24 May 2011, International Women’s Day for Disarmament
UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has recently announced approval for the early phase of design of the Trident nuclear armed submarine that will continue the UK’s deployment of nuclear weapons “well into the 2060s.” The main-build decision is not scheduled until 2016, but the UK has initiated work on detailed design and procurement.
Despite admitting that no state currently threatens the independence of the UK, Dr Fox considers that a major threat might re-emerge in the next 50 years.
“The time is simply not right,” he said, to do away with nuclear weapons.
UK WILPF disagrees: as a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, the UK Government has an obligation to nuclear disarmament. Every investment in the continued nuclear capability is a violation of this commitment. WILPF and many others view these weapons as a liability that generate fear and create insecurity. They desire that they should never be inflicted on any country, as target or host.
At a time of economic crisis, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) estimates that replacing the Trident submarines is likely to cost around £26 billion. According to the Fawcett Society, independent analysis of the 2010 budget shows that it is women who will bear the brunt of planned cuts, with 72% of the savings identified in the budget coming from women’s pockets. Cuts of benefit that more women than men rely on are indicated. The public sector pay freeze will also hit women disproportionally as 65% of public sector workers are women. We recognise that as costs of Trident escalate, cuts will go deeper.
The democratic deficit in Scotland’s enforced complicity in hosting these illegal, immoral, devastatingly wasteful and dangerous weapons has long been a cause for anger and resentment.
Following its landslide election, the SNP Scottish Government has announced its intention of calling on the UK to remove all nuclear weapons from Scottish soil. This could begin the process that will lead to global nuclear disarmament and is a call that will gain the support of many Governments in the international community.
Call for action
We are calling on concerned citizens to protest against the UK Government’s decision to upgrade and deploy nuclear weapons.
Here are some suggestions on actions you can take:
- Talk or write to your local MP.
- Send letters or emails to your government (https://email.number10.gov.uk/ ) or to the UK disarmament delegation in Geneva (contact information can be found at http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/govcontacts/uindex.html).
- Organise or attend an event for Nuclear Abolition day around 25 June (http://www.nuclearabolition.org/).
- In Scotland, contact your MSP. Contact Scottish WILPF for Tridon’t campaigning post cards and information about the Scottish Parliament at Scottishwilpf (at) peaceandjustice.org.uk.
- Download this statement in PDF format
- UK WILPF additional notes to support May 24th – IWDfD campaign