Workers Notes': Remembering the victims of atomic war

by New Worker correspondent

LABOUR and peace activists held events across the country to remember all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. In London the traditional Hiroshima Day commemoration was held in Tavistock Square on Monday. In Bristol CND members and supporters staged an event in the Peace Garden in Bristol’s Castle Park.

Alex Kempshall, the Trade Union Officer for Bristol CND, reminded all that in August 1945 two nuclear weapons were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing an estimated 280,000 men, women and children with another 340,000 dying a slow and agonising death over the ensuing five years. Generations have been poisoned by the radiation with the after-effects in terms of birth defects and social stigma continue to this day. He then pointed out that “The United Nations saw the dangers to the planet’s survival of nuclear war so passed a resolution in 1946 which called for ‘the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.’”

Alex said: “Some progress has been made with resolutions banning the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. There have also been several bilateral and multilateral treaties and a number of countries have unilaterally given up nuclear weapons.” He went on to say: “One of these bilateral agreements led to the removal of all nuclear missiles from Greenham Common in Berkshire. The British government of the time played no part in those negotiations, but I’m confident in saying that the work that CND and others did around Greenham Common helped to bring about the removal of those weapons”.

Alex reminded those present that “Last year, 122 countries voted in favour of the United Nations treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which could officially outlaw nuclear weapons permanently. We give it our support.” He concluded by saying that “This year, as we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those that died and those who survived and bore witness, let us recommit and fight for the living, for the global abolition of nuclear weapons and to a world of peace and justice”.;

Pound slips over Brexit


THE POUND made a notable move in the markets on Monday, albeit not a favourable one for the economy rocked by Brexit uncertainty. The pound was trading at 1.30 against the US dollar for the first time in almost a year.

The pound fell to US$1.2970 — its lowest since 19th July — and 0.2 per cent against the Euro to 89.15 pence. Fluctuations of British currency have been largely attributed to developments in Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels. The deadline for the government to reach a divorce deal with the European Union is fast approaching. Time is running out for the powers in Westminster to achieve the best possible trade deal for the country before it quits the EU on 29th March 2019.

Over the weekend, the Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox told the Sunday Times that he estimated the odds of a no deal Brexit at “60-40.”

On Monday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said that Theresa May continues to believe a Brexit deal with EU is the most likely outcome of talks. The PM still believes that no deal is better than a bad Brexit deal, the spokesman added. Disagreements in the Cabinet have affected the national currency not so long ago, when following the meeting at Chequers a number of senior ministers resigned.

The exit of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davies from the government in July led to uncertainty in the currency markets and a dip in the value of the pound, which fell down at US$1.32 against the US dollar. Concerned with the lack of success and the pace of the Brexit negotiations businesses have recently signalled that their patience is at breaking point and the uncertainty around the exit plan is overwhelming British and European officials aim to reach a deal by October 2018 in order to give MPs and MEPs chance to scrutinise it.