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Again: whither CND?

The debate around CND's remit continues

Michael Waugh, Southampton

ImageAs a national member of CND [the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] since before 1970, and a member of CND national council, I am very interested to know in which direction CND is going. John Hemsley of Kent Area CND brought a motion to CND conference in 2011, asking if CND should concentrate more on core objectives. After a brief discussion, it was decided not to debate this, as it would mean conference finishing late, with all the problems of missing trains, etc.

As it was not debated supporters of the motion like myself were not allowed to speak to it. So Pat Allen (letters, PN 2543) was being economical with the truth when he wrote that it ‘found support from no-one except the mover’.

John Cox pointed out that this motion could be discussed at CND national council. After conference, the next mailing of papers for CND national council contained two items about the motion. In one, John Hemsley explained how this motion could have changed things, had it been passed and followed through.
Some of these changes could have been executed by council without a conference motion.

Subsequently, this issue has been raised in letters in PN by John Taylor and others.

Over 25 years ago, CND added opposing nuclear power to its core mission at a national conference. Our core mission also includes opposing NATO, depleted uranium weapons, and nuclear submarines without nuclear weapons.

Richard Norman and Kate Hudson both wrote about making links with other causes in CND’s spring Campaign magazine, which also contained articles about the census and Menwith Hill spy base, which may cause John Taylor concern. He seems unaware that there are other groups, including Greenpeace and the Quakers, campaigning against nuclear weapons.

There are dangers in getting national CND to support or oppose an issue it may not know much about. For one instance, the issue may turn out in a few days’ time to have unforeseen properties making it different to what CND thought it was. A group may persuade a CND conference to support a non-core issue or use a method some CND members may find unacceptable, resulting in resignations.

Also, if a person brings a request for support for a non-core issue to CND national council, who agree to support it, CND will probably send a letter from the office, the Morning Star may carry a brief mention, and that’s all. It would be far more effective if the promoter of the issue got individuals present at national council to take action themselves, using a petition, letters, demonstrations, etc. Thus CND members could support it, and CND would not be seen to support it.

CND must concentrate on what it does best – its core mission – and embrace other causes only with great care.