Calderdale CND launched
in Hebden Bridge
Saturday, 9 June 2007
Yesterday evening was the launch of Calderdale CND at a crowded meeting at the
Methodist Hall in Hebden Bridge.
Christine McCafferty was in the chair to welcome Kate Hudson, CND's national
chair and Dave Webb of Yorkshire CND. The organisers explained to those present that they had tried hard to
find someone to defend the renewal of Trident but had not been successful.
Kate Hudson applauded the biggest backbench rebellion since Labour came to power referring to the recent vote on whether to renew the Trident missilie system.
Public opinion had, over recent years she told us, been steadily moving against nuclear
weapons - last summer a poll showed that 59% now thought they were no longer
necessary. In fact, many people who had previously supported the use of the
nuclear deterrent now no longer thought such weapons she be retained, including
Michael Portillo, Dennis Healey and Roy Hattersley.
Kate Hudson said that CND's arguments could be summarised into 4 main points.
Moral: that is wrong to have a defense which is based upon killing
thousands if not millions of innocent civilians.
Legal: according to the nuclear non-proliferation treat we should be
moving towards reducing dependence upon these weapons, not renewing them.
CND has received an "opinion" from top barristers that further development of nuclear weapons is illegal.
Costs: Ms Hudson observed that the apparent cost to Britain for
addressing climate change would be in the region of £75 billion - about the
same as renewing Trident.
Security - if Britain re-arms it would encourage other countries to do the same. If we argue
we need nuclear weapons for our own security, how can we then argue that
other countries do not. Many people do not realise that Britain actually has
a policy of first use, even when the "enemy" doesn't even have its own
Chris McCafferty MP said that "nobody in their right mind thinks that Trident
and nuclear weapons expansion is a good idea.
There followed questions from the audience. Here are some of the many points
Treaties: There are treaties in place against chemical and biological
weapons, and landmines: why not for nuclear weapons.
Fylingdales and Menwith Hill - these US bases in Yorkshire allow the US to attack without fear
of retaliation. Barbara Green pointed out that the number of domes had been
increasing in recent years.
The US proposed Nation Missile Defence (NMD) bases across Europe and the UK's involves both Fylingdales and Menwith Hill, and Eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic in both the operational and logistical components of NMD.
Faslane nuclear base - people have travelled to Scotland from Hebden
Bridge and Calderdale to take part in this blockade which has been going for
nearly a year - and are included in the number of 775 arrests since September last year.
Media - Sarah Penny pointed out that the media were not asking the right
questions to the politicians. There was some discussion about this. Ms Hudson
pointed out that CND activists were taking advantage of the new media, the web,
YouTube, etc - and were able to communicate videos of actions very quickly in
this way. Others talked about using local websites. At which point, Christine
McCafferty kindly declared that in the Hebden Bridge Web "We
have the best website in the world."
The Conservative Party - Sarah Penny pointed out that the Tories were
changing. Would this be a good time to approach them and see if they would be
prepared to revise their policies on nuclear weapons. Kate Hudson told the
audience that CND had in fact written to David Cameron but that he had replied
that they support the use of nuclear weapons. There were however other Tories
who had changed their mind.
Poverty - the links with poverty was stressed. Christine McCafferty felt
very strongly that the money could be better used to fight poverty; in particular, to help prevent half a million
women a year dying in pregnancy and childbirth in Africa.
People were encouraged to join the national demonstration in Manchester on Sunday, 24th June where the Labour Party will be holding it's "Leadership Conference."
The Hebden Bridge Web will list Calderdale CND's forthcoming events in our events section
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Stop the War Coalitions
Close Menwith Hill
Video highlights from the Faslane blockade
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