Features

1 August 2021 Milan Rai

How Britain’s wartime prime minister urged alternatives to using the atom bomb

In a month-long phone-and-email BBC poll of the UK in 2002, Winston Churchill was named the greatest Briton of all time.

In 2018, in a YouGov poll, Churchill was …

1 August 2021 Thomas Kearney

Mental health and the military

On 12 June, the body of a young man was found on the railway tracks near Lympstone in Devon.

Connor Clark was a recruit in the royal marines, just three weeks into his 32-week commando training course.

Tracy Clark, thought to be his mother, wrote on Facebook: ‘Yesterday this beautiful son, brother and…

1 August 2021 Paul Rogers

Looking back on 20 years since the al-Qa’eda attacks

After George W Bush won the closely fought race for the White House in November 2000, his new administration was loaded with neoconservatives and assertive realists determined to make America great again and usher in the New American Century.

It took only a few months to change foreign and security postures and set the country on the right path as leader of the free world, a neoliberal free market and a civilised world order based on its own values. This included the US withdrawing…

1 August 2021 Gabriel Carlyle

A more just, zero-carbon world is now within reach

Renewable energy is ‘already more than capable of scaling up at the speed necessary to protect the climate, meet energy demands, ensure energy access for the poor, and support sustainable development’, according to Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy, a June 2021 report from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

The problem is that, even if we stop fossil fuel expansion immediately, ‘with just the fossil fuels…

20 July 2021

Join us to celebrate PN's 85th anniversary

Peace News was first published on 6 June 1936. To celebrate our 85th anniversary, PN is holding an online Readers’ Tea Party! 

Expect: a quiz, a song, some snippets of PN history and more! 4pm – 5pm. If you’d like to join us – and we’d love to see you – then please register now: tinyurl.com/pnreadersteaparty

20 July 2021 Charlie Hamilton James and PN

PN reviews the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

A fire burns out of control in Maranhão state, northeastern Brazil, in this striking image from the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition – one with a salutary message for all of us in this crucial year for the earth’s climate, writes Gabriel Carlyle.

The fire would have been started deliberately to clear a logged area of secondary forest for agriculture or cattle farming, leading Charlie Hamilton James – who has been covering deforestation in the Amazon for the past…

20 July 2021 Milan Rai

Being ‘colourblind’ on race is a problem

Last autumn, PN ran a survey asking peace activists how they had responded to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) uprising of the summer. I was deeply impressed by the wealth of constructive actions that people had taken in the previous few months. (PN 2646 – 2647)

It was clear that, for many people, the death of George Floyd and the massive protests that followed, had been huge events.

I remember the white person who wrote: ‘I thought there were virtually no black…

20 July 2021 PN staff

New, more powerful warheads – and more of them

The maximum number of nuclear bombs held by Britain is to rise from 180 to 260 warheads, the British government announced on 16 March.

According to analysis by Nukewatch, Britain’s nuclear arsenal had already risen to around 250 warheads by the end of last year (see 'Warhead movements' below).

The chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear…

20 July 2021 Milan Rai

What’s the worst that can happen on a street stall?

Maddie is on a street stall in her town centre on Hiroshima Day, 6 August, wearing a placard and handing out leaflets about the atomic bombings. Every so often, someone stops to argue. Sometimes Maddie can’t get a word in edgeways ...

Passerby: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Maddie: Excuse me?

Passerby: My granddad would have died if we’d listened to people like you.

Maddie: Was he a …

20 July 2021 CORE

Excerpts from a recent anti-racism briefing

PN: Below are some passages from an important paper on racism in the UK, drawn up last November by the Runnymede Trust on behalf of the Coalition of Race Equality organisations. CORE brings together many of the UK’s leading Black and minority ethnic voluntary and community organisations, including the Runnymede Trust, the Migrants’ Rights Network, Operation Black Vote and the Traveller Movement.

The CORE paper was a submission to the British government’s newly-formed…

20 July 2021 PN

Five women involved in PN share their reactions to the murder of Sarah Everard

The disappearance of Sarah Everard from Clapham Common in South London on 3 March. The arrest of a Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens, on suspicion of involvement on 9 March. The discovery of Sarah’s body in Kent the next day. These events led to a national upheaval over the issue of male violence against women. We asked women involved in PN to share their reactions.

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Claire Poyner

Sara Everard’s murder was indeed shocking. Not surprising,…

20 July 2021 Robin Percival

What fate for loyalism in Northern Ireland?

Recently, a friend from England asked me to explain ‘what the hell is going on in Belfast?”

This was a few weeks ago, just as prince Philip was drawing his last breath, and the answer was simple: rioting.

The actual level of violence was, by Northern Ireland standards, quite low. And indeed the rioting came to an end as a ‘mark of respect’ to the dead prince.

What was significant was the degree to which the English and international media decided to report it. Their…

20 July 2021 David MacKenzie

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…

6 July 2021 Paul Rogers

The latest military review decoded

The UK government’s security review, published back in mid-March, was touted as the first wide-ranging analysis of defence challenges facing the country which, unlike earlier straightforward defence reviews, would bring in many other issues from climate change to pandemics.

As it turned out, most of these issues received little more than lip-service, with the core of the review being focused on a traditional assessment, mainly from a military perspective.

In many ways, it is…

6 July 2021 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Climate action around the UK

The United Nations will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 1–12 November, COVID-19 permitting. Climate emergency activists and campaigners up and down the UK are planning actions to take advantage of the fact that the biggest climate summit since the 2015 Paris Agreement is happening on their doorsteps.

Greenpeace UK told us that they were going to be …

6 July 2021 Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly reflects on the 1991 Gulf War and its legacy

March 1:

When the US Desert Storm air war against Iraq began, 30 years ago, I was a member of the Gulf Peace Team. We were 73 people from 15 different countries, aged 22 to 76, living in a tent camp close to Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia, along the road to Mecca.

We aimed to nonviolently interpose ourselves between the warring parties.

Soldiers are called upon to risk their lives for a cause they may…

6 July 2021 Penny Stone and Lotte Reimer and Kelvin Mason

How have activist choirs risen to the challenge of COVID-19?

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.
– Bertolt Brecht

Dark times

When COVID-19 hit the world, one of the first cultural casualties was choral singing. As expert opinion about the main risk has shifted from ‘fomites’ (contaminated surfaces) to focus on airborne droplets and aerosol transmission, the case against choirs gathering has hardened.

For street or…

6 July 2021 Sharon Rudahl and Gabriel Carlyle

Pages from Sharon Rudahl’s Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson (Rutgers University Press, 2020; 124pp; £15.95)

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Gabriel Carlyle writes:

Feminist underground comix veteran Sharon Rudahl’s latest work takes on the life of Paul Robeson: actor, world-class athlete and electrifying singer.

The most famous African-American of his time, Robeson fell victim to the Red Scare after the Second World War. This saw him shunned by stage and studio and denied his passport.…

5 July 2021 Cameron Boyle

Has the pandemic changed the media’s approach to immigration?

The British press is notoriously hostile in its coverage of immigration. It is a deeply-ingrained campaign, one that rears its head in inflammatory language, unjust and unfounded associations, and a startling lack of empathy for the harrowing situations that immigrants often face.

But at the height of the first lockdown, a notable softening in attitudes occurred.

Immigrants were universally lauded for their immense contributions on the pandemic’s frontline, with even the…

5 July 2021

The US has accelerated funding of its warhead plans

It is just over a year since the UK government notified parliament of its plan to develop a new nuclear warhead. The surprise renationalisation of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) last summer was obviously made in the context of the plan, but probably had more to do with AWE’s repeated failures on safety matters.

Beyond this we’ve learned very few specifics about the warhead plan, but various events provide some clues.

The Bomb we have

There is no officially-…