Mainstream media silent as the UK attempts to stop the UN banning nuclear weapons

Support us and go ad-free

Other than a report in The Guardian, the mainstream media appears to be very silent on the UK’s attempt to stop the UN from entering negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. While the UK voted against the historic resolution on Thursday 27 October, 123 nations voted in favour. Only 38 others opposed it, and 16 abstained.

The UK joined other nuclear states (the US, China, France, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel) in opposing the landmark resolution. By contrast, North Korea, which has some form of nuclear warheads, voted in favour of the treaty, according to reports.

But what about the UK government’s position on nukes?

The UK’s decision appears to be at odds with the Prime Minister’s stance on the Trident nuclear weapons system:

Stopping nuclear weapons being used globally is not achieved by giving them up unilaterally. It is achieved by working towards a multi-lateral process. That process is important and Britain could not be doing more to support this vital work.

The resolution begins negotiations to ban nukes internationally. It is not a vote for what is known as ‘unilateral disarmament’. It does not mean that only the UK will have to give up Trident while Russia, the US and other nations keep their systems. So if Theresa May was truly committed to “working towards a multi-lateral process”, would the UK not have voted for a treaty to do exactly that?

A Foreign Office spokesman defended the decision by claiming the government favoured a “step-by-step approach within existing international frameworks”.

Why the vote was necessary

Prof Tilman Ruff, founding Chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, doesn’t think the existing “international frameworks” have made any real progress in 20 years. He said the vote was a “historic step” that:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

heralds an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament

For him, it seems that the potential of the treaty to yield results is precisely why nuclear states oppose it:

The numbers are especially encouraging given the ferocious pressure on countries to vote no by the nuclear-armed states, who see that this will fundamentally challenge their continued possession of nuclear weapons

An international ban on weapons of mass destruction is far from unprecedented. We have similar ones for chemical weapons. The professor also noted this:

The treaty will fill the legal gap by which the most destructive of all weapons – nuclear weapons – are the only weapon of mass destruction to not yet be outlawed by international treaty.

Backing a UN treaty to move towards multilateral disarmament seems like a no-brainer. Especially when multilateral disarmament is the official position of the UK and most Trident supporters. The only point in two nations having nuclear weapons is to make sure the other nation doesn’t use them – i.e. ‘mutually assured destruction’. So why not just get rid of them to yield the same result?

Get Involved!

– Sign CND’s petition to scrap Trident.

– Contact your MP if you disagree with the Trident nuclear “deterrent”.

Featured image via Defence Images/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed