THE daily deluge of statistics about Covid numbs the brain but can not obscure the seismic change in the public perception of what security actually means.

Real security is reciprocal and interdependent. We cannot build our security on another country’s insecurity. Likewise, climate chaos and the thousands who demonstrated in Glasgow during COP26 show the truth of Martin Luther King’s words: “We must learn to live together as brothers, or to perish together as fools”.

When human extermination became the official policy of certain states, the finest brains in the world reacted with incredulous horror. Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell published the Peace Manifesto back in 1955, where they said: “Remember your humanity and forget the rest”. Their anguished plea was ignored, and we had the collective lunacy of the Cold War: trillions of dollars was wasted on weapons, while millions perished through hunger and disease. And we suffered endless proxy wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Central America to Africa. We came within seconds (literally) of global suicide on several occasions. We only survived thanks to the likes of Vassily Arkhipov (“the man who saved the world”) and Stanislav Petrov (Google them). If you knew the facts, you could add our survival as the sixth to Aquinas’s famous five proofs for the existence of God – because our survival could only be ascribed to divine providence.

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Meanwhile, the good people who wanted us to have a future rallied round the call to “ban the bomb”. This alliterative slogan is powerful because it implies a recognition of the manifest illegality of nuclear weapons. We said ban the bomb and – guess what? That is exactly what we have done. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York on September 20 2017 and entered into force on January 22 2021. This is compulsory international law (ius cogens). There is no derogation from it. The nuclear states may ignore this but they are thereby stigmatised as pariah states.

Today the Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than at any other time in the past. The nine rogue nuclear states respond by obdurately modernising their weaponry. Boris Johnson has increased the kill power of Trident by 40% (how many thousand more Hiroshimas does he want?)

Scotland, which is home to the biggest arsenal of hydrogen bombs in Europe, is unique in that it is the only country which has nuclear weapons imposed on it against the wishes of the people and parliament. So we have a prime moral duty to respond.

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In America the repulsive boor Trump was defeated in an election conducted during the pandemic. So it is not true that vital political activity must be suspended till Covid is considered harmless (are you listening, Nicola?)

For this reason the splendid folk of Faslane Peace Camp, SCND, TP, and the Catholic Worker will go to the North Gate at 11am on January 22, the anniversary of the TPNW, to demand that the criminal deployment of Trident, the UK’s illegal weapons of mass destruction, cease.

Our choice is stark. Either we have a future without nuclear weapons, or we have no future at all. We invite all who are committed to non-violence to support this event, which will be conducted with full compliance of safety guidelines.

Brian Quail