Green Party Women Go To Aldermaston
15 January 2014
Sunday 12th January saw several members of Green Party Women attend the women’s peace camp at the Aldermaston Nuclear Weapons Establishment in Berkshire. Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, was in attendance, alongside Green Party Women Chair Sarah Cope.
Several hardy women, including Green Party member Dr. Rebecca Johnson, who is the Executive Director Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, had camped overnight in the freezing January conditions. Many were stalwart anti-nuclear campaigners who had served time at Greenham Common, campaigning for decades for nuclear disarmament.
With the Referendum on Scottish Independence this year, the issue of whether Trident, the UK’s nuclear missile, will be allowed to remain on Scottish soil is extremely topical. And with the decision about whether to replace Trident due in the next couple of years, there is right now a real opportunity to make an impact on this vital economic, humanitarian and environmental issue.
The reason women are campaigning at this site is that the Aldermaston facility is the main British nuclear weapon establishment. On our visit we were shown around the perimeter fence at both Aldermaston and nearby Burghfield, and had pointed out to us the role of the various buildings at both of the vast sites.
This facility not only performs most research activities, it also develops weapon designs, and manufactures the majority of weapon components, including nuclear components. It was officially established 1 April 1950 on the site of a World War II airfield. Weapons development work was transferred there from the codenamed “High Explosive Research” (HER) project at Fort Halstead in Kent. The AWE employs about 5000 people.
While ignoring international disarmament efforts, the Coalition government is wasting billions of our hard-earned money on replacing the UK's nuclear-armed submarines. These currently deploy US-built Trident missiles and up to 160 nuclear warheads. Each warhead is 8 times bigger than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If used, they would violate international law. Building and deploying new nuclear weapons to replace Trident would cost over £100,000,000,000. That would pay for a lot of schools and hospitals over many years. Parliament has delayed the final decision on Trident replacement to 2016, after the next election.
Women plan to hold regular camps at the Aldermaston site, and welcome people young and old to join them in the protest.
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