KENSPECKLE SCOTS FOR THE NUCLEAR BAN TREATY
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer, Adam Holmes, Scottish singer and songwriter, AL Kennedy, writer, Alyn Smith MP, Alastair McIntosh, Writer, academic and activist, Alexandra Lort, Theatre & Film Producer, Bruce McGregor, Fiddle player and composer, broadcaster, presenter of Travelling Folk on BBC Scotland, Cameron McNeish, Mountaineer, author and broadcaster,
The Proclaimers, Dave Anderson, actor, Dennis Canavan, former MP and MSP, Douglas Robertson, gig organiser and photographer, Eileen Penman,community singer songwriter, Innes Watson, musician, Jarlath Henderson, musician, Jamie Wardrop, artist, Jerry Loose, poet, Jim Sutherland, film maker and composer for Brave, John Mayer, author,
Karine Polwart, Scottish singer, songwriter and writer, Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the EIS,Lesley Orr, feminist historian and theologian, Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster, journalist, author, Lorna Slater, Co-convener, Scottish Green Party, Maeve McKinnon, Scottish singer in Gaelic and English, Mike Kirby, Secretary, UNISON Scotland, Pat Kane, musician, journalist, political activist, Penny Stone, songleader, community musician,
Rachel Sermanni, singer-songwriter, Robin McAlpine, journalist and Director of Common Weal, Ross Ainslie, musician, Ross Greer, MSP, Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator, Church of Scotland, Sean and Robyn Gray, musicians and Young Trad finalists, Stewart McDonald, MP, Stuart McHardy, historian, Willie Sinclair, folk-singer.
Kenspeckle Scots who have made statements or contributed songs or poems:
|Nicola Sturgeon||First Minister||I share the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s opposition to nuclear weapons – they are morally, strategically and economically wrong. They are indiscriminate and devastating in their impacts; their use would bring unspeakable humanitarian suffering and widespread environmental damage. The Scottish Government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to pursuing the safe and the complete withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland.
While the Scottish Government is unable to become a Party to the Treaty, as First Minister I stronglysupport the principles of the Treaty and the work of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom. An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory and I hope the day we can do that is not far off.
The Scottish Government has called repeatedly on the UK Government to cancel its plans for the Dreadnought Programme (the Trident Successor Programme) as nuclear weapons do not provide a meaningful deterrent to modern day threats such as terrorist attacks, and there are no realistic short or medium-term threats which justify the possession, the costs or the potential use of Trident and its successor.
Women have always played an important role in the opposition to nuclear weapons, and it is vital that women are included when these issues are discussed internationally. The Scottish Government thanks and congratulates all the states which have ratified the Treaty; we look forward to the Treaty coming in to force and will monitor developments with interest.
|Aamer Anwar||Human Rights Lawyer||Over the last few months an unhinged president controlling the nuclear codes has exposed the sheer insanity of weapons of mass destruction. As a criminal lawyer I was taught at law school the only justification for self-defence was the use of reasonable, legitimate and proportionate force. There can never be any justification for collective punishment, it would never be justifiable to bomb a residential tower block to take out one gunman who may or may not have taken a life, yet for some reason nuclear powers believe they can bomb whole populations or countries. It is time that as a nation we took a stand against the barbarism of weapons, this treaty gives us the basis for a route map for removing such warheads from our own shores, from Scotland. Please join me in supporting this treaty.|
|AL Kennedy||Writer||Scotland is fast developing an international reputation for good governance and humane policy making. It is pressingly urgent that we take our commitment to international harmony and human rights to the next level and become signatories to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Rather than a being a dumping ground for nuclear weapons and all their risks at home and promises of violence to the world, Scotland can be a leader. We have seen how easily corrupt politicians can gain power, how unstable Strong Men can bring nuclear posturing the brink and perhaps beyond it and we are very much aware of how little human life at home and abroad means to many of our leaders, particularly in the UK. At a time when children are starving in the UK, it would be beyond criminal to continue spending money on weapons which are tactically almost useless and only in the UK to flatter the egos of those who dream of Empire. Scotland must take a stand.|
|Alastair McIntosh||Writer, academic and activist||Recent disturbing events challenging democracy in the west suggest what comes back to us when our governments are willing to project the atrocity of nuclear weapons out into the world.|
|Alexandra Lort||Theatre & Film Producer Yardheads Company||There is no justification for the use of nuclear weapons. Civilian life is protected under international and humanitarian law and ‘collateral damage’ to our environment is completely unacceptable.|
|Alyn Smith MP||SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson||I’m proud that opposition to nuclear weapons is embedded in the DNA of the Scottish National Party. These weapons of mass destruction are opposed by the majority of the Scottish public and parliamentarians and, on behalf of the SNP, I welcome this milestone in the path to global nuclear disarmament.
The nuclear arms race, like the climate crisis, represents an existential threat to our collective humanity. It is only through building strong global networks of international collaboration and trust that we can solve these global problems, yet the UK Government remains hell-bent on pursuing their vision of an isolated Little Britain.
As the United Kingdom turns ever inwards, it is clear that independence offers the surest route towards a nuclear-free Scotland and a nuclear-free world. Following the unilateral removal of weapons of mass destructions from our waters, an independent Scotland would be free to take its place as part of the family of nuclear-free nations working towards global nuclear disarmament.
|Dennis Canavan||Former MP, MSP||Nuclear weapons threaten the existence of the entire human race. That is why I strongly support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as an important milestone in the campaign for a nuclear free world.|
|Ian Blackford||SNP MP||This Treaty is an important, international rejection of a nuclear age which made it possible to end thousands of lives with the push of a button. These weapons of mass destruction are immoral and redundant – they should have no place in our fragile world.
It is shameful that the UK government intends to plough on with their immoral replacement of Trident nuclear weapons at a cost of over £200billion.
In an independence Scotland, we can make a different choice. We can – and we will – get rid of Trident nuclear missiles from the Clyde once and for all
|Jamie Wardrop||Artist||The result of nuclear weapons is to live in a world that is forever in the shadow of fear and destruction. The nightmare of an atomic explosion is one that haunts both dreams and my waking life. A loud bang or rumble or the reckless threat of a politician my mind jumps to ask – Is this the moment where it ends? We can’t ask people to live like this any more. It has become an unthinking addiction, to a violence that serves only the ending of things. It is with hope and for a moments rest that I wish the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to succeed. Brick by brick, the caring world is making those who hold on to the bomb see that they are wasting precious time.|
|Jerry Loose||Poet, author of Fault Lines – a collection about the nuclear weapon bases on the Clyde||Why I went to Faslane From the boot of the car, I took out the chainsaw and petrol can, as well as the hand axes and the maul.
You never know what the police might object to at Faslane.
I was at Faslane because I have spoken to survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and in Nagasaki.
I was at Faslane because, in New Mexico and Nevada, I have spoken to victims of fallout from atomic and nuclear testing.
I was at Faslane because my uncle died early, a witness to atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll.
I was there to remember these people.
I was there today to protest at weapons of mass destruction; in Scotland, yes: but lethal for all the world. Simple.
Afterwards, to clear my thoughts, as I do when memory overwhelms, I went into Glen Fruin above Faslane and watched a navy frigate come into berth.
I met an old man on a bicycle and a mallard drake sitting in the road.
I also picked up some Rocket Hand Fired Para Illuminating flares from war games in the glen.
I hope they will become museum artefacts; curios of a time when we were insane.
I hope the old man on the bicycle made it to the top of the hill.
|Karine Polwart||Scottish singer, songwriter and writer||Better Things (song about the Govt decision to renew nuclear weapons in 2006)
Ten thousand years of big ideas Distilled into a billion fears A grand design, a shiny rocket A bullet in a bully’s pocket So mesmerized by particles We disregard the articles The ones we wrote to keep the peace Sullied now in blood and greed and grease Is this the best that we can do? Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?
With the devil’s pitchfork in our hands We turn the fields of foreign lands We mine the Gulf, we dig it deeper We free the serpent from its keeper Yet these are the hands that fix the bones The ones that build with sticks and stones These are the hands that plant the tree The ones that pull the newborn baby free Is this the best that we can do? Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?
Oh I can think of better things That hands can make and hearts can sing For now we deal with those for whom A life is but a carnal tomb In which the darkness holds no power Neither does the final hour We may lament the deadly art Of tiny atoms torn apart Visions that we can’t return And future fires in which we fear we’ll burn But this is the art of those before Who found a cure within the core The noble mind behind the ray That eased our earthly cares away Is this the best that we can do? Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?
Oh I can think of better things That hands can make and hearts can sing And hearts can sing
|Lesley Orr||Feminist historian, theologian Spokesperson for Women for Indy||Supporter of the Scottish Women’s Covenant for the TPNW “We aim to promote the importance of the Treaty on the Prohibition Nuclear Weapons as the first UN nuclear weapons treaty that recognises the disproportionate impact from nuclear weapons on women and girls, and the special danger that women experience from their manufacture and existence as well as from their testing and use. We urge all Governments to fully commit to joining the TPNW to ensure that women are protected from all nuclear weapon impacts, and to ensuring that women’s voices are heard in all negotiations about nuclear weapons policy.”|
|Pat Kane||musician (Hue and Cry), journalist, political activist||For long-standing supporters of both the end of nuclear weapons, and Scottish independence, the entering into international law of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a beautiful opportunity. A Scottish nation-state can sign up to this treaty, along with hundreds of other countries, and invoke a legal right to disarm and remove Trident weapons from our soil. I can’t think of a better way for Scotland to rejoin the family of nations, and start as we mean to proceed, by ratifying the TPNW as one of our first geopolitical acts. A perfect chance to be the Scotland we wish to see – and show the world we mean it|
|Penny Stone||songleader, community musician, songwriter, singer and activist||The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty is a huge step forward in our work to make the world a safer place for everyone. We stand in solidarity with the majority of the international community who oppose nuclear weapons and will continue to pressurise our own government to finally take the ‘in good faith’ steps they have for so long failed to adhere to in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty agreements.
We believe a better world is possible, and we intend to build that world without the threat of nuclear weapons. All people deserve to live in safety, it’s really that simple.
|Ross Greer MSP||Scottish Greens’ spokesperson for International Development and External Affairs||This is a momentous day in the campaign to rid the world of these brutal and indiscriminate weapons of mass slaughter. Much of the UK’s stockpile of these evil bombs is of course kept in Scotland. One of our first acts after independence must be to join the family of nations, including our near neighbours in Ireland, who have signed this treaty|
|Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair||Moderator of the Church of Scotland||On arriving at university as a 17 year-old, pretty much the first thing I did was join CND. I’ve never been more sure about anything than that the possession of nuclear weapons is morally wrong.
Nearly forty years on, I’m proud to be Moderator of the General Assembly of a Church that has consistently taken the same view.
At times, as we seek great changes – dismantling apartheid, tackling global poverty – we can become disheartened and start to think that we’ll never make any difference, that we’re ‘whistling in the wind’.
The signing of TPNW into international law is a significant moment in this journey and should be all the encouragement we need to continue the work to eventually see total elimination.
|Stewart McDonald MP||SNP Defence Spokesperson||As the TNPW comes into force I am pleased to put my name alongside Javier Solana and Willy Claes, two former Secretaries-General of NATO, in supporting the Treaty. I echo their belief that ‘nuclear weapons serve no legitimate military or strategic purpose’ and welcome this significant step towards a nuclear-free world.
The events of the past year have shown that nuclear weapons do not keep us safe and that the UK Government cannot be trusted to ensure Scotland’s security. Harbouring these weapons of mass destruction has lulled the UK Government into a false sense of security, seen in their failure to build the kind of national resilience necessary to protect us from modern threats.
|Stuart McHardy||historical scholar, poet and musician||o aw the ills bi man inventit
we needna this
this evil wrocht upo the warld
is no fer us
gin fantasies o empire rin
|Willie Sinclair||Folk Singer and anti-nuclear activist||The UK should sign up and fulfil its obligations to humanity, the planet and every species with which we share it.|
|Women for Indy||Campaign Organisation||Endorses the WILPF Scottish Women’s Covenant for the TPNW: Today, on International Human Rights Day and following 2020’s 16 Days Campaign to end Violence against women and girls, The Scottish Branch of WILPF initiates Scottish Women’s Covenant to promote the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as the first UN nuclear weapons treaty that recognises the disproportionate impact from nuclear weapons on women and girls, and the special danger that women experience from their manufacture, testing and existence as well as from their testing and use. We urge all Governments to fully commit to joining the TPNW to ensure that women are protected from nuclear weapons use or accident, and to ensuring that women’s voices are head in all negotiations about nuclear weapons policy.|