This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
by Niall Christie
POLITICIANS and campaigners slammed the “shameful” British government today after it refused to sign up to the United Nations (UN) treaty on the prohibition on Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
The Tory government failed to back the treaty, which came into effect today, despite claiming it was “committed” to a world without nuclear weapons.
The UN treaty declares that countries signed up must “never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
None of the nuclear powers, including Britain, have so far signed the accord, which was ratified by the required 50 countries last year and passed in the UN general assembly 122 votes to one, with one abstention. Britain and other nuclear-armed states refused to take part in the vote.
Representatives from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and politicians across Britain hit out at the lack of progress from the government, warning of the weapons’ devastating threat to humanity.
Ben Donaldson of United Nations Association-UK said: “The ground is moving under the UK’s feet. This significant new UN treaty will sit alongside the other major global treaty on nuclear weapons, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and drive forward the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear weapons are a global threat. Two-thirds of countries want urgent action to reduce this threat. The UK has a legal and moral responsibility to act.”
CND released results from a poll today, carried out by Survation, which showed that 77 per cent of Brits support a total ban of nuclear weapons.
A further 59 per cent want the Westminster government to sign the UN’s TPNW.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson celebrated the historic day but condemned the British government for its stance.
She said: “Shamefully, the UK government refused to even participate in the treaty talks. But that won’t stop us from celebrating this achievement.
“This treaty is a victory for all peace-loving people and the courageous states that have stood up globally to demand nuclear abolition.
“And it is a victory for grassroots campaigning and the anti-nuclear movement which has done so much to support the process.”
CND UK vice-president and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the poll, saying: “The majority of British people understand that nuclear weapons are both a threat to the future of humanity and a grotesque waste of money that could be used wisely to provide real security.”
Parliamentarians at Westminster have themselves urged the Tory government to take action, with Labour MP Zarah Sultana writing to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calling for ministers to scrap Trident.
She said: “Far from protecting people from the real threats we face — like pandemics, poverty, inequality and the climate emergency — nuclear weapons pose a grave danger to humanity.
“Their use would entail unthinkable mass murder, indiscriminately killing millions, while accidents are an ever-present risk.
“These weapons are an evil that must be banished to the past.”
Stop the War national organiser Mayer Wakefield said: “If the British government had even the slightest interest in peace around the world it would stand alongside the majority of nations on the planet and sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty immediately.
“Instead, it relies on an outdated nuclear weapons system to maintain its reputation as an imperial power intent on pursuing power through the threat of unspeakable violence.
“We face very immediate threats and nuclear weapons do nothing to tackle them.”
Many people in Scotland, where much of Britain’s nuclear weapons system is currently housed and maintained, added their outrage at the government’s lack of action.
ICAN steering group member Janet Fenton said: “Scotland can contribute to international peace rather than being a launch pad for waging nuclear war.
“The TPNW shows the will of the sane majority of the world, and will ensure our protection under international law if we can accede to the TPNW.”
MSPs from both the SNP and Scottish Greens said the government’s unwillingness to sign the treaty showed that the only way to protect Scots from nuclear weapons was through independence.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “The UK is committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons, in line with our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“We firmly believe the best way to achieve this is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated through the treaty.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.