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National CND vice-president slams Bristol Universities over Nuke funding

8 December, 2014

BAAT nukes  imageThanks to everyone who helped make Rebecca Johnson’s meetings in Bristol towards the end of November a great success.

Ujima Community Radio carried a lunchtime interview with Rebecca. Almost twenty people attended the late afternoon meeting organised by the UWE Politics & International Relations Society. This was followed by over fifty people at the evening meeting organised by the Left Unity at Bristol University. The audience comprised mostly students but included local residents, B-CND, anti-nuclear power campaigners, and Quakers. We were very happy some students were drawn to the meeting wanting to debate their concerns about nuclear power. And researchers from the Physics Department came to discuss their views on the AWE work they do. Unfortunately we needed a longer discussion time to do justice to everything. We were delighted the Morning Star ran an article and said they’d tried twice to contact the university for comment. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e370-Bristol-alumnus-who-advised-Blix-slams-link-to-Aldermaston#.VHxX0sm3J0g.

“I pulled out of my physics course after finding that the Bristol physics department was hand in glove with the atomic weapons makers at Aldermaston, and I’m outraged that this immoral collaboration is still continuing,” said Dr Rebecca Johnson. “The only legally justifiable research is in verifying nuclear disarmament and ensuring that existing weapons are safely and securely dismantled and eliminated.”

We’ve not heard of anyone trying back-to-back meetings at both Universities. Certainly the timing was tight, especially fighting across town in the traffic. But as both universities are implicated in the AWE nuclear weapons funding this seemed to make sense, and was worth the extra effort for reaching more students.

Bristol Uni poster imageThe Medact report “ATOMS FOR PEACE?” was published early in 2014. It revealed the University of Bristol is one of five ‘Strategic Partner’ universities linked to AWE and received approaching half a million pounds a year plus a professorship post. UWE receives more modest funding but given its arms-trade and military links is doubtless keen increase this. http://nuclearinfo.org/article/awe-aldermaston/atoms-peace-investigation-int-links-between-uk-universities-and-atomic

In May Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for South West, appeared for a photo-opportunity outside the Wills Memorial Tower and criticised Bristol University for accepting nuclear weapons research funding http://actionawe.org/action-awe-e-u-candidate-join-bristol-campaigners-to-protest-nuclear-weapons-research-funding-at-bristol-university/

We seem to have a building campaign now. We’re wondering what next?

Rebecca has a special interest in Bristol. She enrolled to study physics in the seventies but left when she discovered the nuclear weapons links. As Vice President of national CND she’s keen to return to Bristol do more on this topic. 2015 is looking busy for Rebecca as she’ll be standing as a green candidate for Camden and Brent constituency in the May General Election.

But current ideas involve planning some sort of “dialogue forum” early in the New Year. Paulette North discussed arranging a two hour slot on Ujima Radio and inviting in representatives from the Universities to discuss their work.

Perhaps we could run a nuclear power & nuclear weapons debate in conjunction with CND, Trade Unions and the Green Party in Bristol? Maybe we could maybe roll this into a “hustings” meeting of prospective candidates for the General Election?

Whatever ideas develop we also need to be building support for the movement in general. Plus specifically the WRAP UP TRIDENT demonstration in London on Saturday 24th January, and NVDA as part of the BURGHFIELD LOCKDOWN in March 2015 http://actionawe.org.

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