Ban the Bomb
Ban the Bomb
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In what was thought to be the biggest national peace demonstration north of the Border since the last Iraq war, an estimated more than 10,000 Scots took part in anti-Trident protests at the weekend ahead of this week’s Commons vote on renewing the nuclear weapons system.


Anti-Trident protests were held in 36 Scottish cities, towns and villages, with locations including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Dumfries and Largs, which were all organised within days of it being announced the Westminster vote would take place – and that subsequently saw the renewal of Trident, by 472 votes to 117.


Today’s photo was taken at one of the largest demonstrations, held on Saturday in Glasgow, at the Buchanan St. steps, under the ever-watchful eye of the statue of Scotland’s first First Minister, the much-missed wise old owl himself, Donald Dewar. However despite the large crowds, it nowhere neared the enthusiasm shown in the 1950s and 1960s during the anti-nuclear weapons Aldermaston marches led by the likes of Labour’s Michael Foot.


Sadly, despite many making the comparison, current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is no Michael Foot – and I severely doubt whether Footy would have had the chutzpah nor the audacity to speak from the front-bench in defiance of current Labour policy. He would have had the decency to do the honourable thing, and resign first before doing so.


Labour has always believed fiercely in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. When Nye Bevan famously demanded in 1957 that he not be sent “naked into the conference chamber”, he was not championing nuclear weapons. As he said in the same speech: “It is not a question of who is in favour of the bomb, but what is the most effective way of getting the damn thing destroyed.”


That same principle drove Harold Wilson to negotiate the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1968, and drove Margaret Beckett to announce a series of concrete steps towards “a world free of nuclear weapons” alongside the Trident vote in 2007. In other words, Labour has always believed that maintaining nuclear weapons for the medium term must also go hand in hand with efforts to eliminate them for good.


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