Sep 122014
 

lamb2ed_edited-1By Duncan Harley

It’s not often that I wonder if the prospect of Scottish Independence is a good idea.

Indeed being rid of the past spectre of the likes of the Darien disaster and the libdem idea-ocracy seems like a step to be taken lightly.

Not that us Scots are kind to ourselves. Check out the quite brutal “Herschip of Buchaine” by the Bruce and his nasty brother Edward to get a taste of what we northern folks get up to behind closed doors.

A mythical spokesperson for the Faslane Peace Camp today spoke out in support of the Better Together campaign.

Sited alongside Faslane Naval base in Argyll and Bute the camp has been occupied continuously since 12 June 1982 but Scotland’s voters may just decide to get rid of it on referendum day leading activists to question the future.

“If Scotland does vote yes, Trident could leave the Clyde remarkably quickly”, claimed Angus McPhee (not his real name of course) a long time resident of the Faslane community.

“It’s not like I wouldn’t hate it to be off Scottish soil” he continued “but where will I live and what work is there for an ageing peace campaigner in this day and age?”

He continued:

“I need a job and those folk in Westminster often forget that Trident has not only provided jobs for sailors, soldiers and factory workers but in a strange way also us peace campaigners.”

“We’ve been here on the Clyde for decades. We are in the main unskilled. Not many of us even have even basic IT skills. If Scotland is to become independent then we need at the very least a re-assurance that the likes of us will be taken care of.”

David Cameron recently told voters that the tax payers in the UK would be foolish to abandon Trident in the face of the potential threat of nuclear attack from North Korea and Iran.

“Could Korean nukes hit the UK?” said the mythical Angus. “That would be really brilliant, I could go on living here if that was the case.”

When confronted with the reality of Korea invading Scotland, Angus relented.

“Ach” he said, “I may have been a wee bit misguided actually, can you pass me a sick bag.”

David Cameron’s office today and indeed yesterday, declined to comment on the issue but inside sources indicate that there is trouble in store for those who support the Better Together movement.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was similarly unable to comment on the Faslane issue but recently commented that it

“is possible I suppose in 50 years that hordes of people are going to come across in ships to invade us. I suppose we should keep hold of old dreadnought ships in case the Germans come out of the mists of Jutland.”

Puzzling indeed.

Given a yes vote on the 18th of the month Trident has until 2016 to find a new home. The new hosts in Portsmouth, or wherever are bound to wonder why they should have the right to live right next to a radioactive arms dump built to defend Englandshire from the threat of a North Korean invasion of Brighton

Clegg, for all his politically incorrect posturing did at least admit that:

“Trident was designed very explicitly for a completely different cold war world, where the main strategic threat was an unannounced, overwhelming and unpredicted nuclear strike from Moscow.”

For just the once, but just the once, I suspect that he might just have a point.

Most rights reserved © Duncan Harley

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Aug 132014
 

Aberdeen get hammered by their New Firm rivals, rants Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2It was an overcast afternoon, not too hot and not too cold. Perfect conditions for Scottish football.

Initially it was end to end stuff from both teams.  Unfortunately this would be pretty much the best the Dons could muster offensively, unsuccessfully able to break the deadlock despite a plethora of opportunities.

Dundee United then got into their stride, pouncing upon a poor pass back by Dandies’ new boy Ash Taylor.

0-1 Dundee United (Ryan Dow) on the 29 minute mark.

“There’s only one Jamie Langfield,” the Arab Army sarcastically sang.

The Red Army were to suffer more at the hands of the Tangerines, though. Not before Niall McGinn volleyed off the post, mind. Typical.

0-2 Dundee United (Gary Mackay-Steven) just before half time.

“There’s only…”

You know the rest.

Barry Robson came off for Adam Rooney after the break. Nicky Low then came on for Andrew Considine at 81 minutes.  Neither substitution really seemed to make a difference.

0-3 Dundee United (substitute Chris Erskine) punishing the dismal Dons at the death thanks to a tactical switch by boss McNamara.

One can only hope that this crap display is only due to missing key players like captain Russell Anderson and wingman Jonny Hayes.  Hopefully the problems don’t lie any deeper than that.

On the other hand, a squad seemingly as strong as Aberdeen’s should fare well against most teams without their ideal starting eleven all the time.

Final score:  0-3.

Apr 042014
 
Houses of parliament - Freefoto.com

Westminster to cap welfare.

With thanks to Stuart Donaldson, Constituency Officer to Christian Allard MSP.

In a recent debate on Child Poverty in Scottish Parliament, North East MSP Christian Allard slammed Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories for voting at Westminster to cap welfare but refusing to put a cap on Trident.

Commenting the SNP MSP said:

“Save the Children has warned that the Westminster welfare cap will push 345,000 children into poverty in four years, yet Labour voted with the Tories.

“Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories voted to put a cap on welfare but all are unwilling to cap spending on Trident.

“Only a vote for independence will ensure that we are no longer in the disgraceful situation where weapons of mass destruction are valued over the wellbeing of our children.”

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Mar 062014
 
Mathias Jung 2014

John McInnes – Silver kumite

By Charlie Abel.

Aberdeen’s own National Karate Federation have done it again.

They represented NKF Scotland on the world stage during the open World Karate Confederation (WKC) Championships held in Munich, Germany on 24th and 25th January.

While many of us folks back home were tucking into their traditional Burns haggis, the Aberdonian athletes were burning off the calories and fighting their way through some really tough competition.

Facing over 400 competitors from 14 countries the self-funded NKF had some great results, against giant competition from the USA (who had some 400,000 karate students and government funding to draw from) and Russia who even had members of their military taking part.

Participants travelled from Norway, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Germany, France and many more. Team coach and chief NKF instructor Ronnie Watt 8th Dan (O.B.E. & order of the rising sun) said:

“The team were outstanding. I’m absolutely delighted! It’s one of the best results we ever had. All the team have been training really hard, some since the age of 7. To get so many medals against such fierce and overwhelming competition from around the world is remarkable. We were vastly outnumbered but these results show we were not out-classed. For such a small club from a small country we proved we have big hearts, brave hearts and dedication to our Karate.”

 Invitations for the NKF squad to perform and teach Karate have been coming in from around the world. 25 MSP’s at the Scottish Parliament have signed a motion to formally thank the NKF. Many letters of congratulations from politicians and diplomats have been arriving on Ronnie’s door step.

RESULTS:

Mathias Jung 2014

Nissara Kirk – Bronze kumite

Aberdeen based NKF managed to bag an incredible 16 medals for Scotland.

John McInnes (18) won silver in male Kumite (sparring) narrowly missing out on a gold due to being forced by judges to withdraw during the fight due to the blood flowing from his brow after a punch struck him, needing several stitches.

Three sisters from Inverurie, Sara, Chloe and Lisa Calder took home an incredible 8 medals between them.

Their father Jock Calder, (Senior NKF squad coach, 5th Dan) is very proud of them and after their hard training they have now taken a total of 18 medals at world championships, one being a Gold for Lisa Calder in 2006.

Sara (14) won a bronze medal in the kumite (sparring). Chloe (18) reached the finals for Kata winning a bronze medal and faced the Serbian champion in kumite where she won Silver. Lisa (21) reached fourth place in the seniors kata and faced the Lithuanian WKC world champion in the final and won silver.

The two older sisters also took part in the team event for Kata along with Nissara Kirk, the team winning bronze in the kata and silver in the kumite.

Hamish Barclay, John Willis, Mike Smialowski and Kai Thompson all performed well reaching the semi-finals in the individuals and fourth in the team events.

In the examinations section, congratulations to Paddy Jamieson who was promoted to senior referee, Chris Davidson to Judge, Jock Calder 5th Dan and Roxy Watt 4th Dan who were promoted to senior coach.

The NKF squad are back in training now and are aiming for success at the next festival. One which they will host themselves in Aberdeen in May. The International Karate Festival.

Anyone interested in training Karate should call Aberdeen 734607 for more information. The club meet in Aberdeen, Cults, Kintore and Inverurie.

Ronnie Watt adds:

“ We are always keen to attract new members of all ages.”

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Dec 192013
 

E6EC252AWith thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.

Christian Allard, MSP for North East Scotland, has signed an appeal for a nuclear weapons ban along with hundreds of Parliamentarians around the world and called on the UK Government to immediately halt its commitment to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.

The appeal – coordinated by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – aims to build global support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The call for such a treaty has been endorsed by more than 150 governments, the United Nations Secretary-General, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. The SNP MSP commented:

“Banning nuclear weapons is a crucial step on the road to building global peace and security and I am delighted to add my name to the growing list of Parliamentarians that want to see a worldwide ban.

“These dangerous and costly weapons of mass destruction have no place in Scotland or anywhere in the world and I would encourage fellow Parliamentarians at Westminster to sign the ICAN appeal.”

Mr Allard is a member of the international group Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) that has more than 800 members across 80 nations, and he is also a member of Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (SCND). Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament added:

“Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament are delighted that North East MSP Christian Allard has signed the ICAN declaration.

“We consider that governments around the world need to be working together to get rid of nuclear weapons which are a permanent threat to global security and the future of our planet.”

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond outlined the Westminster Government’s determination to carry on with the plan to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system in ‘The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent 2013 Update to Parliament’, which was released yesterday. The plans detail the UK Government’s commitment to pushing ahead with a full scale replacement of Trident at a cost of billions of pounds. Commenting on this latest commitment to Trident by the UK Government, Mr Allard said:

“This is further proof that Westminster has a callous disregard for the communities, institutions and politicians across Scotland that have all opposed the renewal of Trident.

“Having nuclear weapons based near Scotland’s largest city is completely unacceptable and I call for Westminster to halt spending on the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent until after the outcome of the independence referendum on the 18th of September 2014.

“The only way to guarantee that Scotland will be nuclear weapons free is to vote Yes in the independence referendum.”

The French-born MSP encouraged people to join the campaign for nuclear disarmament saying:

“Anyone who wants to support the campaign for nuclear disarmament can join the SCND at their Annual General Meeting in Aberdeen next February.”

Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will hold their Annual General Meeting on February 10, 2014 at the Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen where Flavia Tudoreanu, Assistant Coordinator of SCND will be speaking. More Info:

Link to the UK’s Future Nuclear Deterrent; 2013 Update to Parliament SCND facebook Link to ICAN website

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Dec 062013
 

Karate Parachutists - Credit: Julie ThompsonBy Charlie Abel.

Aberdeen’s National Karate Federation (NKF) will compete in the International Open World Karate Confederation (WKC) Championships in Munich in January, and two members of the squad will take part in a daring fundraising event to help the club to pay for flights and accommodation.

Kai Thomson and John Willis (pictured right) will jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 feet wearing only Kamikaze Bandanas… and jump suits!

Aberdeen is famous for many things. The first thing that springs to mind is usually the Oil Industry. Add to that CAT scans, the development of insulin, the invention of partition chromatography, The Dons, Denis Law, Mary Slessor, the list goes on.

Relatively few, however, are aware that Aberdeen is world famous for Karate and has produced its very own 8th Dan master, Ronnie Watt.

Under Ronnie’s guidance and instruction, the NKF Elite squad from Aberdeen, and the surrounding area, have been training hard in preparation for this prestigious Karate competition and will do Aberdeen and Scotland proud.

The NKF are no strangers to the International Karate community. They have won medals in the past and in 2000 they hosted the WKC world championships in Aberdeen at the Beach Ballroom, bringing thousands of visitors, competitors and their families to the City.

Karate Training 181 - Credit: Julie ThompsonBeing a private organisation receiving no funding from any government source, the success of the club shows great testament to the leadership of the NKF and the canny resolve and determination of its Aberdonian Karate-ka.

The flights, accommodation, entry fees and extra equipment are all paid for by its members, and flying a squad over to Germany for the competition is no easy task, which is why Kai and John have volunteered to raise funds by way of a sponsored parachute jump.

Asked if he had ever done a parachute jump before, Kai replied:

“No, Never. But I’m prepared to take one for the team’

John added:

“It’s a crazy thing to do but I like it.”

The daring spectacle will take place in Errol, on Saturday the 18th of January 2014, where the two Kamikaze Aberdonian parachutists are hoping to raise £5000.

Any offers of sponsorship or donations from members of the public would be very welcome.

Donations can be made via our PayPal account, or by cash or cheque ( made payable to NKF ) sent to:

Ronnie Watt OBE,
Order of the Rising Sun; 8th Dan.
Hadley House, Culter House Road,
Milltimber, Aberdeen, AB13 0EN

Tel: 01224 734607
Mobile: 07511 406556

All donations will be entered into a free prize draw. The winner may choose from either an exclusive self defence lesson with Ronnie Watt…

Or… a special bespoke black NKF jacket, worn only by Black Belt NKF squad members with very special embroidered writing with their name on it and a special message.

As one of the world’s highest awarded Karate teachers Ronnie is widely respected for his expertise in the Karate-do discipline and its way of life having trained Karate almost every day for nearly 50 years.

Ronnie Watt ( Third from left ) at Norway Karate Festival, Nov 2013

Ronnie Watt ( Third from left ) at Norway Karate Festival, Nov 2013

Still training hard at 66, he is an inspiration to all who train Karate with him.

Ronnie is one of only a handful of Scottish people ever to be awarded the ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ by the Japanese government since Thomas Blake Glover. This is an award which is seldom given to people outside Japan. The award was quickly followed by an OBE from the Queen.

There is a high demand for Ronnie’s Karate experience and he is often seen on the top billing of many Karate courses worldwide.

Anyone wishing to train Karate with Ronnie at the National Karate Institute can call 01224 734607 or visit the website http://www.karate-scotland.info/ for more information.

Further Info:

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May 312013
 

With thanks to Jon Ruszka, press officer, National Karate Federation.

The Aberdeen based National Karate Federation (NKF) of Scotland are preparing to attend the World Karate Championships being held this May in Australia, followed by the Children’s World Championships in Argentina in 2014.

In addition, preparations are well underway for the now annual International Karate Festival being held on 8th and 9th June, 2013, at the International School of Aberdeen.

Five karate masters Ronnie Watt OBE, 8th Dan (Scotland), Alain Verbeek, 6th Dan (France), Dr Fritz Wendland, WKC Founding President (Germany), Paul Kee, 7th Dan (Sweden) and Alf Ronny Fagerland, 6th Dan (Norway) will attend with their national squads.

These masters will assist all attendees on their technique, from beginners to black belt 5th Dans.

The course will culminate in an International Festival of Karate which will be attended by a number of VIPs that will include Mr Masataka Tarahara, the Japanese Consul General in Edinburgh, and Lord Charles Bruce.

The Aberdeen based NKF of Scotland is an internationally recognised karate institute dedicated to the tuition, practice and advancement of traditional Karate-do.

The NKF President is Aberdeen born, 8th Dan Karate Master, Ronnie Watt OBE who was recently awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan and the OBE by HM Queen for services to international karate.

With over 47 years of experience under his belt, Ronnie (65) assisted by senior instructors, teaches karate in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and further afield.

Of the International festival, Ronnie said:

“We’ve been very busy introducing karate to youngsters across Aberdeen and preparing the squad for international tournaments.

“Compared to many National Federations across the world, we’re a small self-funded organisation representing Scotland on the international stage.

“The International Festival will be a fantastic event for all taking part. 

“ I’m truly honoured that such esteemed masters, squads, and guests will travelling to Aberdeen to join us.”

Recent NKF activities have included helping over 1,000 local youngsters to experience, for the first time, the discipline and fitness which traditional karate brings to people’s lives.

These efforts have been recognised in a personal letter from Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport.

So, if you are looking for something special in your life, why not take up one on the finest Japanese disciplines?

There is nothing better than Karate-do for fitness, health, self-confidence and self-defence.

Anyone interested in taking up Karate-do, please call us for details on 01224 734607

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Apr 182013
 

News from the frontline – with thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Both the Scrap Trident Demonstration and the Blockade were a great success. The atmosphere at both events was terrific.
The courage shown by the 47 people mostly women some in their 70’s who decided to be arrested by sitting in front of the entrances of the Faslane Nuclear base was an example to us all.

One of the people arrested was a man from the North-East who has been charged with breach of the peace and resisting arrest. It is hoped that the charges will be dropped.

The actions and in particular the blockade received considerable positive press coverage however there was for whatever reason a noticeable gap in TV  coverage.

There was a large contingent of people from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire involved in both events with representation at both the South and North Gates of Faslane as part of the blockade.

The Demonstration

The Rally

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!

http://www.cnduk.org/
Contact: Jonathan on 07582-456-233

Feb 182013
 

The past year has been a particularly active year for Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament who have broadened their activity on a number of fronts. Jonathan Russell writes.

We now have our own Facebook page which has been putting out related news items on most days with several articles often appearing on the same day.

The amount of information coming out about Trident and nuclear weapons in general has escalated over the past year particularly in relation to the Independence debate.

The information being sent out to those that have signed up to our yahoo groups e-mail list has also increased.

This particularly relates to information being sent out from the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament but also reflects our own activity and information being sent in by individual members.

We have also run a series of articles in Aberdeen Voice, our local alternative on line newspaper, on the effects and Economics of Nuclear Weapons. Aberdeen Voice has also been particularly helpful in advertising our events. We have also had some publicity on STV and in the Evening Express and Press and Journal. The SNP and the Labour Party have both been helpful in circulating information as have the United Nations Association, Aberdeen Against Austerity and the Aberdeen branch of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Our public stall outside Marks and Spencer took place weekly during the warmer months and allowed us considerable interaction with the general public. We also had stalls at an Anti- Racist event at Aberdeen Trades Union Council and at One World week at St Mark’s. Last, but by no means least, we have managed to get letters published in the Press and Journal and Evening Express.

Public Meetings

We continued to have regular meetings on the second Monday of the month and these have included talks on a variety of subjects:

  • Dave Watt gave a talk on nuclear accidents which was published in Aberdeen Voice.
  • Mike Hennessy gave a talk on the nuclear tension between India and Pakistan.
  • Jonathan Russell gave two talks: one on the Arms Trade and the other on Korea and the wider Asia Pacific ,both of which were published by Aberdeen Voice.
  • The main public meeting of the year however was with Bruce Kent, Britain’s most famous peace activist.

The meeting was held at Aberdeen University and hosted by the student/youth United Nations Association.

We also arranged for STV to interview Bruce which was subsequently broadcast on their news program.

Bruce’s visit was part of a wider tour of the East of Scotland co-ordinated by ourselves which also included Inverness, Brechin and Dundee.

  • We had representation at the Annual General Meeting of the Scottish CND and three meetings organised by the local and youth branches of the United Nations Association; one with Des Browne, a former Defence Minister under the Labour Government and now Co-chair of the BASIC Trident Commission, and a meeting with Malcolm Savidge, the former MP for Aberdeen North and Vice-President of the United Nations Society and ONE WITH Alexandra Buskie UNAUK R2 programme officer Alexandra Buskie on ‘The responsibility to protect and the prevention of mass atrocities’. Jonathan and Mike have attended local UNA organising meetings and Mike is now represented on the committee.
  • Members of the group also attended the Scotland for Peace conference at the Scottish Parliament with speakers from Finland, Ireland, England and Scotland.

Events

We continued with our two regular events; the Hiroshima Memorial Day and our Poetry and song night.

Hiroshima Memorial Day

Hiroshima Memorial Day takes place on August 6th, the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. At the memorial we have a number of speakers, some poetry and songs then a one minute’s silence. Then in a particularly atmospheric gesture, we float 200 candles onto the River Dee, each of which represents 1,000 of the 200,000 people killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Speakers included Barney Crockett, Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Kevin Stewart SNP, MSP for Aberdeen Central and Tommy Campbell of the Unite union.

We also had speakers from the Green Party, the United Nations Association, the Quakers and the Aberdeen branch of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Hilda Meer’s poetry was read and Kirsty Potts sang some rousing songs prior to the candles being sent down the river. We have run the event since 2009 and each year the attendance has increased.

Thanks go to all those that helped with the candles and all those who attended this very positive event.

Poetry and song night

This annual event took place at the Quaker meeting house on International Peace Day.  Songs were sung by Kirsty Potts, Dave Davies, Dennis Shepherd and friends and Simon Gall.  Poems were read by members of the group with special thanks going to Hilda Meers both for her poetry reading and for the poems from her recently published poetry book ‘Pathways’ published by Braswick.

New Year Party

We had a very successful New Year 2013 party at Jonathan’s.

Campaigning

A number of member and supports have sent letters to the Ministry of Defence and we encourage others to do so.

We encourage people to sign our petition and to sign up to the ‘No Nuclear Weapons here’ map which is available to sign up to online at naenuclear.org

Looking ahead….

2013 is likely to be an exciting and eventful year:

  •  We have taken the lead in organising a public debate on NATO scheduled for Friday, 22nd February and hosted by Aberdeen University Politics and International Relations Society. The speakers will be John Finnie, one of the two MSPs who resigned from the SNP following their Conference decision to reverse their previous policy of keeping out of NATO. Alex Johnston MSP will speak in favour of NATO on behalf of the Conservatives.
  • Alan MacKinnon of Scottish CND will be one of the speakers at a conference organised by the Politics and International relations society at the University of Aberdeen entitled the ‘Global War Over Resources’ on 6th March.
  • Dr Nick Gotts will be speaking on the nuclear question in relation to Iran at our meeting on Monday, 11th March.

One of the most significant events of the year will be the weekend of action scheduled from Saturday 13th April to Monday 15th April organised by the Scrap Trident Coalition. This will involve the following:

  • National Stop Trident Demonstration on Saturday 13th April
  • Workshops on Trident and non-violent direct action on Sunday 14th April
  • A blockade of Faslane Nuclear weapons base from 7am on Monday 15th April

 

  • We will be holding our annual Hiroshima Memorial Day on Tuesday, 6th August.
  • We will also hold an event on International Peace Day on September 21st in which we hope to involve a variety of organisations and people
  • Last, and by no means least, we will hold regular stalls outside Marks and Spencer on Saturday afternoons during the summer months.

I would like to thank everyone in whatever way who has participated in the work of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament over the past year. Particular thanks go to Christian Allard for setting up and operating our amazing Facebook page, to Sally Dickson for doing all the minutes and inspiring us to have stalls and to the forever present and diligent Mike Martin.

Jonathan Russell – Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.