nuke faslane

Glasgow CND to launch ‘Reclaim the Clyde’ campaign

By Odhran Gallagher

The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to the local branch of the Campaign of Nuclear Disarmament about their upcoming campaign targeting nuclear weapons stationed on the clyde estuary.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is an organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom. “Ultimately, our objective is to have the UK’s nuclear weapons removed from the Clyde”, says Glasgow CND representative David Peutherer, “however, through the campaign we hope to make a lot more people aware that they’re there in the first place and of the dangers that they pose to people living in and around the estuary.

All of the submarines, missiles, and warheads which make up the UK’s nuclear arsenal are stationed at Faslane and Coulport on the Clyde estuary, about 30 miles west of the centre of Glasgow and 8 miles north of Greenock.

“I’m consistently amazed by the number of young people, even Scottish young people, who we speak to that have no idea there are nuclear weapons stationed so close to Glasgow. In fact, I find that foreign students are often more aware of this fact.

“We went to Strathclyde University Union for a day and we were about all day speaking to students and a lot of them didn’t know about nuclear weapons on the Clyde and they didn’t want to find out about it. I just wish more Scottish students would come and get involved in our campaign.”

Their ‘Reclaim the Clyde’ campaign itself is set to take off in Spring of the year during the month of April after having been in the works for a long time. David also spoke about the CND’s plan to make this a unifying campaign which gives agency to communities across the west of Scotland. 

“I think one of the really good things that this campaign does is to bring into the narrative the idea that this is also an incredibly localised issue. Yet despite this, it’s an issue that the local people often know very little about and feel that they have very little power over and very little agency over. 

“And yet, these are the same people that are kind of scapegoated. For example, whenever anybody brings up the concept of the removal of nuclear weapons from Faslane. The first thing that is said by the defenders of Trident is: what about the surrounding towns? The surrounding towns need to prosper and if we get rid of the base and all the traffic that that brings to the town, the town’s local economy is going to sink. And I think that view does those towns an incredible disservice, because the exact same arguments were made about the local area when the United States had nuclear weapons based on the holy loch, and actually when that base stopped functioning, what would you know? The local economy bounced back relatively quickly and it’s still driving today. 

“So I think reuniting that sense of local community campaigning around this is really important and it certainly fits into a kind of wider project galvanising the community and showing them the power that they have.”

The Glasgow CND also spoke about the CND’s plan to make this a campaign that unites different groups under the core aim of removing nuclear weapons from the Clyde: “We have partnerships between the four other CND branches on the Clyde: Renfrewshite, Ayrshire, Helensburgh, and Arran. We are also going to try and involve members of the other areas and seek the support of other agencies, including district councils, trade unions councils, political parties, politicians and volunteer organisations like yes groups and climate change groups in particular, including Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.”

The Glasgow CND also expressed admiration for the recent campaign carried out by Glasgow Against Arms and Fossil Fuels (GAAF) at the University. After a petition campaign, the group gathered approximately 100 students at the Main Gate to demand that the University of Glasgow fully divest from arms and fossil fuels: “Definitely to go and support GAAF. I think in terms of tangible actions that you can do to reclaim power, having an effect on this divestment is a massive one. And people see it as being very unattainable, but particularly for institutions like universities, students have done this type of thing across the UK in the past. 

When asked what they would say to students at Glasgow which they wanted to get involved in their campaign they said: “We would encourage coming along to a Glasgow CND meeting every so often. That’s something in your area where you can find out about Reclaim the Clyde and what’s going on with that once we kick off. 

“I think there’s a place in a campaign for anyone. And we would love to see people use their own unique skills. So if you’re a poet, write us a poem. If you’re a graphic designer, make us a leaflet. If you are a musician, write as a song. If you like camping, go out and do convoy hunting. On the weekends, you can actually help to track the convoy of nuclear weapons. 

“But, to conclude, I think that having conversations about nuclear weapons and just being part of that discussion is really important. I know it’s not a very exciting thing to talk about, but I think it’s bloody critical that we do and raise it where we can.”


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