Scotland, NATO and NIMBYs

Letter by Bruce Kent, London

ImageOn the strength of a long departed great aunt from Inverness may I offer a comment on David Mackenzie’s article in the June PN.

During a recent series of three public meetings on the west of Scotland, I came across no sign of what David describes as NIMBYism (not in my backyard) in relation to Trident.

John Ainsley, the secretary of Scottish CND, has shown very clearly, in his recent publication 'Trident- Nowhere to Go', that there is nowhere else for Trident in England or Wales for that matter.

Getting rid of Trident was seen by all at those meetings as a step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons globally. So it would be. There was great interest in the abolition draft convention which is being pressed by many countries even though resisted by Westminster up to now.

Certainly it would be contradictory to remain as part of a nuclear-threatening NATO. But how best to get the public support needed to rid of NATO and its nuclear weapons is exactly the problem which faces us down here as well.

What the Scottish government can do, here and now, is to use its powers over education. In the Final Report of the First Special session on Disarmament of 1978 clear commitments were made (paras 100-106) by Britain, and all other signatories. Britain promised, but never kept that promise, to develop ‘programmes of education for disarmament and peace studies at all levels’.

Getting rid of Trident and NATO, requires a substantial shift in public perceptions. On Trident that shift has, to some extent, already happened thanks to CND, SCND and other related movements.

There is no need to wait for an election for such major educational work by the Scottish government to start now.

Topics: Nuclear weapons