Kate Hudsons blog

Kate Hudsons blog

Dr Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary
Kate Hudson has been General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since September 2010. Prior to this she served as the organisation's Chair from 2003. She is a leading anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner nationally and internationally. She is also author of 'CND Now More than Ever: The Story of a Peace Movement'.

Dec 10 2014
Almost 160 states have gathered in Vienna for an international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons – the third on this subject within two years. Speaker after speaker has underlined the extraordinary danger of keeping so many nuclear weapons – the current tally is around 16,000 – when the detonation of just one, by accident or design, would be catastrophic. Recent scientific research demonstrates how much worse the impact of nuclear use would be than even that previously anticipated on every level: economic, medical, environmental, climatic, existential. All this has been drawn on by the participants, together with the expectation that the changing security context means an increased likelihood of acquisition and use by non-state actors. In some respects, none of this is very surprising. For decades the majority of states have backed nuclear disarmament while a small number have held out in support of their own arsenals. This has been the essential dynamic at the five-yearly Review Conferences of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their attendant (almost annual) preparatory committees. Diplomatic corps have perfected the art of the talking shop, on nuclear weapons as much as anything else. So one can understand the frustration within the NPT…
Dec 8 2014

Trident, Labour and Scotland

Written by Kate Hudson
No matter how much Westminster politicians may wish to put Trident on the back burner for the general election, the reality is that’s not going to happen. Our friends north of the border – where up to 75 per cent oppose Tridentirrespective of their position on independence – will make sure of that. The leader with the biggest headache over this is currently Ed Miliband: the question of Labour policy on Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons – currently located in Scotland – can make or break a Labour victory and a future Labour government. Currently the very future of Labour – as a major player in Scotland’s politics – is at stake. Since the referendum, the parties that backed the No vote have taken a nose dive, as thousands have flocked to the parties of the Yes camp, from SNP through Greens, and SSP. Scottish civil society has taken on a whole new look, with widespread popular engagement at an all-time high. Labour is particularly badly hit and opinion polls suggest that it could lose as many as 31 Westminster seats in May’s general election. Reports from within the party suggest high levels of anger and dissatisfaction – about what the party now…
Nov 11 2014
In a globalised, increasingly multi-polar world, the ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK might be expected to diminish, as twenty-first century reality supersedes Cold War imperatives. Nothing of the sort, it seems, when it comes to nuclear weapons. In 1958 the US and UK signed the ‘Agreement between the UK and the USA for cooperation in the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defence Purposes’. Also referred to as the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), the treaty established a modus operandi between both countries to exchange classified information to develop their respective nuclear weapon systems. Originally, the MDA prohibited the transfer of nuclear weapons, but an amendment in 1959 allowed for the transfer of nuclear materials and equipment between both countries. This amendment is extended through a renewal of the treaty every ten years, most recently in 2004. The renewal has to be ratified on both sides of the Atlantic and Obama has already given the go-ahead from the US side. Much as successive UK governments may wish to view ratification as an automatic process to be slid through without question, there is a Westminster scrutiny process which a number of parliamentarians are trying to avail themselves of. The government…
Oct 29 2014

Why were we in Afghanistan?

Written by Kate Hudson
Strange how 13 years after we went to war on Afghanistan, the actual reasons for doing so seem to be almost entirely obscured. ‘Leaving the country in better shape’ seems a favourite if anodyne description, or perhaps making it ‘more stable’.  Beyond that, we have assisting in nation-building, tackling the drugs trade, improving gender equality… the list of constructive and humanitarian sounding tasks is a long one. Does anyone now remember or refer to the actually declared reason – the war on terror - declared by President Bush in the days following the 9/11 attacks on the United States? The war on Afghanistan was its first manifestation, inflicted on the people of Afghanistan by Bush and Blair on 7th October 2001. This was Operation Enduring Freedom - launched on the grounds that the Taliban government refused to hand over Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda operatives. The stated goal was to continue the war on terror until every terrorist group had been found, stopped and defeated. Whilst this goal may have found emotional resonance with many shocked by the terrible attacks on innocent civilians there were also many at the time who argued against the collective punishment of an entire…
Sep 26 2014

Don't vote for war

Written by Kate Hudson
As the war debate continues inside Westminster, it’s good to hear that the SNP will vote against the government motion for war. I would make two points to MPs before they vote. Firstly, not to ignore the facts of history, recent and past, that have led to this crisis. ISIL has not sprung fully-formed out of nowhere, context free. It is the product of western intervention and brutality in the region for over a decade. But the roots are much longer. For a century the region has been subject to western military, political and economic intervention, plunder and regime change. More killing will not resolve these long run problems of our collective, largely western making. Secondly, to stick to the law and not make it up as they go along. Whatever David Cameron says, it is not legal to attack Iraq. There are two possible lawful uses of force under the UN charter: in self-defence under Article 51 which doesn’t apply here; and when the UN Security Council authorises force under Chapter VII of the Charter, allowing “all necessary measures” to achieve the Security Council’s stated objectives. The UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday night didn’t give this authorisation. If MPs want…
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