WHAT SHALL WE DO ABOUT TRIDENT?
After the inspiring Bruce Kent meeting on April 26th a few of us got together to try to work out how we could translate his words into action.
We brainstormed a lot of ideas and by the end had put together the first draft of a plan to take us up to the general election in 2015. In order to establish ourselves as a viable campaigning group we agreed a few basic principles about our identity:
We listed the tasks which would be required. This list will doubtless be amended, added to and generally tinkered with, but at the moment it looks like this:
- A majority of UK residents, according to all latest polls, is against Trident, but they are not members of CND. We needed, therefore, to set up a campaigning group which focussed specifically on getting rid of Trident which would have a better chance of broad base of support across the political and social spectrum.
- Although some of the audience at the meeting was from outside Brentwood, in order to be effective and reach out to as many organisations and individuals as possible, we would have to concentrate on the Brentwood Borough. Supporters from elsewhere could join us and then begin to set up similar groups in other Essex areas.
- We thus came up with the name Brentwood Against Trident (BAT) with the aim of demonstrating to politicians
and those in positions of power and influence that being anti-Trident is actually a vote winner (as demonstrated in Scotland) not a vote loser.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
- Create publications. CND has quite a few but we shall need local ones as well.
- Organise meetings
- Distribute leaflets
- Compose and distribute template letters for a letter writing action
- Get school students and other young people involved
- Get local social groups involved
- Contact known friendly elected members and use them to influence other councillors
- Monitor responses to leaflets and letters
- Create a list of sympathetic people and groups and identify how they can be used
- Speak to prospective MPs, MP and local and prospective councillors
- Run stalls to publicise the campaign
- Get people to affiliate to BAT
- Develop our presence in social media and website
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
CAMPAIGNING AGAINST TRIDENT
Campaigning against Trident can be done in a whole variety of different ways and on many levels. Bruce, in his address, gave us lots of different ideas. Everyone can choose what they can contribute.
LEAFLETS AND LEAFLETTING
CND can provide us with leaflets but we need to identify our campaign on them – and produce some of our own. A couple of people are working on this but extra help would be most welcome. When we have the leaflets they will need to be distributed – in your road, at your social activities, at the stall, posted out to friends.
Local papers are read by a lot of local people. We need to get a debate going in the letters pages. We need to write to Eric Pickles – and then we need to write back to him when he doesn’t answer our questions properly. And then we write again. A couple of people will be working on template letters which you could use if you want to – or write your own. (From a discussion with various people who have approached Eric Pickles on certain issues, we do believe that we could persuade him to shift his ground). For best effect we need to set a period of time in which the letter writing can take place.
SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROUPS
Do you belong to any of these? Would they be open to having a speaker from BAT?
Do you belong to a union which has either not taken a position on Trident or, if it has, has not done anything about it? Medical unions in particular are important as they will understand the medical and emergency service implications of detonating such weapons.
We already have some people aiming to get Trident on to their local branch agendas. This could easily happen within the Labour and LibDem parties as councillors from each are members of CND – but we need to activate this connection and discover which conservative councillors might be sympathetic. Do you know any counsellors personally? Whom should we approach? What is the best approach?
Simple, but effective. Anti-Trident stickers have already been sent out, but these are rather large for cars so I have asked CND produce smaller ones. Your cars go everywhere and are one of the best ways of getting the message out. If you can manage to fit the sticker into your car – great. If not put it in a window and wait for the smaller ones which hopefully CND will produce.
Not a new idea and we have been doing stalls on and off for years, but they are a great way of engaging with the, generally, very friendly public. On a fine day
it’s even great fun. We can get people to sign the usual anti-Trident petition but now, in addition, to sign up to BAT. Some of our regular stallers have moved away so please consider whether you could help one Sat morning. A rota for late summer/ autumn will be agreed shortly.
These 4 churches/ religious groups in July 2011 produced a submission to the BASIC Trident Commission. It is a thoughtfully argued and well referenced document but one sentence from this document suffices to summarise it:
“We are united in our belief that it is undesirable for the UK to remain a nuclear weapons state.”
If you are a member of any of these churches do start to talk to clergy and other leaders about your group issuing a strong statement locally. Additionally, the Bishops of Brentwood (RC) and Chelmsford (Anglican) are anti-Trident. Buddhists. Moslems and Humanists also could make local declarations. Much work to be done there.
SCHOOLS & YOUTH GROUPS
A start has been made with getting speakers into schools, but there are also scout groups, church groups, youth clubs who should be involved – through social media, bands, musical events. Is anyone able to help? What events could we facilitate which would appeal to young people?
SOCIAL MEDIA, WEBSITE, TWITTER
Please pass the word around if you use social media.
Have a look at our website and tell us what you think.
We can improve it with your help.
If you are not able to contribute to these activities – then donations would be very welcome. (A mail out costs about £30 – but is usually more effective than an E-mail news-letter). Some of you have already donated so thank you very much. If anyone else feels able to help towards a campaign fund please send to our treasurer Penny Wright, 9 Harold Gardens, Wickford, SS11 7EN
The initial ‘steering’ group has already worked out a draft schedule – this newsletter is part of it. We shall get together again to agree a firm timetable. In the meantime, please start to think how you might be able to help. You may have additional ideas. Please send us your E-mail address so we can contact you quickly if necessary (to firstname.lastname@example.org).
TRIDENT MUST GO. TRIDENT MUST NOT BE REPLACED.
And, finally, do not forget the local Hiroshima Day Service at Maldon Quaker Meeting House on August 6 at 8pm. 01621 869850 for further information.