Friday was the culmination of a long and complex peace process which our Government has been opposed to. Those words alone should be a wake up call to all of us, we have a Government that would rather go to war sacrificing our lives and our taxes than seek peace, even though it has been agreed by others. Taking place in the UN, 122 nations signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Like many other people who are sick and angry at the human and financial waste of warfare around our world, this seems to me to be a fantastic achievement and one that demands a meaningful response from the UK and indeed the other 60 or so nations around the world who are part of the treaty. As I wrote just over a month ago the value of nuclear weapons as a deterrrence is at an end, these are not my words but the words of the American Government as posted on their website. So if there is no value in deterrence, then the quicker we get an agreement for all nations to disarm the quicker we can focus on matters that will bring peace in other areas.
This agreement for peace began with a larger number of nations, some 159 in all, but even then the UK Government was opposed to a positive outcome. Although our Government has stayed away from most of the discussions since, we sent a representative to the beginning of the process who used the opportunity to openly criticise those who had convened the gathering stating “Some would like to force the speed of disarmament without taking into account wider security considerations. This risks jeopardising the achievements of the NPT and undermining its future.”
So the concern is that by disarming, the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty would be undermined. A bit like saying that a refusal to fight deprives one side of winning and then magnanimously declaring that we should never fight again! This is despite the fact that article VI of the 1968 NPT treaty committed the then three nuclear nations to negotiate in “good faith” to that end. The British statement then goes on to say “My Government will therefore retain a credible and effective minimum nuclear deterrent for as long as the global security situation makes that necessary.” this is despite the fact as I have already written, that the American statement makes clear that the deterrence argument no longer applies. Or perhaps we would rather all 122 nations would buy nuclear weapons so that the NPT could really have an impact!
What we now need from our so called ‘strong and stable’ Government is a response that shows we have the guts to follow as well as pretend to lead. That we can admit our failings and we are prepared to change our mind. That as well as pressing the button, we are willing to decommission those weapons.