Scottish campaigners head for Paris disarmament forum

in Scotland1

Press Release: 13th February 2020 – for immediate use

A group of Scottish anti-nuclear campaigners are today travelling to Paris to take part in a major international disarmament forum called by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

14 Scots are expected to attend the forum at a critical time for global nuclear disarmament. The 5 – yearly review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty takes place in April/May and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is likely to gain 50 state ratifications and enter into legal force this year – all against the background of the increasing threat of nuclear confrontation.

Iona Soper, of Faslane Peace Camp said:

“I’m beyond pleased to be carrying a torch for Scottish CND and the Faslane Peace Camp at the ICAN Paris forum this week. It’s an important opportunity for a meeting of minds with our brothers and sisters from across the international anti-nuclear community, as well as a chance to hear and learn from some of the most prominent and inspiring figureheads of this vital and unifying campaign. The panel I’m most looking forward to is ‘Detoxting From Deterrence and Other Lies’ which aims to expose and counter the patrichical, military-industrial and colonialist frameworks that facilitate mankinds continued engagement with these terrible weapons.”

Also attending is Dr. Michael Orgel of Medact Scotland, an affiliate of both IPPNW (International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War) and ICAN. Michael said:

The Paris Forum will have special focus on education (especially of youth and students) about the existential crises of both climate change and nuclear weapons. It is now more important than ever to work together with international partners to get all countries to sign and ratify the U.N. Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. “

Underlining the links between the climate emergency and the threat of nuclear war, Grace Quin, a computer games student from Edinburgh and a member of the Scottish Youth Climate Strike, will take part in a panel at the forum. Grace said:

Activism and encouraging people not to just accept everything they are told to believe is something that I have been passionate about since I can remember, so I was enthusiastic when I was offered an invitation to speak on a panel about standing up and trying to bringing change for the better. I’m looking forward engaging in topics that I am passionate about and to listen to other speakers.’

Contact: Iona Soper 07500 043226 Janet Fenton 07795 594573

1 Campaigners in Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, MEDACT, Northern Friends Peace Board, UN House Scotland, Scottish WILPF, Mayors for Peace and Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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Brian Quail on “Usable” Nukes

Dear Sir,

“We only have it to prevent anybody ever using nuclear weapons on us. It will never actually be used. It’s just a deterrent”. This, the universal mantra of the apologist for Trident, is rehashed ad nauseam – in spite of the fact that the crews practice diligently to actually use the hellish thing. Facts tell a very different story.

The USS Tennessee, which left port in Georgia at the end of last year, is the first submarine to go on patrol armed with the W76-2 warhead, commissioned by Donald Trump two years ago. This has a yield of 5 kilotons, a third of the power of the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

This “low yield”(!) normalizes the W76-2, and makes it more usable. It is thus integrated into military war planning. Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at FAS (Federation of American Scientists), said: “Certainly the low-yield collateral effect that would come from this weapon would be very beneficial to a military officer who was going to advise to the president whether we should cross the nuclear threshold.”

So there we have it from the horse’s mouth. While we rabbit on about a never-to-be-used “deterrent”, the US war machine is making plans to actually use nuclear weapons.

This is the inevitable resolution of an inherent contradiction at the very heart of the concept of nuclear deterrence. “Deterrence” is just a fancy Latinate word meaning threat. And a threat is useless, unless you are prepared to act it out. 

Meanwhile, in the real world far from the madding fantasies of American war planners, 122 states agreed on the TPNW (Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons) at the UN in 2017. Our job is to decide which side we are on.

Fortunately, we in Scotland do have a choice. All parties supporting independence take a principled stand against nuclear WMD. Our cousins south of the Tweed are not so fortunate.

We must be an example for them. We need to lead them, not leave them – to coin a phrase.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Quail, Glasgow

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SCND TPNW 24th January 2020

Cockburn, Gail Lythgoe, Janet Fenton, David French, David Mackenzie,
Flavia Tudoreanu, Lynn Jamieson (online) and Felix Mensah (online),
Lesley Taylor.

Ann Ballinger; Tony Fitzpatrick

Composition of the working group. There are other areas uncovered by representations. Gil Saunderson could be contacted re Fife. We will include Mike Arnott in the invitation, For Arran the contact will be John Page. Emma compile list of these contacts and the invitation to them will go along with these minutes (David).

Next Phase. We will be urging MSPs and to attend the NPT (April/May); Entry into Force will be acquiring momentum (we will reach out to Irish CND via Janet and the office); work on the Cities Appeal; outcomes and follow-up from Paris Forum.

Paris Forum: Attending will be Flavia, Emma, Gail, Alba, Gordon Dickson (plus 2 young Greens), Anne McCullagh-DLyske, a contact via Mike of the Edinburgh Yes Hub, an intern from the P&J Centre, Dagmar Schwitzgebel, an intern from UN House Scotland, Janet; Grace Quinn who is sponsored by ICAN. All attendees are asked focus on feedback and engagement with their own circle Images from the Forum will be important for sharing in Scotland (David to be alert). Attenders will be able to post directly to Short videos would be good. On return attenders could continue the teamwork with joint presentations etc.

Following this discussion, we agreed it is important to let ICAN internationally know what we have been doing recently as well as reporting to them on after work from forum..

Cities Appeal. Lots of scope since both Greens and SNP as parties support the TPNW and councillors can be reminded of this. NFLA works at political level and includes divestment in the ask . We agreed to focus on the simple sign up to the Cities Appeal especially in Local Authorites not members of NFLA. Following discussion about whether to go for an immediate approach to all councils we agreed to go in the first instance for an extended target group: Aberdeen; Dundee; Inverness; Dumfries and Galloway; North Ayrshire; Stirling. We will work through the local CND or similar groups. Gail will draft a letter for the groups and a model letter to be sent to local councillors. Agreed to inform Sean at NFLA about what we are doing so as to avoid confusions (Janet or David?). There are complexities in Aberdeen which has left the NFLA and Aberdeen CND currently considering who best to work through on the council.

Parliamentary Pledge. David French will check up on status of signatures in the light of changes arising from the general election and also changes at Holyrood (such as Sarah Boyack) . The updated status should be posted on and ICAN informed

Next Round Table 7th April from 2-4 in Glasgow hosted by SCND. Office to arrange room in Wellington Church.

Alignment campaign. We already have the basic trifold leaflet which will be adapted for the presentation (Lesley). Emma agreed to develop an online invitation using the leaflet content to enable individuals and groups to get on board. Emma will explore design plus costs and feasibility of a lapel pin to be awarded to signatories to the personal alignment programme – which should mainly be an online process – with proposals ready for next Exec meeting. Cost of the lapel pin could possibly be shared with ICAN UK.

We discussed ways of sharing ideas and text more generally. In the context of this discussion Gail offered to do a training on the use of Google Docs/Drive for cloud sharing. This would be for the Exec plus staff as a whole, not just this working group.

Agreed for Janet to set up a Googlegroup for this working group.

Staff Time. Emma calculates this as ½ day’s work for the lapel pin work and other minor items. The time and commitment of staff needs to be outlined and agreed by Exec

Reporting to Exec. This will be done as per template being worked on (David to Discuss with Gordon on standard template for working groups).

Next Meeting: 21st February in the office at 2 p.m.

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Model MP/MSP Appeal

Skeleton letter for you to adjust and send to your elected representatives at Holyrood and Westminster. Use They Work for You website if you are not sure of the names. Please forward letter and replies to

Dear MSP or MP (name)

I am writing to you as your constituent to ask you to attend the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review in New York this spring.

As a signatory to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Parliamentary Pledge, you will be aware of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), welcomed by the majority of the UN member states. ICAN’s contribution to it earned the movement a Nobel Peace Prize. Scottish MPs and our MSP’s can be accredited to attend through ICAN and its partner organisations.

The NPT has had a limiting effect on nuclear weapons proliferation but the nuclear-armed states, including the UK, have never fulfilled their obligations to negotiate disarmament, and they have opposed the TPNW from the outset. The NPT is reviewed every five years, with preparatory conferences between, so this year’s Review will be the first since the TPNW, which provides the legal route to disarmament, was adopted.

ICAN will be in attendance at the NPT Review. It is planning a special side event to highlight how the TPNW could contribute to the NPT. Additionally, off-record meetings can be arranged with civil society organisations, nuclear weapons victims, scientists and academics. There will be a social event around the same time where informal exchanges can take place.

Scottish MPs and MSPs can meet with, for instance, the diplomats from Ireland and Austria who worked so hard for nuclear disarmament. Ambassadors and parliamentarians can talk informally together at the UN, regardless of constitutional arrangements.

Scotland should not be represented by diplomats who claim that the UK has a mandate to modernise its nuclear weapons system. This is an important opportunity for the world to understand that the UK does not have a mandate over the small country where their nuclear weapons are kept.1

Add any additional comments about previous correspondence you may have had and thank your elected representative for any good recent work.

Yours in peace

1More info at SCND and website

The 2020 Review Conference , Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take place from 27 April 2020 to 22 May 2020 in New York, United States. The first two weeks are likely to be the best time for input from parliamentarians.

Article VI Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty:

Each party “undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on 7 July 2017 by the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination, held in New York from 27 to 31 March and 15 June to 7 July 2017.

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NPT and the TPNW at the UN

This year, our Scottish Parliamentarians have a unique opportunity to join diplomats and governments to advocate for nuclear disarmament, not just from Scotland but for the world. Can you help make that happen? Here’s the background and why it’s important.

This year, the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) gets closer to ‘entry into force’, that is the point at which it will become binding on those who join. For that to happen we only need 16 of the states who have already signed to complete ratification by putting it through their national legislation. All Greens, SNP and a good number of Scottish Labour Parliamentarians have signed a pledge to support the TPNW. The unique opportunity for our parliamentarians will arise because the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is due for Review in New York in early May 1.

The United Nations established the NPT more than fifty years ago, to prevent proliferation, that is, to curb new nation states from entering an arms race that already threatened all humanity. The world expected the UN to create legislation to prevent any repetition of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The treaty has three main purposes, described as the three pillars; states have taken some action on the first two: no new state that has signed can develop nuclear weapons; no states that sign to be prevented from developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The third pillar2 was a commitment by the (at that time 5) nuclear-armed states to complete nuclear disarmament. No legal route was established to determine how that would happen in the NPT, and while the size of their nuclear arsenals has diminished, the nuclear-armed states still have the capacity to destroy the world as we know it. Nuclear-armed member states have just been at loggerheads with the disarmament movement over multi- or unilateral approaches for years, proliferation has continued, and there are now nine nuclear-armed states. The treaty is reviewed at the UN every five years, with Preparatory Conferences between the Reviews.

In 2017, after a decade of global action by ICAN-partner-organisations’ supporters and diplomats, a new treaty, The Treaty On The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN. It spells out how we can ban the bomb and what that means. The nine nuclear-armed states (and the UN member states which have capitulated to their pressure) have opposed the TPNW from the outset, suggesting that it somehow compromises the NPT. This highlights the hypocrisy of their position as NPT signatories. They have not disarmed, preferring policies like reduction of the numbers of weapons, no first use policies, implying that second use is OK, or other activities that allow them to retain the capacity to annihilate life on the planet. The TPNW actually complements the NPT and gives it the capacity to finish the job it set out to do, complete global disarmament. That’s why ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for its contribution to its adoption.

This NPT Review will be the first since the TPNW was adopted and it will be an important opportunity for the relationship between the two treaties to be highlighted. Scotland’s voice can be heard. MSP’s and Scottish MP’s can attend meetings that will take place, even if they are not part of the UK diplomatic delegation, so that in the international community Scotland is not misrepresented by UK ambassadors when they claim that the UK has a democratic mandate to renew its own nuclear weapons.

Nobel prize or no, ICAN has not finished its work yet, the campaign aims to abolish nuclear weapons! This means that the ICAN staff and the International Steering Group will be supporting the many UN member states who want to see the Treaty succeed, and even if Scotland is not a member of the UN, all parliamentarians who support the TPNW can meet and exchange ideas, experiences and opportunities to work for the TPNW. We can also lobby the nuclear armed states to make sure that they accept and discuss the impact of the TPNW on the NPT.

Scottish MPs and MSPs can meet with, for instance, the diplomats from Ireland and Austria who have worked so hard for nuclear disarmament, and talk informally together at the UN. This would be much hard to arrange in Scotland for diplomatic reasons.

ICAN is planning a special side event at the NPT where parliamentarians can meet. Off record meetings can be arranged with civil society organisations, nuclear weapons victims, scientists and academics. There will be a social event around the same time where informal exchanges can take place. Scottish MPs and our MSP’s can be accredited to attend through ICAN and its partner organisations.

Can you write to your elected representative(s) and urge them to attend?

SCND has a working group for the TPNW and members, as well as SCND staff can support you in making approaches. We have a model letter template which you can find on the nuclear website and we hope that you can adapt this to suit your regional and constituency MSPs and your MP.

SCND will also be looking for additional financial support, to make sure that we are appropriately represented at the meeting and able to provide briefings, and facilitate meetings in New York, so please consider if you can help in that way also.

This is a critical year for Scottish MPs and MSPs to support nuclear disarmament across the world by being in attendance at the NPT’s first Review Conference since the TPNW was adopted. Further details for any MSP’s interested in accreditation from Janet Fenton.

1The 2020
Review Conference
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
will take place from 27 April 2020 to
22 May 2020 in
New York, United States. The first or second weeks are likely to be
the best time for input from parliamentarians.

Nuclear Non-Proliferaton Treaty,

of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in
good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the
nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and
on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and
effective international control.

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Scottish Solidarity for New States Joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Today is the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and as additional nations prepare to use that occasion to sign or ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), MSPs, councillors and ordinary people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to express their solidarity with the Treaty and the worldwide movement behind it.

In attendance were representatives from partners in Scotland of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and they were joined by MSPs Alison Johnston, Mark Ruskell, Bruce Crawford, Gil Paterson, Bill Kidd, Emma Harper, Patrick Harvie, John Finnie, Ross Greer, Claire Adamson, Neil Findlay and Edinburgh Councillor Steve Burgess. At the event Steve handed to MSP Gil Paterson (as representing the Parliament) a copy of Edinburgh’s resolution to support the TPNW. While this was going on Steve was delighted to learn that today Fife Council had also signed up to the ICAN Cities Appeal.

After today’s special ceremony at the UN in New York 79 states have now signed the TPNW and 32 have ratified it. The Treaty will enter into force as international law when 50 states have ratified.

Janet Fenton, liaison in Scotland for ICAN said:

This is a planetary crisis – the climate emergency, bio-diversity collapse and the ever present threat of disastrous nuclear war. We urgently need a worldwide awakening and a worldwide collaborative response. While school strikers and XR are showing the way on climate, there is a global movement doing the same for the nuclear threat and tomorrow we will see the UN ban get closer. If the UK will not engage with that, here in Scotland we are getting in line, with Edinburgh and Renfrewshire councils, and most of our MPs and MSPs. We can all support the TPNW individually by challenging our banks and pension funds not to invest in nukes (or fossil fuels), and we can call out the outrageous transport of atomic warheads on our roads. We must take every chance to act in a world groaning to be free of the threat of extinction.”

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Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland: “Scottish LA pension funds bankroll nuke manufacture.”

Today the nuclear weapon divestment campaign Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland launched it’s new report on investment in nuclear weapon manufacture by Scottish institutions, including local authority pension funds.

Full report is here

The story has been reported by the Sunday National.

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Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland intends to launch the 2019 edition of our guide to nuclear weapons divestment in Scotland next week. The report details the nuclear weapons investments of Scottish banks, Scottish local authority pension funds, Scottish universities and the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme, and features a step-by-step guide for people who want to get involved in the divestment campaign. Some of the changes in this year’s edition of the guide include:

  • the research covers 30 nuclear weapons companies compared to 22 last year;
  • detailed information on the investment policies of Scottish local authority pension funds has been added;
  • 10 Scottish universities are covered compared to last year’s five.

Our website is currently down while we update it with the new content, we will let you know when it is live again. We will also update you with details of the exact launch date and send you the press release and links to media coverage when we have these.We will be tweeting information from the guide using the hashtag #NaeCash4Nukes so please share widely if you can.
Thanks for any help you can give with this. 

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Kazakhstan anti-nuclear campaigner visits Scottish Parliament

Yesterday Karipbek Kuyukov from Kazakhstan visited the Scottish Parliament where he met and addressed MSPs, parliamentary researchers and civil society members of the parliament’s Cross Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament. The visit was timed to coincide with Kazakhstan’s ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The transcontinental Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, historically populated by nomadic peoples, and formerly part of the USSR where hundred of nuclear weapons tests were conducted between 1949 and 1989 with devastating humanitarian biological and ecological consequences, with two million people damaged by radiation effects. During that period, Karipbek Kuyukov was born without arms. He has since became a very highly regarded painter and has exhibited around the world, utilising his talent and his unique perspective to illustrate and warn of nuclear danger. A number of his striking paintings were exhibited at the meeting.

In conversation with Janet Fenton, liaison in Scotland for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), about the potential for global disarmament, Karipbek said:

If we work together we can reach this goal. I think possessing nuclear weapons is a huge attraction for leaders of different countries as we can see from the example of North Korea. But it is ordinary people that are suffering. Just last December I talked at the UN and called on the leaders of the countries who have not yet joined the global ban treaty to do it.”

Janet also addressed the meeting and brought the gathering up to date with the progress of the ban treaty, the TPNW. 25 states have now ratified the Treaty, half the number required for entry into force as a legal instrument. A number of others are just about to take the step of ratification. In the Scottish Parliament all the SNP and Green members, and a number of labour members, have signed the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge in support of the Treaty.

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How Scots can align with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted at the UN in July 2017 by overwhelming vote. As of December 2019 time 80 countries have signed the Treaty and 34 of that number have ratified it. It will enter into force once 50 states have ratified. The TPNW is for the prohibition and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.

The minority of states which have refused so far to engage with the TPNW are the nuclear-armed states (9 in all), their client and dependent states and those states (like Australia and Japan) who for some reason consider themselves to be under the US “nuclear umbrella”. Lets call this whole group the Nuclear-armed States Incorporated (NASTI). The question for citizens of those states is: What can I and we do in this hostile regime to support and advance the Treaty?

Quite a lot, actually. First of all we need to get the fact that the whole campaign to advance the TPNW (a campaign led by ICAN) transcends national borders in a way we haven’t yet got adjusted to. It is vital that we do. The climate emergency requires a worldwide connected response and the same holds true for the threat of nuclear war. For one thing the efforts of folk in the NASTI states give enormous encouragement to people in the 70 signatory states to keep the pressure on for ratification, and, for the 24 ratifiers, to begin to work out all the implications of that huge step for their own behaviour as a state. The external pressure from the Treaty supporting majority is linked strongly to any and every internal crack we can open in the NASTI states. In Scotland we already have a fine wrecking bar inserted in the nuclear concrete – but more of that in a moment. Apart from the great work being done internationally by ICAN there are brilliant campaigns in a number of NASTI countries. For example there is the Nuclearban.US with guidance on house to begin alignment with the Treaty at personal and work up to community, city, state and national level. ICAN Australia have a lively and visible campaign and has engaged the support of many parliamentarians.

In this whole mix Scotland is more important than most of us imagine. We are almost unique as a significant part of a nuclear-armed state which opposes the nuclear weapon policy of that state and aspires, realistically, to independence, which could then disarm the whole UK. But it is critical that we play an active part right now.

Here are some of the things we can do to align with the Treaty:

  1. Read it! It’s not long and it is a beautifully clear and compelling document.
  2. Check whether you MP and MSPs have signed the ICAN Parliamentarians Pledge in support of the Treaty. The majority of Scottish parliamentarians have signed but if any of yours haven’t then please nudge them. You can check that here. For those parliamentarians who have signed dropping them a card or an email thanking them for their stance is a very positive thing to do. And, of course we may have a Westminster election in the near future when we are likely to need to approach some new MPs.
  3. ICAN have a very useful way for cities and local governments to register their support for the Treaty in opposition to the stance of the national government. Many cities in NASTI states have already signed up to the Cities Appeal, including Paris, Toronto, Sydney, Nagasaki and Berlin. So far in Scotland we have Edinburgh, along with Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. ICAN partners in Scotland are working on how to move this forward but it is not too soon to approach your ward councillors to encourage them to get their council on board.
  4. Follow the money. When the Treaty is in force signatory states will be barred for aiding and assisting the production or deployment of nuclear weapons and this includes ceasing to invest in companies involved in their manufacture or any aspect of their system. Some large international investment companies have caught on to this and have already decided to take their funds out of nuke related companies. We can lobby our local government to do likewise (as West Lothian Council has decided to do). Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland has an excellent guide on the ramifications of nuclear weapon money. Institutions can also be challenged to disinvest but . .
  5. . . it is also a personal matter. You can check whether the bank or banks that has your money by using the guide or writing to them to ask. If they do you can ask them to cease and switch to an ethical bank or building society if they refuse. Engaging with them is really important.
  6. Keep in touch as far as possible with what is happening with the Treaty worldwide. ICAN International is on Facebook and Twitter, ICAN UK is on Twitter, and .
  7. . with ICAN work in Scotland via this website, Scrap Trident on Facebook and Twitter, Scottish CND on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Trident Ploughshares on Twitter.
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