Jan 232015
SNP CND conference2

Members of the SNP CND conference in Glasgow

With thanks to Gavin Mowat and Paul Robertson.

North East MSP Christian Allard renewed calls to scrap Trident during a speech at the SNP Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) conference at the weekend. Mr Allard took the opportunity to urge SNP members to work more closely with local CND groups to get more SNP MPs elected so “we can get rid of Trident”.

His comments come as a Survation poll found that 59.9 per cent of Scots want nuclear weapons removed from the Scottish waters.

As a member of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Mr Allard has taken part in many events in the North East calling for the removal of weapons of mass destruction from Scottish waters and he urged new members to do the same.

The North East MSP spoke of how many SNP members signed up to the CND at the Music Hall in Aberdeen during First Minister Nicola sturgeon’s stadium tour.

Commenting, Christian Allard said:

“With membership now standing at more than 93,000 the SNP is the strongest vehicle for progressive change in UK politics.

“When Nicola came to the Music Hall in Aberdeen I saw many SNP members signing up to the CND – I hope these members become active in the Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, adding to the strong local voice against weapons of mass destruction.

“The General Election in May represents a fantastic opportunity for a large group of SNP MPs to force Westminster to rethink its policy on Trident.”

A House of Commons debate today [Tuesday 20] – called by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party – offers an opportunity for MPs of all parties and from all parts of the UK to oppose spending £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons at a time of continued austerity.

Commenting on the news that Labour would ‘boycott’ the debate on Trident renewal at Westminster, Mr Allard said:

“Labour are clearly hiding from this debate because they find themselves in an untenable position.

“They simply cannot defend spending £100bn on weapons of mass destruction while backing £30bn of more austerity cuts.”

MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford added:

‘’It is absolutely indefensible and morally repugnant to waste £100bn on weapons of mass destruction whilst food bank use is rocketing, and more and more children are being pushed into poverty. I voted to oppose nuclear weapons in Parliament this week so that we can better spend these colossal sums of money on making a positive difference to our society.”

“It is a sad indictment of what the Scottish Labour party has become that they voted to support the renewal of Trident – only a week after they voted to push through more Tory cuts.”

“With a strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election, Scotland can hold the balance of power and can force Westminster to abandon this disastrous commitment – and ensure these immoral weapons are removed from Scotland for good.”

Note: The SNP CND conference was held on Saturday 17 January at the Boyd Orr Building at Glasgow University. For more on the Survation poll: http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/jan/majority-support-snps-anti-trident-call

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Oct 172014

By Andrew Macgregor.

protestA new website which aims to tell the history of protest in Aberdeen has been launched.
The resource features potted histories of individuals, groups, community spaces and co-operatives which have campaigned on various issues – economic, military, political or religious.

Most of the individuals and groups are from the left of the political spectrum but others have been non-political and protested about specific local issues.

There are groups which are branches of Scottish or British organisations, yet others which are just local to Aberdeen. Lastly, the groups are not just historical as current groups are included as well. The website also has a directory of active local groups, a list of further web and printed resources and information on a current campaign for an Aberdeen Social Centre.

This resource has been created in order that these campaigns are not forgotten. The stories are part of Aberdeen’s history and although individuals and groups may be long gone, their influence still lives on in their writings, speeches and actions. The importance of the documentary record is emphasised as well, as any archival sources created by the campaigns are noted in the histories.

Currently around 40 histories, ranging from the 19th century to current, have been added to the website and just one example is:

“The Aberdeen University Peace Society existed between 1912 and 1914 with the aim of encouraging critical debate on the subject of war and the possible ways it could be prevented. Lectures and discussions included topics such as war and social evolution, international courts and how economic ties could bind nations together. The life and death of the Society’s secretary, William Henry Sutherland, illustrates at once the fate of the Society and the tragedy of war. In March 1913 he had enlisted in the 4th Gordon Highlanders and in October 1917 after many years fighting at the front, he was mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross. He tragically fell in action soon after, on the 23rd March 1918.”

– Sources: papers held at University of Aberdeen Library. Minute book from 1912 – 1914 and a journal called ‘Concordia’ from 1913.

There will no doubt be gaps in information as research on this type of subject is very difficult due to the paucity of documentary sources. If it is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to trace the existence of the more radical political groups farther back in time (due to government suppression as just one example) and it can be just as difficult to capture the protest groups of today as they organise via social media and often leave no record.

I hope though that this resource will grow as others (perhaps those who were involved in the campaigns) fill in the gaps in the research.

The website address is – http://aberdeenprotest.wordpress.com/

If you were involved in some of these campaigns or have more information which you think would help me please get in touch. Also if you are interested in helping in the setting up of the social centre please contact Andrew MacGregor

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Oct 102014

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.

OneWorldDoveAberdeen and District CND will be hosting a Peace and Justice Concert at the Blue Lamp on Sunday afternoon 2-5.30pm on 19th October as part of a number of events for One World Week. There will be Music, Poetry and Dance performed by local artists from Scotland, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Germany, China, Japan, Spain and South America.

One World Week aims to bring people together across the world in the cause of Peace and Justice.  The event is dedicated to all people suffering injustice worldwide.

Artists playing will be Dave Davies and friends, Colin Edwards, Nigel and Mark Lammas, Precious Few from Köln in Germany, Nabin Chhetri Nepalese poetry, Rev Dr Isaac Poobalan and Dr Amudha Poobalan Indian music,

Mukal Dahal Nepalese poetry, Fuji Toyonobu and friends  Japanese music, Colin Edwards poetry,  Minh Tri Tran Vietnamese guitar, Yoleah You Li Chinese violin, Imagine ensemble, Tommy Campbell reading Hilda Meer’s poetry / Simon Gall sings Hilda Meers followed by Simon Gall and Xavier Ortiz sing Latin- Columbian music, Nepalese Dance, Javier Dominguez and friends Flamenco and Dance.

There will be a finale of Bob Marley’s One Love and Stand up for your Rights with everyone either playing instruments dancing or singing

The event is free but donations will be welcome for the Local CND group and the World Development Movement

Please come along and join in the fun

For further information please contact Jonathan Russell

E-mail: jhamiltonrussell@hotmail.co.uk
Mobile: 0758-245-6233

Sep 052014

Big SandyWith thanks to Jonathan Russell, Aberdeen CND.

Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s giant, Big Sandy, will be visiting Aberdeen to encourage people to vote Yes between 2-4pm this Saturday 6th September in the square outside Marks and Spencer’s.
Big Sandy is a ten feet tall puppet. He first appeared at the West End Festival in Glasgow in June.

Since then he has helped the Yes campaign on the streets and at major public events all across Scotland.

Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated:

“Central to the Independence debate is the getting rid of Nuclear Weapons from Scottish Soil. A non-nuclear Scotland will also be enshrined in a Scottish Constitution Getting rid of Nuclear weapons from Scotland will make it exceedingly difficult for the remaining UK to place the existing or new era missiles anywhere in the remaining UK “

Also attending on Saturday, North East MSP Christian Allard said:

“Weapons of mass destruction have no place in a modern Scotland. Labour and the coalition parties at Westminster are committed to the irrational and costly renewal of the UK’s nuclear weapons system – only a Yes vote in September will guarantee Scottish waters are Trident free.  I urge any undecided voters to come along to the St Nicholas Centre on Saturday and learn about the opportunities for an independent Scotland.”

For more information contact:

John Ainslie, Coordinator, Scottish CND,
0141 357 1529 07442 500476

or Jonathan Russell, Aberdeen CND
tel 01224 586435
Mobile 07582456233

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Mar 202014

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.


As part of Aberdeen Festival of Politics, Aberdeen and District CND will host a public meeting to discuss the future of Trident and Nato.
Speaker, John Finnie MSP (Independent, Highlands and Islands region), who is well known for his opposition to both Trident and NATO, will be helping us navigate the multiple security questions confronting humanity in the 21st Century.

With escalating tension between Russia and the US over developments in Ukraine, anxiety about nuclear war inevitably begins to loom.

These two superpowers still retain vast arsenals of these weapons of mass destruction.

Time & Date:  7pm, Friday, 28th March
Venue: the Seminar room, Belmont Cinema, AB10 1JS

For more info, contact: Jonathan Russell,  on 0758-245-6233 or email Aberdeen and District CND.

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Mar 142014

Aberdeen City’s Bon Accord Baths are a beautiful, Listed B, historic bath house which the entire community enjoyed before their closure in 2009. After the Carpe Diem Trust abandoned their plans to run Bon Accord Baths, a group of citizens from all walks of life and political views are banding together. They want the baths to open, whether run by the city or a social enterprise. It is time to run the baths, Phoebe Copeland writes.

Bon Accord baths by Geoff Croll  (4)

Bon Accord baths photographed by Geoff Croll 2012

The campaign to save the Art Deco Bon Accord Baths is picking up steam. Barely one week old, and a Facebook Page ‘Save The Bon Accord Baths’ has reached 10,000 members.

The social benefits of re-opening the baths cannot be denied; this bath was used by children, older citizens, and people with special needs.

If we wish to encourage people to engage with swimming, witness the new Olympic pool, there must be a suitable place for fledgling swimmers and those who might be more inclined to exercise if they could also socialise with friends.

The baths could play a part in alleviating stress; the therapeutic benefits of baths, spas and swimming are undisputed.

A petition is under one week old to save the baths, started by Craig Adams, local businessman and owner of the Moorings Bar. The count is going up swiftly as signatures hit over 2000 in less than one week. The petition can be found here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-bon-accord-baths.html

There is a draft statement on the fledgling Facebook page; this is the text:-

For Bon Accord Baths to be reinstated to working condition and reopened to the public. We’d prefer the baths to be run as a public amenity, but would consider partnership with a charitable trust. We’d like them properly maintained. We’d like the pool to be of a similar temperature to other leisure pools.

By Bon Accord Baths, we refer to all the facilities historically on offer, including but not limited to the:

Swimming pool

Spectator seating


Turkish baths / saunas



We believe that Bon Accord Baths can be operated as a viable public amenity. Operating costs would be adequately covered by the following revenue streams:

Pay per use admissions

Block admissions

Season tickets

Corporate sponsorship in exchange for employee access benefit

Cafe, potentially leasing the cafe to a third party operator

Shop for sale of apparel and equipment

Ancillary revenue from vending/gaming machine,s etc

Bon Accord baths by Geoff Croll  (2)

Bon Accord baths photographed by Geoff Croll 2012

So can these baths make enough profit to stay open? Other cities are doing it. London’s beautiful Porchester Baths are making a healthy business out of keeping people healthy.

The town of Bath spent a huge amount of money on a new, state-of-the-art public bath and spa, and it is attracting tourists from around the world as well as offering local people an excellent service.

No one is proposing a grand redevelopment, just a concerted effort to stop the baths being sold, and to have them open again. Many residents are concerned that built heritage is being lost, witness the redevelopment of the Capital Theatre. Surely this is one issue that everyone can agree on?

Much has been made of ways to revivify the city centre: surely this is one of the best ways to re-establish an affordable, necessary amenity, create employment, and give people a reason to linger in the city centre. Let’s not allow Bon Accord to go down the plughole.

What to do:

Sign the petition.
Join the discussion on Facebook
Send any memories or photographs to the campaign via the Facebook page
Contact your local representatives –  find them here.

Aberdeen Voice is grateful to photographer Geoff Croll for kind permission to reproduce his work.

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Feb 072014

Aberdeen and District CNDWith thanks to Jonathan Russell.

The Annual General Meeting of Aberdeen and District CND will be taking place at 7.30pm on Monday 10th February at Unite the Union 42-44 King Street. The Guest Speaker will be Flavia Tudoreanu Assistant Co-Ordinator of Scottish CND who will be giving a presentation on the work of Scottish CND.

Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been very active over the past year.

Last year’s AGM was on February 11th at the Scottish CND AGM at the end of 2012 a motion for Scottish CND had been passed to support the Yes campaign but had caused some division in the membership.

Both of our delegates Mike Martin and Christian Allard had voted against the motion however at our AGM a clear majority supported the decision for Scottish CND and Aberdeen and District CND to support the Yes Campaign. The Yes Campaign is in favour of getting rid of the Trident Nuclear Weapon system from its base at Faslane in Scotland.

The first event of the year was an excellent debate about NATO. The SNP had at their Annual Conference of 2013 reversed their long held position of pulling out of NATO. This led to a number of members including two MSP’s leaving the SNP. One of these MSP’s John Finnie spoke against being involved with NATO and Alex Johnstone MSP for the Scottish Conservatives spoke in favour of NATO.

The debate was hosted by the Politics Society at the University of Aberdeen and was attended by both students and the general public.

On Saturday 30th March we held an event outside Marks and Spencer’s  to promote the three days of action taking place on the 13th-15th April including a demonstration, nonviolence training and a blockade of Faslane. The event was opened by the Guarana street drummers and there were speakers from the SNP, CND, the Faslane Peace Camp, Aberdeen Against Austerity and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. This was followed in the evening by a party and non-violent action training on the Sunday.

We organised a nearly full bus to the Scrap Trident Demonstration on the 13th April which was a particularly lively event and attended by about 4,000 people.

Some of our members attended the non-violent training on the Sunday and a number of activists attended the blockade of Faslane on the Monday which obtained considerable media coverage. Darren MacDonald was arrested for sitting down and blocking the entrance to North Gate but later charges were dropped. Well done Darren!!

We had our annual Hiroshima Memorial event on August 6th with about 100 people in attendance. We had a wide variety of speakers from political, trade union, and religious groups, as well as poems and songs. We then released 200 paper lanterns down the river Dee.

On the 22nd September we had a music and poetry night to celebrate International Day of Peace. This was attended by about 80 people, and as well as having some magnificent performers, the concert helped us raise much needed funds.

We have been active concerning the war in Syria sending out press releases with some success. I was interviewed by STV (though the footage which was going to be national was not used). In particular we get excellent coverage in our local online newspaper Aberdeen Voice.

On the 27th September we held a public meeting ‘Why the NATO powers must not attack Syria’ with Dame Anne Begg MP and Mohamed  Janaby PhD, student in public international law as speakers. The turnout was not high but the standard of the debate was greatly enhanced as we had people from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Palestine in the audience.

We have had an influx of younger people into our local group and we are delighted that one of our most active members Christian Allard has become an MSP. Christian has offered to host a meeting at the Scottish Parliament to be organised by Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Many of our members attended the Yes rally in Edinburgh on 21st September

We have also raised concern with the Scottish National Party concerning any potential delay in getting rid of Trident

We were delighted that both of our local Labourl MP’s Frank Doran MP and Dame Anne Begg MP have signed EDM 150 and we have written to the Labour Party Shadow Defence Ministers Jim Murphy and then his replacement Vernon Crocker   supporting their actions and questioning strongly the Labour Party leaderships continuing position to support the replacement of Trident.

Unfortunately we received no reply.

We have also raised concern with the Scottish National Party concerning any potential delay in getting rid of Trident if Scotland becomes Independent.

We received a reply from Nicola Sturgeon stating:

“I am replying on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government is firmly committed to securing the withdrawal of Trident Nuclear Weapons from an Independent Scotland, and we will do this as quickly as can be both safety and responsibly achieved.

“While the detailed arrangements will require discussion with the United Kingdom Government following a vote for Independence I can reassure you that the removal of Trident from HMNB Clyde should be commenced and concluded without any unnecessary delay”

Local SNP MSP Kevin Stewart commented:

“There will not be any negotiations whether the Trident missile system will stay the negotiations will only be about the safest and ways to remove the weapons of mass destruction”

Mike Martin. Christian Allard and Jonathan Russell attended the Scottish CND AGM in November 2013 and we put forward a motion to re Missile Defence which was unanimously by the AGM Meeting

1)     Missile Defence

Submitted by Aberdeen and District CND with help from Yorkshire CND

a) Conference notes that:

i.        The US continues to pursue ‘full spectrum dominance’ by increasing its military activities in space;

ii.        The North of Sweden is being used by NATO as a military practice ground and to test and develop new killing technologies such as drones;

iii.        The US has helped establish a satellite ground station in the Svalbard islands in Norway which violates the Svalbard Treaty requiring the archipelago not be used for military purposes;

iv.        President Obama has increased the US deployment of missile defence bases in Europe which have been linked with those of NATO;

v.        The deployment of space, ground and sea based missile defence components by the US and NATO is undermining international stability and putting further agreements on nuclear disarmament at risk;

vi.        The Fylingdales radar in North Yorkshire is part of the US and NATO system;

vii.        The US spy base at Menwith Hill plays a leading role in US intelligence led warfare, providing information such as that used for targeting killer drones and is set to become a relay station for US space based missile defence components;

i.         To support the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and Keep Space for Peace week and efforts to close missile defence bases in the UK;

ii.         Distribute copies of the Yorkshire CND report ‘Lifting the Lid on Menwith Hill’ which describes the role of the base in some detail.

iii.        To produce a Missile Defence Briefing and other related materials to highlight the above issues;

We ended the year with a particularly successful Christmas Party with lots of laughter and lively debate

Over the coming year we intend to be doing the following.

  • Holding a debate on Trident and NATO as part of the Aberdeen Festival of Politics on 28th March
  • Promoting and supporting the Peace Walk from the Scottish Parliament to Faslane 1st to 7th April
  • Holding Hiroshima Memorial event on August 6th
  • Having an International Peace Day Concert on 21st September
  • Having speakers on various topics including Alan Mackinnon on US military involvement in Africa and Libya
  • Holding a stall during the summer months

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Aug 152013

Members of the Aberdeen Cycle Forum have handed a 700-plus signature petition about the Westhill Cycle Path to City Council leader Barney Crockett.
The Forum’s Derek Williams explained the background to Voice.

The petition calls on the Council to improve sections of the Westhill cycle path which serves the new Prime 4 development at Kingswells.

The main concern of Forum members and regular users of the path is a narrow section that runs dangerously close to the A944 Westhill to Aberdeen dual carriageway.

The Forum is also requesting improvements to the barriered Cyclists dismount section near to the Five Mile Garage. 

The petition was raised following many frustrating months of failing to convince city planners that the cycle path needs improvement in order to encourage cycle use, and also to go some way towards guaranteeing user safety along this busy commuter corridor.

Derek explained,

The response we’ve had to the petition has been amazing and shows that people recognise the need for improvements. We know cyclists think the narrow stretch is unsafe and this will undoubtedly put some people off cycling to Prime 4. The result will be more car commuting and congestion. With people moving onto Prime 4 soon, it is vital that the Council gets on and fixes this section of the path.

“We hope that the Council Leader and councillors will see the strength of feeling, and will be motivated by the scale of the response to find a way to make progress.”

The Forum is committed, says Derek, to continuing to work with City councillors and officers to see through improvements to the path, thus improving the wellbeing of local cyclists. It extends its thanks to those who signed the petition and to everyone who made the effort in helping to collect signatures.

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Aug 012013

With Thanks to Jonathan Russell  and Aberdeen CND.

Tuesday 6th August sees the 68th anniversary of the first ever explosion of a nuclear weapon when the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This was followed on the 9th August by the explosion of a further nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament have organised an event to mark the occasion and remind people of the potential horror of the use of nuclear weapons.

200 peace lanterns will be released onto the river Dee to commemorate the 200,000 men, women and children who died following the nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many more died later from injuries or prematurely from the horrendous health effects that followed.

The first speaker at the event will be Christian Allard North East Scotland Regional Member of the Scottish Parliament and member of the international body Parliamentarians for Nuclear non-proliferation and Disarmament. Other speakers include Fiona Napier Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Chic Lidstone from the Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland,  Gabrielle Anderson from the Quakers, Euan Benzie of the Radical Indepence Conference and Jill from Aberdeen Against Austerity,

Poems will be read by Tommy Campbell from Unite and Aberdeen Trades Council. Kirsty Potts will provide some rousing songs.

The last speaker rounding of the event will be the well known Labour Party councillor Len Ironside

The memorial event which is open to all the public to attend will take place on Tuesday 6th August at 8.30pm by the side of the River Dee at the Fishermans hut off Riverside Drive (between the Bridge of Dee and Duthie Park –  see map below)

Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated:

“For most of us nuclear weapons have been a part of the world we live in for all of our lives. We can as such often put into the back of our minds just how horrific these weapons would be if used. As part of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the New Start treaty of December 2010 nearly 50% of these monstrous weapons have been destroyed. 

“There are still however 19,500 Nuclear Weapons in the world – enough to destroy our world several times over. Nuclear Power Stations, if hit directly or if they caught fire in a nuclear strike, would add to the conflagration.”

Date: Tuesday 6th August 2013, at 8.30pm
Venue:  the Fisherman’s Hut on the River Dee
(by Riverside drive )

For further information please contact Jonathan Russell,
Tel 01224 586435
Mobile  07582-456-233
e-mail jhamiltonrussell@hotmail.co.uk

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Mar 072013

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.

The main item for our next meeting will be planning for the national weekend of action in Glasgow and at Faslane from 13th to 15th April (Saturday to Monday).

The action is a national mobilisation called by the Scrap Trident Coalition ( http://scraptrident.org/).

We are therefore inviting supporters and members of CND and other progressive organisations to assist with the organisation.

Following on from the organising meeting there will be a short meeting of Aberdeen and District CND.

7:30pm, Monday, 11th March

Seminar room,
Belmont Cinema,
AB10 1JS

Everybody welcome!

Contact: Jonathan on 07582-456-233