It’s gone against the establishment grain for decades – and done so with principle and grim determination – but there is no doubt that CND is a real part of British life. Love it or hate it, it’s embedded in our country’s political and cultural make-up. But institutions, as we know, can become fossilised and obsolete. And their history – and the glory or ignominy of their forerunners – can weigh heavy upon succeeding generations.
Nice to know then, that CND has passed the 50 years mark without either unwarranted self-congratulation (although no doubt some may interpret this entry in that vein), or excessive self-criticism. In reality, we have had an impact on British politics and society, and we have helped achieve some restraints upon nuclear weapons and their use. We haven’t yet achieved our goal of nuclear disarmament.
What we do have is an unflinching commitment to that goal, a strong campaigning organisation and an increasing number of supporters and allies. There is widespread recognition at home and abroad that nuclear weapons do not bring safety and security. And there is increasing global demand for nuclear abolition. Building on our decades of experience – and learning the lessons from it – we are moving forward in this new context.
Our Global Summit this weekend, marking our 50th anniversary, underscored our advance. As well as activists from around the world, we welcomed diplomats and experts from the UN, US and elsewhere. A meeting of minds across some traditional divides.
This is the reality. Nuclear disarmament is not the preserve of the minority, it’s the new global common sense.