On 8th October, Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War hosted a public meeting at the Quaker meeting house in Glasgow titled ‘The Future of Peace and Disarmament: A discussion’. Speakers included Douglas Chapman SNP MP and spokesperson for Defence Procurement, academic Dr Tim Street, Linda Pearson, author of the new Don’t Bank on the Bomb guide for Scotland, Conscience representative Anne McCullagh-DLyske and anti-war activist Sweta Choudhury who chaired the meeting.
The meeting was attended by some key anti-war and anti-trident activists from CND, Stop the War Coalition, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, etc. The meeting discussed some key findings of Conscience’s flagship report written by Dr Tim Street on Labour Party’s proposed Minister for Peace and Disarmament (MPD).
Dr Street highlighted some key issues related to the idea of a MPD such as Labour Party’s approach to NATO, unilateral disarmament, arms export control, conflict prevention, post conflict reconstruction, etc. He also spoke about the need to identify the right mechanism that the MPD project requires to work alondside the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and emphasized on the need for a cross party discussion on the issue. Douglas Chapman MP spoke about the need to drive current Foreign Policy towards one based on peace building, disarmament and international development. Working with trade unions on defence diversification was also discussed.
Linda Pearson added to discussion by talking about constructing a concrete plan to reduce jobs via military production and cutting funding for the military industrial complex and redirect those funds towards social goals. Final speaker Anne gave a heart breaking account of her personal experiences and gave an insight in to how wars have had a horrific impact on herself and her family. The were some very interesting questions asked during the Q&A and the meeting ended with Conscience’s first local group set up.
This meeting was Conscience’s first ever public meeting in Scotland and the response was great. They plan to have many more events in the future and are looking for keen and committed activists to join their local group in Scotland led by Edinburgh based Anne McCullagh-DLyske. The next meeting for activists is on 31st October at 6pm at the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, 5 Upper Bow, EH1 2JN.
If you want to support Conscience to build the peace movement and want further information about our activities in Scotland including those around Remembrance day, our street stall at Princess Street, etc., please email Conscience’s Local Group Development & Liaison Officer Sweta choudhury at sweta[at]conscienceonline.org.uk . And if you’d like to find out more about the MPD report, kindly email Dr Tim Street at timstreet[at]conscienceonline.org.uk. For any other enquiries, get in the touch with the office at campaign[at]conscience.online.org.uk or call on 02035159132.