Friday, 22 June 2007

Say no to Trident

Moving motion at 2007 UNISON Conference on behalf of City of Edinburgh, Scotland, Lanarkshire Health, the NEC, St Mary’s Paddington and York City: As long ago as 1996 some of the judges on the International Court of Justice concluded that the use of nuclear weapons was inadmissible in any circumstances.

That is our position in UNISON.

Longer ago in 1976, the Vatican told the UN – “The arms race can kill – though the weapons themselves may never be used – by their cost alone armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.

Further back in 1970 the UK signed up to a non proliferation treaty – yet we are replacing weapons.

In 2006 the House of Commons Defence Committee published a report. The MOD refused to take part so they couldn’t be questioned by the committee. The report said “we believe it is essential that before making any decisions on the future of the nuclear deterrent, the MOD should explain its understanding of the purpose and continuing relevance of nuclear deterrence”.

So even MPs don’t know what Trident is for.

The fact is that the danger of nuclear conflict is not reduced by nuclear weapons – it is increased.

But if that was not argument enough – what about the costs?

£76 billion is what it all costs to renew and maintain. That would run the whole of the NHS for a year. £25 billion alone to replace let alone running costs. Compare that with only £9 billion for education.

But it gets worse. The money for Trident doesn’t come out of the defence budget. It comes out of general revenue.

It doesn’t come from fewer tanks – it comes from fewer public services and up to 3,000 fewer jobs in Scotland.

That’s the costs. But what about the morality and the legality.

MSP Michael Matheson has drafted a Bill for the Scottish Parliament to make it an offence to support or commission acts furthering the threat to use or the use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

This comes after the Trident 3 – three women who were acquitted in court in Scotland of offences related to demonstrating against Trident. – their defence was accepted that they were acting as global citizens preventing a nuclear crime.

We are proud of the majority of Scottish MPs who voted to scrap the weapons. Of over half of all Labour backbench MPs who voted against.

We are proud of the MSPs, most of whom oppose Trident. We need to build and maintain links with them and this motion calls for that.

Because there is public support. 58% of people oppose Trident at this cost and almost half at any cost. 8 out of 10 want a full parliamentary debate and that is what we want and what this motion calls for.

At the STUC in April, our regional secretary Matt Smith quoted former UN Nuclear Weapons Inspector Hans Blicks who said.

“So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them – and so long as any such weapons remain there is a risk they will one day be used by design or accident.”

“And such use would be catastrophic”.

As Matt told the STUC

“That is the argument

Not the cost

Not the arms race

Not defence

But basic simple humanity

For humanity’s sake, say no to Trident.

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