Our work opposing nuclear weapons

Our work campaigning against nuclear weapons

Conscience Newsletter.  Spring 2021.

Conscience: Taxes For Peace Not War works for a world where taxes are used to nurture peace, not pay for war.  As part of our work we seek to raise awareness about the dangers and cost of nuclear weapons and to campaign against them.

Conscience: Taxes For Peace Not War is a partner organisation of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  You can find information about ICAN’s work here: https://www.icanw.org/

Below are details of our current lobbying campaign asking MPs to do all they can to change the government’s mind about nuclear weapons.  You will find a link there to e-mail your MP.

Further down this page you will find details of previous events Conscience has organised to campaign against nuclear weapons, and links to relevant blogs written by our Campaign Worker.

Lobby your MP about nuclear weapons

Trident submarine HMS Victorious departs HM Naval Base Clyde

We are asking if you could write to your MP:

Please do all you can to change the government’s mind about nuclear weapons

You can click on this link to  contact your MP

In July 2017, over 120 countries voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).  In October 2020 the 50th country ratified the Treaty meaning that the Treaty came into force on 22nd January 2021. Not only does the Treaty prohibit the use of nuclear weapons but also related activities such as developing, testing or manufacturing nuclear weapons and assisting others with any prohibited activities. To date 86 states have signed the treaty, and 55 states have ratified the treaty through their parliaments.  The treaty is legally binding on those states which have ratified it (1).

A nation, such as the UK, which possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as ‘it agrees to destroy [its nuclear weapons] in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan’ (2).

The UK has neither signed nor ratified the Treaty.

On the contrary, in March 2021 the UK government announced that it was going to increase the ceiling on its stockpile of nuclear warheads by more than 40%, from 180 to 260, by 2025.  This is contrary to the UK’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We believe that nuclear weapons are immoral and illegal.  And that they are irrelevant to tackling the major threats to our society – pandemics and climate change.  They use up precious resources when we desperately need investment in our health service, in tackling climate change and in building green infrastructure.

Moreover, spending money on nuclear weapons does not bring about the peace we all crave.  It means fewer resources to direct towards conflict resolution and tackling the causes of war.

Click here to contact your MP

Sources

1. https://www.icanw.org/signature_and_ratification_status

2.  https://www.icanw.org/the_treaty

Conscience events campaigning against nuclear weapons

Count the money we spend on nuclear weapons – and divert it to saving our climate

On Saturday 26 October 2019 we counted £5.2 billion outside the Ministry of Defence in London – the amount of money the UK spends on its nuclear weapons programme in a year.

£5.2 billion (i.e. £5,200,000,000) is such a huge amount of money it is difficult to visualise or comprehend. We physically counted this sum of money outside the Ministry of Defence in protest at the UK’s ownership of nuclear weapons and this terrible use of taxpayers’ money. We demanded that the £5.2 billion is spent instead on addressing the climate emergency.

Each note was worth £500,000. We counted 10,400 x £500,000 notes. We counted for hours. There were two or three people counting at any one time.

https://conscienceonline.org.uk/recent-activities/count-nuclear-weapons-money-2019/

Conscience organised this action as the London companion event to the international Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action which took place in New York throughout UN Disarmament Week (24-30 October); http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/count-the-money/

Standing outside Faslane nuclear weapons base

In November / December 2019 Conscience hosted the 15th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns in Edinburgh. On the last day of the conference a group of us went to the nuclear weapons base at Faslane. The people in the group were from five countries. That evening Karen Robinson, Conscience Campaign Worker, wrote:

“Still feeling quiet, and part of me frightened and frozen inside. Went to HM Naval Base Clyde today, where submarines carrying the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons are based. Almost impossible to take in the horror, alongside the beauty.”

https://conscienceonline.org.uk/recent-activities/conscience-at-faslane-2019/

In her blog our Campaign Worker, Karen Robinson, described her personal reaction to seeing, and standing outside, the base:

https://conscienceonline.org.uk/blog/2019/12/27/part-of-me-still-frightened-and-frozen-inside-after-standing-outside-faslane-nuclear-weapons-base/

Our blogs on nuclear weapons

Counting the UK nuclear weapons money

Karen Robinson.  25 October 2019.

Part of me still frightened and frozen inside – after standing outside Faslane nuclear weapons base

Karen Robinson.  27 December 2019.

Reflection on the horror of war – 75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Karen Robinson.  16 August 2020.

Ashamed to be a citizen of a nuclear-armed state

Karen Robinson.  3 August 2021.

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