MOVING FROM COMMEMORATION TO ACTION – Taking Stock

The international campaigners for the abolition of nuclear weapons (ICAN) only need the last seven final ratifications and nuclear weapons will be outlawed as indiscriminate and inhumane as germ warfare and mustard gas. This year is the 75th anniversary of the US attack on the civilians in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagagsaki on the 6th and 9th August. The Scottish democratic deficit is re-emerging as a key issue because we need a government that aims to protect people here and across the world, rather than put them at risk

We in Scotland have a particular connection to the experience of Japanese peace people, especially for Okinawa where cultural identity and outstanding natural heritage have been disregarded for the military aspirations of a government that was not elected by those affected, and also at Iwakuni, where a military base impacts on a community that did not choose to play host.

In Scotland we care about the suffering experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Setsuko is a Hirosima survivor who has made nuclear abolition her life’s work, receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace prize on behalf of ICAN. This may be the last significant anniversary that she will be able to campaign and so has written to leaders of nuclear armed states asking them to sign the Ban Treaty, including Boris. She also wrote a letter of thanks to Nicola for Scotland’s steadfast support despite being the base for the UK’s nuclear weapons without consent. Nicola’s reply expresses our opposition to nuclear weapons and our determination to play a part in getting rid of them, not only because Scottish campaigners fear the effects on our country, but because we absolutely refuse to continue to be made complicit or be held responsible for the terrible outcomes of nuclear weapons policies.

This internationalist rather than nationalist perspective along with Setsuko’s letters can put the humanitarian agument right at the heart of the UK nuclear weapons debate. Boris and his ministers are squandering energy and resources on an upgrading and renewal programme while Brexit, climate change and the pandemic threaten our continued existence.

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