Nuclear Weapons: Scotland’s Focus
(Report and pictures by Rebecca Martin)
Thanks to MSP Bill Kidd and his helpful team we were able to host a conference ‘New International Developments on Nuclear Weapons: Scotland’s Focus’, organised jointly by the GPG on Nuclear Disarmament and UNA Edinburgh, on Wednesday 25 June at the Scottish Parliament. The speaker was Dr Rebecca Johnson of the ACRONYM Institute and around 40 people attended the conference.
The conference was dedicated in memory of our dear friend and colleague, Dr Alec Gaines, who devoted himself to the abolition of nuclear weapons and to making the world a safer and better place for us all to live in. Both Mrs Gaines and their son were in attendance and gave a toast on his behalf at the reception following the presentation.
During her presentation, Rebecca Johnson presented a number of interesting and shocking facts such as that today there are roughly 17,000 nuclear weapons in existence and in Coulport there are nuclear submarines warheads which will cost £100 billion over the next 39 years and have the strength of more than 1,200 Hiroshima. The simple message she delivered reflected one which was presented at the Nayarit conference held in February 2014, which is that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation internationally is at a “point of no return”.
Dr Johnson’s presentation moved on from the point of no return to how Scotland could influence the future direction of the movement as a result of the 18th of September referendum vote. In a contrast to the actions of the British Government to boycott any action towards the movement towards a complete ban of nuclear weapons, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that around 80% of Scots oppose the replace of the trident nuclear submarine currently based at Faslane and favour becoming a nuclear free country or zone like New Zealand and Australia. Towards the end of her talk she asked for group discussions about how as citizens we could challenge the current status quo, which challenged everyone in the room. Everyone who attended left the meeting with a better understanding of the history and progress of the movement against nuclear weapons and an understanding that more needs to be done to push forward the agenda to gain each step towards the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
See this article for more information about Trident – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28009977
WILPF Global Summit
Gari Donn draws our attention to the latest Newsletter from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – click here.
Democracy Day lecture
Our annual Democracy Day lecture is provisionally planned to take place on Monday 15 September 2014.
The inaugural session of the Edinburgh University Training Model United Nations Conference (EUTMUN) will be held at the historic Old College on Saturday, the 4th of October 2014 from 9 a.m. to 18:30 p.m.
EUTMUN is a day-long MUN Conference designed to serve as an introduction to university-level model UN for high school and beginner-level university MUNers. The day will feature an introduction to the rules of procedure as well as several hours of debate, negotiation, and (if time permits) some excellent draft resolutions.
More information about the Conference, including the registration form, can be found on our website http://www.scotmun.com/#!eutmun-conference/ct1a. For any clarification on this invitation and the conference itself, the EdMUN committee can also be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual General Meeting
Our Annual General Meeting is planned to be held on Saturday 18 October 2014.
Edinburgh Peace Initiative
The Edinburgh Peace Initiative will be hosting a 3-day conference in Edinburgh from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October 2014.