Thursday, 18 June 2009

Going Nuclear, Or Not

The local debate over nuclear weapons remains a vibrant one which regularly comes under the spotlight due to the presence of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston.

On the Conservative side Cllr Richard Willis recently visited the Aldermaston site noting concern among Local Liaison Committee members about protesters who were situated in the adjacent Bluebell Wood, but was reassured by reports of training exercises that any civil emergency would be capably dealt with.

Which was handy, since 11 protesters were arrested early on Monday morning during 'spontaneous' demonstrations which attempted to block a public highway, as pressure is maintained to keep this topic hot.

A coalition of people from Trident Ploughshares, Bikes Block Bombs, Scrap Cars-Scrap Trident, the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp and Eastern-region CND combined, with representatives saying their attempted blockade represents the level of public anger at Government moves to update and upgrade missile defences.

Protest organiser Angie Zelter said:
"When our Government refuses to comply with the fundamental principles of law and undermines the whole Non-Proliferation process then it is up to us, ordinary people, to prevent 'business as usual' at Aldermaston. The blockades today are responsible non-violent attempts to prevent nuclear state terrorism."
Green Party activist and supporter of Trident Ploughshares, Adrian Windisch was there in spirit, even if he couldn't be there in person.

But while some protesters are arguing a moral case, there is also a more practical case for not proceeding with the expensive Trident replacement - especially during a recession while thousands of people are losing their jobs.

LibDem councillor, Glenn Goodall describes a serious and sensible alternative to the continuous aggravation caused by confrontational tactics preferred by some across the political divide. Instead he emphasises research and says it is particularly important not to forget the numerous offshoot technologies with beneficial applications in every field - these actually help create jobs, but could not have been developed without nuclear science.

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