26 June: join the Wheel Stop Trident Tour!

EVENT CANCELLED

Sorry to say that we have to cancel the Wheel Stop Trident tour on Sunday 26th. Some of us will be joining the No Faith In Trident day on Monday – come if you can!

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As part of Trident Ploughshares’ June month of action at Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment, we’re inviting you to learn more about the Trident weapons system, through the medium of our bicycling Trident Tour.

On Sunday 26th June, meet us in Reading town centre at 2.30pm. We will cycle towards Burghfield and could meet somewhere on the way if that would be easier. We will then cycle round the perimeter of the base as far as possible, stopping at regular intervals to learn more about the activity that’s going on inside. We should return to Reading by 5.30pm.

The brilliant Nuke Watch will be helping with the tour. We will hear about the Trident nuclear weapons system, the convoys of vehicles carrying nuclear warheads to Scotland from AWE, and the work already being done there to build the next generation of weapons of mass destruction.

If you are interested in joining the cycle, please write to us at wheelstoptrident@gmail.com!

Please spread the word using #TridentTour

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Wheel Stop Trident respond to Labour’s Defence Review

Wheel Stop Trident have responded to the Labour Party’s Defence Policy Review. You will find out submission below. If you agree with our words, why not send it to your local Labour MP?

Find out how to contact them here, and tweet it also using #ScrapTrident.

1. Executive Summary

1.1 The members of Wheel Stop Trident welcome Labour’s Defence Policy Review. It is vital, at a time of numerous threats to the well-being of people and the natural environment both in the UK and worldwide, that political parties examine what ‘defence’ and ‘security’ mean to party members, and other individuals and organisations.

1.2 We respond to the terms of the Labour Defence Policy Review set out in Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry’s document, in order.  

1.3 We are particularly interested in the question of the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons system, as we strongly believe that Trident is useless and immoral, and that that vast amount of money would be much better spent on reversing cuts to welfare, education and renewable energy, and on diplomacy and other forms of nonviolent peace-building, thus aiding sustainable security.

2. Wheel Stop Trident

2.1 Wheel Stop Trident is a group of around ten young people based in London, who raise the profile of the anti-Trident, pro-welfare, pro-education and pro-renewables movements through creative cycling actions. We have hundreds of supporters online, and close alliances with various anti-Trident, anti-austerity, and pro-sustainability groups. See https://wheelstoptrident.wordpress.com/

3. Britain’s place in the world

3.1 Dialogue and diplomacy should be the primary focus of UK foreign policy, rather than maintaining a world power status (in part through military strength). War is always a failure. Disastrous wars fought by the UK and its allies in recent years, for example in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, have made the world – and UK citizens specifically – less secure, not more secure.

3.3 The Labour Party should make the promotion of human rights, economic equality, non-violent conflict resolution and peace-building, and sustainability the centre of its foreign policy. When next in government, this would allow Labour to help increase security for people in the UK and globally, as well as enhancing the UK’s reputation as a force for good in the world.

4. Threats to Britain’s security

4.1 The key threats to UK security from a conventional perspective are probably climate change (and resulting problems such as natural disasters), and terrorism. The Conservative Government’s 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review only talks in vague terms about the possible risk of the UK being blackmailed or attacked with nuclear weapons, and similarly a conventional military attack on the UK is seen as very unlikely.

4.2 Wheel Stop Trident would add that causal problems such as economic inequality (both globally and in the UK specifically), climate change, and war overseas are driving and exacerbating instability, for example the refugee crisis. Terrorism, like the refugee crisis, is a symptom of other problems (including the global arms trade – which the UK Government has for years upheld recklessly by subsidising arms exports) rather than a fundamental security issue in itself.

4.3 These fundamental security threats cannot be solved by military approaches. Nuclear weapons, in particular, are completely useless (aside from being completely immoral to use or threaten to use).

4.3 In order to address the most pressing security threats, the Labour Party should move away from a militarised conception of defence and security, and instead focus on diplomacy, tackling economic inequality, and addressing climate change. The £183 billion or more that a renewed Trident nuclear weapons system would cost the taxpayer – for example – would be far better spent on reversing the cuts to the welfare, education and renewable energy systems.

5. Britain’s military and security forces

5.1 It is disappointing that the Labour Party Defence Review excludes consideration of the UK’s membership of NATO. NATO membership ties us to spending at least 2% of our GDP on the military. Our position as the sixth-highest military spender in the world is disproportionate, given our GDP and geographical and population size. Numerous politicians, including the former Labour leader Tony Blair, have acknowledged that Trident is mainly a status symbol to try and retain world power status for the UK.

5.2 The Labour Party should commit to reducing UK military expenditure, moving towards a minimal Defence Force, and investing far more in welfare, education, renewable energy, and diplomacy.

5.3 An obvious saving would be decommissioning – rather than renewing – Trident nuclear weapons system. As stated, Trident is useless against the real pressing security threats that we face. It is also unaffordable. Furthermore, and crucially, its effectiveness as a deterrent is a myth; there is no guarantee that we won’t be attacked, and if we were, it would be pointless and immoral to retaliate. The only country in the world to ever be attacked by nuclear weapons – Japan – strikingly chooses not to have them, despite possessing the capability to develop them.

5.4 It is hypocritical of the UK to even consider renewing Trident, given that we are a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The vast majority of countries do not have nuclear weapons, and many of them want to make them internationally-illegal. The UK could become the world leader in decommissioning nuclear warheads, and facilitate the nuclear disarmament of the eight other countries with nuclear weapons.

The Labour Party should commit to UK nuclear disarmament, explaining why it is doing so.

6. Protecting jobs and skills

6.1 As stated, the UK’s military expenditure is hugely excessive. Instead of supporting armed forces and arms industry jobs, the Labour Party should commit to further reducing the size of the armed forces, and facilitate the transition of arms industry production and maintenance to renewable energy and other sectors that relate to our real security needs.

6.2 The renewable energy sector requires similar skill-sets to the arms industry, and is – or can be – located in current arms industry areas. It just needs Government support and investment to realise its potential. Excellent research has been conducted into transitioning from arms development (including around Trident specifically) to renewable energy development, by Campaign Against Arms Trade and others.

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Cycle lobby: we’ll ask our MPs to vote no to Trident

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Tyred of Trident? Join Wheel Stop Trident for some pedal-power action against nuclear weapons!

In May this year, as the parliament vote on Trident approaches, we’ll be cycling to the offices of MPs in London to ask them to join us in calling for the scrapping of Trident. We’ll be celebrating commitments already made by some MPs to vote ‘no’ to Trident renewal, and asking others to follow their example. We’d love to have you there!

Find out more over the next couple of months by: following us on Twitter: @BrakeTrident; liking us on Facebook and reading this blog!

Join us on the road to nuclear disarmament!

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Song sheet for Saturday!

We’re looking forward to joining the massive Stop Trident march on Saturday. Details of our cycle bloc here.

In preparation, we’re practising some of the tunes that have kept us going on previous rides!

1. Trident, Trident
(to the tune of Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do)
Trident, Trident, what an insane idea
Thousands homeless, all for the sake of fear
We can’t afford education, or proper medication
But we must pay a million a day
So the companies profiteer.

2. Oh Trident, you really suck!
Oh Trident, you really suck
It’s time for the government to wrap you up
Oh Trident, let’s shut you down
And spend the money on renewables now
Yeah, spend the money on renewables now.

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Wheel Stop Trident bike bloc at Stop Trident national demo!

Wheel Stop Trident are organising a bike bloc as part of the Stop Trident national demonstration on Saturday 27 February!

We’d love you to come and join us to cycle (very slowly!) from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square, to add a colourful bike element to the march. This may be the last big anti-Trident action before MPs vote on Trident renewal in the spring.

Meet at the Speaker’s Corner cafe’ in Hyde Park (map:http://tinyurl.com/z96gpya) from 11.30am.

Bring a bike! Bring anti-Trident, anti-austerity, pro-equality, pro-sustainability placards & banners! And bring friends and family!

Join our Facebook event here.

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#WheelStopDSEI

bikes-not-bombs-imageThis September, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs is coming to London’s ExCeL centre.

On Saturday 12th September, Wheel Stop Trident will be joining Critical Mass to challenge the arms fair on the weekend before it’s due to begin. Join us if you can!

Meet at Societe Generale, 41 Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4SG (by the bike racks) at 11.00am on Saturday 12th September.

What is DSEI?

The DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) arms fair is where arms companies showcase their weapons and make deadly deals with buyers from across the world, including those from countries with serious human rights violations. The arms fair, due to take place on 15-18 September, involves more than 1000 companies and 30,000 attendees.

From 7 September there will be a week of action to make it as difficult as possible for it to go ahead.

Each day, many different groups are coming together to organise actions highlighting the different impacts of the arms trade and armed repression.

There are lots of ways to protest the arms fair. Visit Stop the arms fair for all the info you need.

Why are we going?

DSEIWheel Stop Trident exist to highlight the dangers of nuclear weapons, to campaign against the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system, and to protest the spending of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction at a time when vital public services are being cut. We also exist to bring you meaningful and toe-curling puns juxtaposing bicycles and WMDs.

All the companies that profit from Trident nuclear weapons will be selling their wares at the DSEI arms fair. Whilst nuclear weapons themselves will not be ‘on display’, this is one of the rare occasions when the companies that make money out of weapons of mass destruction raise their heads above water. Often, their offices are unmarked and unknown, so this is a rare chance to put our message of nuclear disarmament across.

Moreover, nuclear weapons don’t exist in isolation. In Britain, they are part of the British governments ‘arsenal’ – a military spend of £60.5 million in 2014. Britain’s military expenditure puts it sixth in the world (according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), despite a relatively small population, and above countries including Israel, Germany and India (with its 1 billion citizens). We protest this spending of public money, which could be spent instead on things that make us feel genuinely safe like free healthcare, decent benefits for people with disabilities, and investment in renewable energy that will protect us from a changing climate. The British government continues to assist arms companies with respectability, investment, and houseroom. This must change.

Protest with us

Arms fairs are one of the places where war starts, yet they are designed to look so sanitised, orderly and professional. Have a look at this video made recently of an arms fair in Brazil to give you an idea. This veneer of respectability should be broken. Arms dealers should not for one day be allowed to forget the death and destruction that these weapons cause.

It’s important to use these opportunities to show the public’s dismay at the arms races that drive war and armed violence, and the companies that profit from death and destruction.

More info: Stop The Arms Fair

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Faslane Peace Camp, Scotland

Nikki from Wheel Stop Trident was recently cycling around Scotland and pedaled by Faslane Peace Camp for a visit.

As you sit in the peace camp you often hear honks of support from passing vehicles

As you sit in the peace camp you often hear honks of support from passing vehicles

The peace camp is located 35 miles north west of Glasgow and just down the road from Faslane Naval Base which is where the Trident nuclear missiles are loaded onto the submarines having been transported on motorways all the way from Burghfield near Reading. Activists at the peace camp said that the submarines loaded with nuclear missiles used to patrol for 9 months at a time but now the submarines have to return to Faslane every 3 months because they are old and need frequent repairs, which inevitably increases the costs of the whole nuclear operation.

Overlooking Faslane Naval Base when two submarines were docked

Overlooking Faslane Naval Base when two submarines were docked

Patrol boats in the base provided by SERCO, one of the three companies which profits from the Trident programme

Patrol boats in the base provided by SERCO, one of the three companies which profits from the Trident programme

Faslane Peace Camp has been around since 1982 and many people, including families, have lived there for periods stretching from a few days to a decade. Every Wednesday a weekly vigil is held outside Faslane Naval Base as well as frequent actions to disrupt the operation of the base or the delivery of Trident nuclear missiles.

One of the many donated and beautifully decorated caravans at the peace camp

One of the many donated and beautifully decorated caravans at the peace camp

Looking through one part of the camp where there is a peace pole and a cherry blossom tree which was planted by two Hiroshima survivors in 1985

Looking through one part of the camp where there is a peace pole and a cherry blossom tree which was planted by two Hiroshima survivors in 1985

Each day people from the peace camp go to check how many submarines are in the Faslane Base, however not without the Ministry of Defence police watching their every move.

The Ministry of Defence police are quick to arrive if you are looking into the base. On this day we were stopped and spoken to by the MOD police 3 times even when we were away from the base

The Ministry of Defence police are quick to arrive if you are looking into the base. On this day we were stopped and spoken to by the MOD police multiple times even when we were away from the base

Open days and events are also held at the camp to encourage members of the local community to come to the site and find out more. Nikki was at the camp during an art weekend where kids and their parents came and painted, made banners and decorated biscuits.

Sign making on the art weekend

Sign making on the art weekend

Everyone loves a bit of biscuit decorating

Everyone loves a bit of biscuit decorating

Next year the British government will decide whether to renew the Trident nuclear weapons programme at a cost of £100 billion. Wheel Stop Trident believe that not only are nuclear weapons morally and ethically wrong but spending £100 billion to illegally renew the Trident programme during a time of massive cuts to public spending is mad. This is why we need to keep putting pressure on the government to scrap Trident, like to people at Faslane Peace Camp do everyday, so that in 2016 the Trident nuclear weapons programme will be scrapped not renewed.

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A sticker on one of the caravans

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