would advance it to justify a poison-gas industry or the manufacturing of torture equipment.

    Moreover the unions that oppose unilateral disarmament to protect jobs profess at the same time to support multilateral disarmament which would cost those same jobs.

    The affected unions are however more than justified in emphasising the huge social challenge that would result from abandoning Trident renewal.

    When it was first argued, years ago, that this could be met by investment in high-skill renewable energy technology, the prospects for a serious renewables industry seemed a far-off dream. But more recently we have seen the dream becoming reality.

    And with Donald Trump’s hostility to the green agenda now discouraging US investment, Britain is ideally placed to take a world-leading role.

    There will be no shortage of anti-Trident motions submitted by constituency Labour parties to the autumn conference. It just remains to be seen whether those unions that are hostile can be persuaded to hold back enough to allow this huge issue the debate it deserves. Let’s hope so. Let us hope that 28 years after the Berlin wall came down we can at last start turning swords into ploughshares.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-9769-Labour-should-bite-the-Trident-bullet-now#.WVp4VFFpwdU

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