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Hastings Borough Council online meeting, Oct 21.

Hastings Borough Council backs nuclear ban

Last week Hastings Borough Council voted to support a United Nations treaty to restrict the use of nuclear weapons in what is being hailed as ‘a new chapter for nuclear disarmament’ by campaigners. The Hastings Against War group issued the following press release detailing the council meeting, as well as promote their upcoming online screening of the anti-war documentary ‘War School’.

On the 21st October Hastings Borough Council voted to support a United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a treaty which is now set to enter into force after Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the treaty just days after the Council vote.

The council decision means Hastings has now joined municipalities including Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Philadelphia and Edinburgh in supporting the UN treaty. The treaty aims to turn the tide against nuclear weapons, which since devastating Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 have become established in the weapons’ arsenals of states such as Britain, Russia, America and China. The explosive firepower these nations possess is far in excess of that unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in attacks which killed an estimated 185,000 people.

The treaty ban follows earlier bans of less lethal weapons like landmines and cluster bombs. Although the ban isn’t legally binding on those states like Britain which have not signed the treaty campaigners hope it will rob nuclear weapons of their ‘respectability’ and begin their gradual elimination from the world. The ban will make it more difficult to finance nuclear weapons as many financial institutions will not want to be seen to be funding controversial armaments. ABP, Europe’s largest pension fund, has already committed to scrapping its investments in nuclear weapons producers.

The motion in the Hastings Borough Council debate was proposed by Maya Evans, a councillor for the Hollington area. Introducing the motion she spoke of the estimated £205 billion pounds it would take to produce and maintain Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. She spoke of alternative uses to which the money could be put – improvements to the NHS, the funding of tuition fees for students or the construction of 3 million new homes.

Labour Councillor Margi O’Callaghan continued this theme, saying ‘I choose education over Trident. I choose ending hunger over Trident. I choose putting our residents first over Trident. I choose life over this.’

None of the Conservative Councillors spoke in the debate except the leader of the Conservative group, Rob Lee, who simply remarked ‘I don’t believe this motion is worthy of our time this evening.’

The motion passed easily. Hastings is now one of a small band of UK towns and cities to formally support the ban treaty. The treaty was approved by 122 countries at the UN General Assembly in 2017 but needed to be ratified by at least 50 before being enacted. The ban will enter into force in January of next year.

Anyone interested in engaging with this issue locally can email Hastings Against War (info@hastingsagainstwar.org).

On Tuesday the 3rd of November the group will, via Zoom, screen the film ‘War School’, a documentary which seeks to expose the increasing militarisation of UK society and asks if perpetual war is really what we want for future generations. The film features testimony from armed forces veterans and explores ‘the battle for the hearts and minds of Britain’s children’.  The producer of the film will be on hand to answer questions.

Anyone wishing to see the film should apply to info@hastingsagainstwar.org in advance for the Zoom address. People should join the Zoom screening at 6.50 for 7.00pm.

 

 

 

 

Posted 16:46 Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 In: Campaigns

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