Ukraine war shows ‘nuclear deterrence’ doesn’t work. We need disarmament. – Open Democracy

Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy authored this article that discusses the need to move away from the idea that nuclear deterrence is effective: “deterrence theories fail to factor in how narcissistic leaders armed with nuclear weapons may choose to blot out future possibilities that their egos refuse to face”.

What does the TPNW mean for Scotland? – Webinar Recordings

A playlist with recordings from a Q&A with Dr Rebecca Johnson from the Acronym Institute of Disarmament Diplomacy discussing the meaning and opportunities that the TPNW can bring to Scottish disarmament can be accessed here:

Scotland’s role is key as we mark anniversary of TPNW The National

Published 15 January 2022, Janet Fenton authors this special report explaining Scotland’s position one year since the entry into force of the TPNW.

“At present, Scotland cannot accede to the TPNW, but parliamentarians and civilians will be welcomed to its first meeting in Vienna in March as civil society representatives. Given that Scotland’s wishes are cruelly misrepresented by the Westminster government, this is vital.”

Targeting Trident: How divestment is impacting the nuclear weapons industry – Bella Caledonia

Linda Pearson authors this article which explains how the TPNW is changing what Serco’s backers think is an acceptable place to put their money. Published 15th November 2021.

“It appears that the prospect of losing investors was enough to persuade Serco – which previously held long-term nuclear weapons contracts as part of AWE Management Ltd – to pull out of the competition for future nuclear-weapons related work. This provides a clear example of how divestment, or the threat of divestment, can change company behaviour.”

Nuclear Disarmament is a Feminist Issue – Young Women’s Movement

The UN Women’s annual initiative of marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence provides an opportunity to discuss the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and girls: “nuclear weapons, like violence, are not gender neutral”. Published December 2021.

Catherine Robertson details this connection here:

This article was produced as part of the work of UNH Scotland’s ICAN Team. To learn more about UNH Scotland and its work on the UN SDGs, see

An Independent Scotland is the key to a nuclear weapon-free world – Bella Caledonia

Catherine Robertson has authored this article published in Bella Caledonia that discusses the connection between the recent COP-26 conference and the connections between nuclear weapons and climate change. Published October 29th 2021.

Robertson writes: “As perilous as this situation is and despite the ambitions of the UK government, Scotland actually has the power to kickstart nuclear disarmament worldwide. By becoming an independent country, Scotland can force the UK to disarm.”

Read the article here:

This article was produced as part of the work of UNH Scotland’s ICAN Team. To learn more about UNH Scotland and its work on the UN SDGs, see

A case for nuclear disarmament this Easter – Yorkshire Post Letters

In news from Trident Ploughshares, read a letter from Sylvia Boyes in the Yorkshire Evening Post references the TPNW and points out that

“We cannot escape from the fact that the nuclear threat is real and growing. Kathleen Lonsdale, a committed Quaker and pacifist, said at the beginning of the nuclear age: “The real horror is not that we may be bombed but that we should ever think of using the bomb on anyone else.”

At this Easter time particularly, the moral imperative for nuclear disarmament is absolute.

Highland Times 29 March on warhead increase

Trident Ploughshares Press Release: 29th March 2021 – for immediate use

Trident Ploughshares is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a nonviolent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner.

UK Nuke Number Hike “Calamitous” Say Campaigners

The anti-nuclear campaign Trident Ploughshares has reacted strongly to the decision of the UK government to increase its nuclear weapon stockpile by 40%, labelling it as calamitous and provocative.

In the Integrated Defence Review published last week the UK announced that it will increase its cap on deployed and stockpiled nuclear bombs to 260, and at the same time will lower the threshold on the use of its nuclear weapons by indicating that we may fire them in response to “emerging technologies”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson the campaigners point out that the move completely undermines any pretence the UK has of abiding by the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It says:

To increase the warhead stockpile at the same time as claiming to abide by the NPT is utterly disingenuous. It is however more than a breach of a key UN disarmament treaty, it is a dangerous and provocative step. It provides an excuse for any other nuclear-armed state wishing to make its own disastrous contribution to the nuclear arms race. And it provides sufficient rationale for any non-nuclear state wishing to go nuclear to conclude that the nuclear-armed states have no interest at all in the enforcement of article VI of the NPT, to conclude further that the NPT has fallen into abeyance, and to develop nuclear weapons of their own accordingly. Whatever technical reasons may lie behind the decision it is the public and international effect that is calamitous.”

The letter ends with a question:

How does the United Kingdom intend to present and defend the decision to increase its stockpile cap in the context of negotiations at the upcoming NPT Review Conference?”

David Mackenzie said:

No other reason presents itself for this dangerous and maverick behaviour than a desire to prove “tough guy” credentials for public consumption and to appease the hawks within the Conservative party. We also should recall that just a few weeks ago the Labour Party made its infamous vow that backing the UK’s nuclear weapons was “non-negotiable”, so they may also have played a part in a macho bidding war. For nuclear disarmament at international level this behaviour is utterly irresponsible. We are asking instead for a mature and realistic change of direction from the UK. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now entered into force and has majority support across the globe. The UK must begin to adjust to this reality.”

Contact: Angie Zelter 07454 573135 David Mackenzie 07876 593016

NFLA media release, 17th March 2021

NFLA sees UK Defence Review as seriously threatening 30 years of gradual nuclear disarmament and it opposes increase in Trident warheads

The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) note the UK Government’s publication of its Integrated Strategic Defence Review today, which seeks to pivot the UK from centralising its policy within Europe and more towards a ‘global arena’, particularly the Asia-Pacific region.Whilst NFLA will consider the report in its totality, of particular concern to us, as it has been to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is the potential increase in the cap of the UK’s nuclear weapons arsenal. This could reverse Britain’s long-standing principles and commitments to non-proliferation, disarmament and international security. (1)In Parliament yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer also focused on this issue, saying:

“This review breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile. It doesn’t explain, when, why, or for what strategic purpose.”

The UK’s Integrated Review abandons the UK’s previous commitment of a cap of operational nuclear warheads set at 120, and it raises the overall cap on the UK’s stockpile from 180 to 260 – an increase of more than 40%. The UK says the move is necessary due to the “evolving security environment” without giving any evidence how more nuclear warheads will protect British citizens. According to defence sources speaking to ‘The Guardian’ the decision to lift the UK’s Trident warhead cap by over 40% was motivated by a desire to be more assertive about nuclear weapons: “If we have them, let’s not apologise for it, let’s own it,” an insider told the newspaper. (2) In a different statement, the UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has commented, on the 50th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that the UK Government remain committed to the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons. (3) The decision on not reducing the cap on Trident missiles does not suggest that, in tone as much as in reality. With the crucial 5 yearly Review Conference taking place in the summer NFLA would question whether this shows the UK Government as “working in good faith” to prevent proliferation and accomplish the elimination of all nuclear weapons anytime soon. It also remains a disappointing move when the majority of UN member states are in the process of ratifying or supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which became a part of the international disarmament regime in January.  As part of this campaign it should be noted that:

• Major international banks and financial institutions are divesting from nuclear weapons production, informed by ICAN’s “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” campaign. A number of Scottish Councils like Renfrewshire, Midlothian, West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde have passed resolutions supporting divestment in this area from Council Pension Funds.

• A number of Councils across Britain, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford, Brighton and Hove, Norwich and Leeds, have also signed up to support the TPNW.  Other Councils will follow.

• Since October 2020, Anglican and Catholic leaders in the UK and a range of faith leaders and prominent opinion formers have openly endorsed the TPNW and called on the UK government to change its stance towards it.

• 59% of the UK public think that the UK should sign up to the TPNW, while 77% support a total global nuclear weapons ban, according to recent polling by Survation for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

NFLA also note a statement sent out yesterday by leading UK faith leaders raising deep disappointment with the review. The 7 faith leaders’ comment:

“The entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition in of Nuclear Weapons is an encouraging development. As people of faith, we join with millions across the world who are working towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals. Living up to our responsibilities under the Non-Proliferation Treaty would be a step towards realising that vision. We believe that ‘Global Britain’ should strive for peaceful and cooperative international relationships, and joint endeavour on climate change, global poverty and other challenges. This announcement takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction.” (4)

NFLA would completely agree with that assessment. This new UK review appears to seek to create a more assertive defence and foreign policy that emphasises Britain as an ongoing global power, when for NFLA it would be much better to encourage multilateral cooperation, as has taken place to some degree with the global Covid-19 pandemic.

NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn, said:

“The NFLA will carefully study the Government’s integrated defence review and publish a more detailed report soon. However, we remain alarmed to an apparent move in the posture on nuclear weapons which clearly suggests retaining more Trident warheads. The UK Government should rather be continuing the process began by previous Labour and Conservative Governments over the past 30 years which has seen slow reductions in our nuclear weapons stockpile and speed these processes up. Adding billions of pounds in new investment for defence infrastructure, whilst at the same time slashing the international aid budget for those in our world who are most vulnerable, does not send out the right signals to the world. Multilateral nuclear disarmament remains essential in our world, and this review suggests a clear tonal move to a more aggressive unilateral defence policy promoting, rather than apologising for, our nuclear weapons programme. NFLA strongly opposes such a change in policy direction.”

Media Contact

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