#WheelStopTrident kicked off this morning by greeting the employees of Lockheed Martin (the biggest arms company in the world) with a morning sing song and a message!
We delivered a letter to their employees, and leafleted staff and passers by.
Ten cyclists will set off from London this morning, heading for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) based at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. On their two-day trip, they will meet communities affected by government cuts and visit the offices of arms companies profiting from government subsidies.
The cyclists will begin at 8.30am at the offices of arms giant Lockheed Martin in Lower Regent Street. The US-based company is one of the owners of AWE.
On their way, the ‘Wheel Stop Trident’ group will visit Ealing Hospital, which is facing the closure of its maternity unit, and meet local residents campaigning to save it. They will also visit the sustainable community Grow Heathrow and a renewable energy site near Reading. Tonight, they will stay overnight with Slough Quakers.
The cyclists are from various parts of London, as well as Bradford, York, Hastings and Gloucestershire. In addition to the ten cyclists, three people are providing practical support while many more will join the initial demonstration at Lockheed Martin before seeing the cyclists on their way. Hundreds of others have taken to the internet to offer them their backing. Wheel Stop Trident is supported by Action AWE.
The ride comes ahead of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on 13 April and the general election on 7 May. Parliament will make a decision on Trident next year.
Nikki Ray, who lives in New Malden, said:
“A few weeks ago I was invited to join Wheel Stop Trident. I said yes because nuclear weapons don’t make us any safer. Our safety and security are threatened when vital public services are cut by government – while billions are spent on Trident.”
Laura Stringhetti of Ealing Save Our NHS has welcomed the cyclists’ planned visit. She said:
“The closure of two A&Es in west London and the cuts in social care are already having a serious negative effect on people’s health and wellbeing. Ealing hospital’s future is still uncertain. The government tells us that austerity is necessary as there is no money left, while there is money for nuclear weapons and wars. I support initiative like Wheel Stop Trident as we need to raise awareness that the money is there but the priorities are all wrong.”
Andrew Dey, who is from Bradford and lives in London, said:
“I’m cycling from London to Burghfield because nuclear weapons do nothing towards the real security threats, such as climate change, that will only become more acute in the future. We should be investing our money, our skills and our labour to build stronger, more equal societies and a more sustainable future, not ever-more powerful weapons of mass destruction.”
Parliament is due to make a decision in 2016 on whether to renew Trident, at a cost of up to £100bn. Although a decision has not yet been made, the government has already spent millions on new facilities at AWE. Recent revelations showed that the new developments are already over-budget and behind schedule.
We will deliver this letter this morning to the London offices of Lockheed Martin, during our protest at the start of our journey. Find out more about who profits from Trident here: Who profits from the Atomic Weapons Establishment?
Dear employees of Lockheed Martin,
We write to request that you abandon your work building and maintaining nuclear weapons.
We, the Wheel Stop Trident group, are cycling from your offices in London to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment. We want to make the connection between those who will profit from a replacement of Trident nuclear weapons, including Lockheed Martin shareholders, staff and directors, and those losing out because of government cuts. After we protest outside your offices this morning, we’ll visit a hospital just a few miles away whose Maternity Unit is under threat.
A new generation of Trident nuclear weapons would cost at least £100 billion pounds.
Think what that money could do, if it were spent instead on the common good: on the NHS, on schools, or investing in renewable energy. This investment would be working towards genuine, sustainable security, tackling the roots of the most pressing threats to our society, like climate change. Many even in the military agree that nuclear weapons are not the solution to the most pressing genuine security threats that the UK faces.
Any use of Trident nuclear weapons would kill thousands of people. No use of them could possibly distinguish between civilians and combatants. We know that, like us, you are aunties, fathers, neighbours, workmates, friends. We ask that you spend time contemplating the destruction that a nuclear attack, or accident, would wreak on other families, other friends, and on the earth itself. Imagine how you would feel if you were the person who had to fire a nuclear missile at a city in another country.
Could you do that?
Every day, Lockheed Martin make that destruction and that death ever more possible.
We do not ask you to give up your jobs and livelihoods without alternative options. Research from Campaign Against Arms Trade shows that a move towards offshore wind and marine energy could produce more jobs than the entire arms industry combined. Like arms, the renewable energy sector is highly skilled. It is the future. Nuclear weapons should be a thing of the past.
We call upon you to repurpose Lockheed Martin. Offer your services to the British government to decommission Trident.
In our journey, we are pointing to the kind of society that we want to live in: a healthier one, with well-resourced free education for all, powered by renewable energy.
The Wheel Stop Trident riders
Follow us @brakeTrident
We’ll be starting our journey with a protest at Lockheed Martin‘s London office – Lockheed Martin are the world’s largest arms company. Join us outside Cunard House, 15 Lower Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR at 8.30am on Friday! You can join the Facebook event here.
Our first stop is Ealing Hospital, where we’ll be meeting people campaigning against the closing of the maternity unit.
Then we’ll make our way to Grow Heathrow – an example of a sustainable community in the UK.
We’ll stay overnight in Slough – thanks to Slough Quakers for hosting us!
On Saturday, we’ll start by visiting a renewable energy site near Reading. We’ll then cycle past Jacobs Engineering, who have been part of the Atomic Weapons Establishment consortium (along with Lockheed Martin and Serco) since 2008.
Our journey ends at Burghfield Atomic Weapons Factor at lunchtime on Saturday.
We’ll then join a training event on anti-nuclear weapons campaigning run by young Quakers who are in Reading Quaker Meeting House.
See you on Friday to show Lockheed Martin our discontent at the millions of pounds they will get in government subsidies, whilst public services are being taken apart.