There is no doubt the extra Conservative MPs in England and Wales – and the loss of some anti-Trident Labour MPs – make a difficult parliamentary terrain for change in nuclear policy.
But the election results shouldn’t be interpreted as reflecting a growing enthusiasm for nuclear weapons. A recent article in The Times acknowledged that polling data showed falling support for Trident. Another poll commissioned during the election by the same newspaper asked whether the British prime minister should be willing to authorise the use of nuclear weapons. A minority said the PM should – 57% said they shouldn’t or they didn’t know.
During the general election, the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson was heavily criticised for her glib ‘yes’ response to whether she would press the nuclear button. A CND video which highlighted her inappropriate reply was viewed over 1 million times and Swinson went on to lose her seat to a candidate from the anti-Trident Scottish National Party.
Scotland – an increased anti-nuclear majority
The SNP gained an extra 13 seats, bringing their total to 48 out of 59 Scottish constituencies. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon spoke very clearly and passionately against nuclear weapons throughout the election, which won her plaudits on social media and big rounds of applause in the leaders’ debates. SNP MPs will be a powerful voice for nuclear disarmament in Westminster.
The role of our movement
We thank everyone who lobbied the election candidates – we received hundreds of replies. The legacy of this work is the relationships we have forged with candidates who are now MPs – we will invite them to campaign with us in Parliamentary CND. Quite a number of candidates who weren’t elected have become members of CND and plan to work with us from their localities.
Nevertheless, the Conservative majority in Westminster will leave many feeling pessimistic. Our movement has a crucial role to play in turning around the political situation on vital existential questions. We must give voice to the growing millions who oppose nuclear weapons. We must strengthen our links and solidarity with other campaigning organisations and movements who strive to build a better, just, more peaceful world.
Our vision of a world without nuclear weapons is needed now more than ever – as is our experience and commitment to change. Success will not come from waiting and hoping that the next election will deliver something better. It will come from our continuing work – and its intensification which we begin today – building together the kind of world the majority of humanity wants to see.
One positive step you can take today to make a difference – join CND
If you value the work we do
please join CND so that together
we can build a more peaceful world
free from the threat of nuclear war.