In our latest blog Frances Gallagher, our Campaigns and Communications Officer gives her thoughts on her attendance at the recent Helensburgh CND conference.
Opponents of nuclear disarmament would have you believe that there would be no life after Trident for the local communities around Faslane and Coulport were the nuclear base there removed. According to this school of thought the local economy would slip into oblivion should these weapons of mass destruction disappear from our shores.
Well, had those who are inclined to think this way attended the CND conference in Helensburgh this month, they may well have been surprised at the confidence and enthusiasm with which the local people and politicians spoke of their ideas for the future without Trident.
Could it be that the old message of stagnation and despair calculated to frighten people all over the world into accepting the presence of nuclear weapons no longer stacks up, and that in fact we have reached a turning point in the critical will of the people to live in a world without nuclear weapons?
At the CND conference we heard from local MSP Ronnie Cowan on how we should “dare to dream of a future without nuclear weapons, and how we are “only limited by our own imagination” when it comes to the possibilities to transform this beautiful part of Scotland into somewhere that business and tourists alike would want to come.
With the footprint as it stands at Faslane the site is ideally placed to become a possible non nuclear headquarters for defence in Scotland and ideal for the training of special forces.
Free of the menacing presence of the nuclear submarines, river based traffic such as cruise ships and ferries could once again take up occupancy on the Gare Loch and Loch Long with all the economic gain that would bring to the local area.
Outward bound centres also would be attracted to the area with opportunities for children from deprived inner city backgrounds to experience all the outdoor activities this landscape has to offer. A nature or conservation reserve where school children and adults alike could come to learn about birds of prey, deer, otters and heron.
Even the current bunkers, deep within the mountains of the Roseneath Peninsula, are ripe for conversion and could be transformed for storage from anything from wine to computer servers to provide super efficient internet access to the wider area.
Far from devastating the local area, the removal of trident is necessary for the area to realise its potential. It is the presence of Trident that is stifling the local economy.
Thanks to our friends across the Atlantic sharing with us their American freedom of information, we now know that a Trident missile test recently failed, sending the missile in the wrong direction. We also now know that two nuclear submarines crashed in the firth of Clyde during the cold war. All of this we don’t learn from our own government. They, it would seem only to want to warn us of the dangers of not having nuclear weapons right on our doorstep.
We are on the cusp of a landmark decision by the UN to ban nuclear weapons. The UN will convene in New York in March 2017 and then again in June and July to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. As was done with the landmine treaty and the cluster munition ban treaties, a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty will start the process of prohibiting and eliminating these devastating weapons of mass destruction.
Nuclear weapon states India, Pakistan and China will participate in the New York conference and North Korea have already voted for the resolution. We need now to persuade the UK government to get on board and commit to a future without nuclear weapons.
You can write now to your MP/MSP and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urging the UK Government to take an active part in the UN meetings in New York in March and July. Email Boris here
You can also follow this link to sign the petition to urge the UK Government to participate in the UN conference to negotiate a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. More information can also be found here
These are exciting times…I am inspired, with the people who live in the shadow of Trident, to dream of an exciting nuclear-free future..