MacKenzie, David

MacKenzie, David

David MacKenzie

20 July 2021Feature

Opposition to nuclear weapons is even greater than support for independence, writes David Mackenzie

Twenty years ago, during a crowded first minister’s question time in the very young Scottish parliament, a group of Trident Ploughshares members dramatically interrupted normal business by dropping a banner and demanding that the parliament face up to the question of the UK’s nuclear weapons and debate it.

They held up business for about 15 minutes before they were removed by police.

The deputy first minister, Jim Wallace, was apoplectic.

The presiding officer, David…

8 December 2020Feature

PN and friends reflect on the UK's December 2019 general election

On 12 December, the Conservative party won a landslide victory in the general election in Britain, turning Boris Johnson’s minority government into one enjoying an 80-seat majority. It is widely believed that two of the biggest factors were the public’s desire to ‘Get Brexit done’ (the Conservative slogan) and its distrust of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (after years of lies and smears directed at him).

The parties most in favour of nuclear disarmament did quite well.


1 December 2019Feature

Eight campaigners share their views

Peace News contacted folk around Britain to ask their opinions on the 12 December general election – people who’ve contributed to PN or helped organise Peace News Summer Camp. These are the eight campaigners who managed to meet our very tight deadline, giving their varied views on tactical voting, the Trident nuclear weapon system, climate, the arms trade and much else. (Unusually, we don’t have someone urging people not to vote, which has been a theme in past election…

1 October 2018News

Blockade celebrates global campaign against nuclear weapons

More than 600 demonstrators took part in the ‘Nae Nukes, Anywhere’ demo at the Faslane Trident submarine base, 22 September. Photo: ivon bartholomew

For a few hours on 22 September, the gate to Faslane, the Clyde estuary home of the UK’s Trident submarines, became a ‘hostile environment’ for nuclear weapons.

In putting together the ‘Nae Nukes, Anywhere’ event, Scottish CND planned something more than a demo or a protest. The vision was for a celebration of transnational…

1 August 2017Feature

A day-by-day account by a Scottish civil society team of the second part of the United Nations negotiations to ban the Bomb

Over 120 countries negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in Conference Room A in the UN building, New York, 3 July 2017. PHOTO: RALF SHLESENER/ICAN

15 June 2017: Day 1

Flavia Tudoreanu & team:

The concluding session of the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons has started today.

Queueing to get our badges proved to be a much more interesting experience than expected. We got to reunite with…

1 August 2016Feature

Brexit, Scottish independence and Trident – a plan of action

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, addresses a Stop Trident demonstration in London’s Trafalgar Square, 27 February 2016. photo: David Holt

After the Brexit vote the view is suddenly full of huge new sprouting things, like Jack’s overnight beanstalk, but I want to look back a bit to the immediate aftermath of the Scottish parliament elections in May.

In the Scottish Scrap Trident coalition, we noted that the new Holyrood had a marked increase in MSPs belonging to…

1 August 2015Feature

David Mackenzie resists the siren calls of PR and the comfort zone

The Reverend Billy preaching on the streets. Source: Brave New Films via Wikimedia Commons

Two recent interactions are behind this. One was finding (in the preparation papers for a meeting) an opinion to the effect that time and effort spent on attempting to educate the general public about nuclear disarmament is pissing in the wind, with the corollary that only the decision-makers are worth our attention.

“Open up little learning rooms with genuine give-and-take”


28 September 2014Feature

David Mackenzie reflects on the peace movement after the Scottish referendum

On 22 September, Trident Ploughshares and Faslane Peace Camp blockaded
Faslane, homeport of the UK Trident nuclear weapons system. Photo: Trident Ploughshares

I got a lesson once in how to handle serious disappointment – one that I have never forgotten. It was 2001, and the Scottish high court had just pulled the rug from under a growing hope that Trident might be outlawed in the British courts. This was almost three years after sheriff Margaret Gimblett had famously acquitted…

28 September 2014Review

Luath Press, 2014; 192pp; £12.99

A familiar jibe aimed at people active in the nuclear disarmament movement is that they are engaged in a single-issue campaign. A simple answer has always been to hand: most of those active in anti-nuke work are also up to their eyes in other work for social change. However, this collection of essays adds another dimension to this response by cataloguing in detail the way that nukes are intrinsically linked to many other ills.

Hugely informative, it also aims to persuade more…

1 March 2012Comment

Where does the SNP really stand on Trident?

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has made a clear and repeated commitment to get rid of the Trident nuclear weapon system come independence. Rather than simply accepting that commitment and waiting for the happy day I believe we should be attempting to tease out what is intended.

The SNP has vigorously denied that they would engage in a ‘Dirty Trident Deal’ whereby the Trident bases on the Clyde remain operational in return for a smooth independence path and/or other goodies, such as…

1 December 2011News

The path to UK nuclear disarmament runs through Scotland, argues David MacKenzie

It is a common view in Scotland that the high road to the removal and dismantling of the UK Trident system is Scottish independence. Alex Salmond has recently given a “100%” guarantee that Trident will go once Scotland can make its own decisions.

There are concerns about this. Independence may not happen. SNP leaders are adamant that there is no question of a dirty deal where Scotland would be granted a form of independence in return for continuing to host the business end of Remnant…

13 August 2011Feature

So, we've heard the horror stories: mixed activism—with the men gallivanting about taking heroic action and the women staying on site, or choosing alternative forms of protest. Does mixed activism have to end up replicating patriarchal norms? Two activists from Trident Ploughshares discuss their experience.

On the face of it, and for most of the time, men and women have been able to work well together in the TP campaign, but I am far from sure why this is so. I recall the early discussions about a related issue —the extent to which we should have a rigorous approach to decision-making-by-consensus. We have opted for a more easy-going style on that one, on the ground of pragmatism, but we get quite uneasy about it from time to time in spite of regular checking out with our…

13 August 2011Feature

From 1 October, rolling blockades of Trident's homeport of Faslane will begin. David Mackenzie reports.

These days the Faslane machine, as far as can be seen from the outside, goes on as normal. The hundreds of cars and coaches that form the work shifts, the supply vehicles in all their variety, drift in unhindered. However, if Faslane 365 lives up to its promise, from the first of October all this will change.

The British state is trampling on the basic laws of humanity by wielding Trident, a weapon of terror capable of killing millions. How do we respond? There are many equally…

3 April 2006Comment

A week or so ago the Local Heroes affinity group conducted a gentle forensic raid on the Labour Office in Airdrie, in order to out a dubious hombre by the name of John Reid who has been linked to Al McKayda. This unsalubrious shop is the hole-in-the-wall for the same Reid, when not providing the muscle and the sweet-talking on behalf of the business operations of one Tony Blair.

The complaints against this Saruman lookalike are many and various, but also peculiar due to his…

1 March 2006Comment

In another life I was a teacher, and I recall that in the early nineties we used the tag Design Model to explain how injustice was embedded in formal educational institutions.

In the Scottish case the well-intentioned move to universal public education in the nineteenth century was underpinned by assumptions which gave us an institution (and buildings) designed for the a favoured group, which had the obvious characteristics of being white, male, middle class, able-bodied, straight,…