catherine west

Videos from London CND's 2019 Conference

If you missed our conference in January, no fear - all the sessions were recorded on video and are available now on YouTube. You can watch them all below!

Palestinian Ambassador Dr Hasan Zumlot


Dr Hasam Zumlot Q&A


Catherine West MP and Ann Feltham from CAAT

Video interview with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink USA


Rae Street, former CND Vice Chair, and Carol Turner, London CND


Rebecca Johnson, ICAN, and Bruce Kent, CND

Hannah Kemp-Welch, CND, and Sara Medi Jones, acting CND Vice-Chair


Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Co-Leader, and Nobu Ono, SOAS CND



Join London CND for our 2019 conference!

We’re really excited to announce the details of this year’s London CND conference - with the theme ‘Trump’s finger on the nuclear button.’

We’ll be exploring themes of global conflict, nuclear escalation and grassroots resistance, with speakers including Catherine West MP, Ambassador Husam Zomlot, and Medea Benjamin from Code Pink USA.

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Tickets are free, and you can book yours here.

We look forward to seeing you!




Young activists meet London CND's vice-presidents at Parliamentary reception

On Monday, Parliament’s Jubilee Room was filled with enthusiastic young activists from London universities, come to hear from our vice-presidents about getting involved with London CND.

We were kindly hosted by Catherine West MP, who spoke alongside Jenny Jones and Bruce Kent about their support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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The event was attended by students from universities including University College London, University of the Arts London and Pearsons Business College, as well as Catherine West’s alma mater, the School of Oriental and African Studies. It was a great opportunity for students to meet other activists, and find out about starting their own university CND societies with the support of London CND.

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Before the drinks reception, a small group of students was given a private tour of the House of Lords by Jenny Jones, Baroness of Moulsecoomb, who is another of London CND’s vice-presidents.

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You can see more photos from the event on our facebook page.

Support London CND: a message from our Vice-President Catherine West MP

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It’s been a busy year, and with activities in the pipeline, our Vice President Catherine West MP is appealing for financial support for London CND’s work in future: ‘Thank you to everyone who's played a part in London CND’s work this year. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you at our annual conference and Hiroshima Day film show – a terrible reminder of why we do what we do. And what good news it was to get recognition of this with the Nobel Peace Prize award. I write to share some of our plans for the year ahead, and ask you to make a financial contribution towards London CND’s work.


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Donate to London CND

The Man Who Saved The World: Film Screening

Welcome to this blog entry from Lydia!

You might have heard about my time here with London CND from my previous blog. Last Monday, I had the opportunity to help out with London CND’s screening of The Man Who Saved The World, part of our  annual ceremony to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With 50 people attending, many of whom have been members for decades, it was truly inspiring to see everyone come together for the purpose of remembering those who were lost to violence, and maintaining the endeavor for peace.

Catherine West MP speaking at the start of our film screening

Catherine West MP speaking at the start of our film screening

The evening started with a warm welcome and talk from Catherine West MP; a woman admirably passionate about the fight against nuclear weapons. She gave a heartfelt speech followed by a  reading of an extract from Fallout, by Fred Pearce, a book which explored the detrimental effects of nuclear energy since dropping the first atomic bomb.

The movie began afterwards. Before our eyes played the story of Stanislav Petrov, the man who on 26 September 1983 - a time when the US-Soviet relations were severely strained -  prevented not only the start of a nuclear holocaust, but also the end of the world as we know it. Throughout the movie flashed images that reveal the real impacts of nuclear weapons. It stressed that these  are not merely a hypothetical issue, but an issue that threatens human extinction by the minute. They are the ingredients to a war which can never be won. The documentary included a mention of a US nuclear missile that really solidified the room’s perception of nuclear weapons. The soldier introducing the missile to Stanislav Petrov described the damage: if all the bombs dropped on both sides of WW2 were combined into a single missile, it would only cause 60% of the damage caused by this one. These were the kinds of missiles that threatened human existence in 1983, and still do to this day. Stanislav Petrov’s actions demonstrate the importance of always choosing to do what is right, despite being alone in believing it is the right thing to do. He demonstrates the reality of the power of the individual in preserving humanity, and in the fight for peace. Most importantly, he personifies the extent to which saving the world - or destroying it - can be truly momentary.

In stressing this, he left us with a crucial reality-check:

“We must learn to coexist like brothers, or perish like dinosaurs”.

Until next time,

Lydia.

Introducing London CND’s Vice Presidents

We pleased to announce that three well-known Londoners – Bruce Kent, Jenny Jones and Catherine West – have agreed to take up honorary positions as our Vice Presidents. They will be helping attract support and increase interest in nuclear disarmament among Londoners in the months ahead.

Bruce Kent needs little introduction. Ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1958, Bruce became a monsignor before he left the priesthood in 1987 to take a more active role campaigning on some of the issues closest to his heart. Our ‘meddlesome priest’ was already a prominent opponent of nuclear weapons, as CND’s General Secretary from 1980 to 1985, then Chair for three years, and nowadays Honorary Vice President of CND UK. In his spare time you’ll find him speaking at public meetings big and small across the capital and beyond.

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Jenny Jones settled in London in 1991. By way of contrast, Jenny had a wide range of jobs before rising to political prominence – from mucking out horse stables, through crafts teacher and office manager, to qualified archaeologist. A former Chair of the Green Party, she’s best known in London for her role as an elected member of the Greater London Assembly and as Deputy Mayor of London in 2003-4. Nowadays Jenny is Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, the first Green Party representative in the House of Lords from where she continues to campaign on the dangers of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse emissions. Jenny took her title from the Brighton council estate she grew up on, she tells us, and despite becoming a peer of the realm has no car and still grows her own vegetables.

Catherine West is MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, a former leader of Islington Council – and proof positive of London’s cosmopolitan character. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Catherine took her master's degree in Chinese politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies and worked for a time in Nanjing. As a China expert and Mandarin speaker, she’s served on Labour’s front bench as Shadow Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Asia Pacific. Catherine is a Quaker, which perhaps helps explain her trenchant opposition to Trident and frequent appearances on CND platforms. She also keeps a wary eye on UK arms sales from the benches of the Select Committee on Arms Export Controls.

 

‘Plenty of time to recall parliament’ before Syria attack

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Speaking in the emergency debate on Syria, Catherine West MP argued there had been plenty of time for the Prime Minister to recall parliament to debate a military attack on Syria. Reminding the government that the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraq has haunted political debates for years, she said:

The role of parliament is important because there is an element of having to persuade not only one another but the country of our views, our principles and our ideas. That is an important principle that came out of the very lengthy Chilcot inquiry.…Today, we have to reflect on what we have learned from the report, not just about the importance of parliament and our role in scrutinising the Executive, but about two other key elements.

One of those involves the need for a plan. My hon Friend the Member for Wirral South [Alison McGovern MP, co-chair All Party Friends of Syria group – ed] made a fantastic speech yesterday in which she mentioned the cross-party group on Syria and its steadfast commitment to the Syrian people. She spoke about the importance of having a plan, and one of the sticking points over the past week has been the lack of a sense of what we should do next. There has been a sense of ‘this feels fine for this weekend, but what happens next?’

The second element is the need for high-quality intelligence and evidence. This goes back to what was crudely referred to as the ‘dodgy dossier’, which has haunted us in our political debates from many years. We still need to ask those questions. Many of us will make no apology for asking questions. That is our job as back-bench members, whatever role we might have…. there was plenty of time last week to recall parliament, and I wish that we had had yesterday’s debate—perhaps not with every single security detail—at that point.

Many of us could have taken losing a vote—or, indeed, winning a vote. Whatever might have happened with that vote, at least we would have done what we always do, which is to debate, to contend, to get cross, to get sad, or to get happy. We would have done what we do in this place and gone through the lobby to produce a result for the people we represent.

  • Catherine West MP discussed the UK attack on Syria on the BBC’s Daily Politics. Listen to what she had to say here