Throughout 1980s the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was more than a political issue. It was, for many impressionable teenagers, a fashion statement championed by singers, musicians, comedians and poets. Red Wedge, a largely musical collective (fronted by Billy Bragg, aiming to engage the younger generation in political issues) led the way, and by the mid ’80s the CND badge was a must have accessory for any forward-thinking teenager. Of course kids in playgrounds can be easily impressed, and for many their interest in the CND movement lasted as long as they thought it was cool to do so. When Michael Eavis took over the Glastonbury Festival in 1981 it became a CND Festival and remained that way for many years, but for whatever reason the public (youth in particular) interest in ‘banning the bomb’ appears to have waned dramatically over the last two decades. Why?
Trident is Britain’s nuclear weapons system and 24 hours a day one loaded submarine patrols our waters, ready and waiting for the nod. One submarine carries around eight missiles, each missile can carry up to five warheads, so 40 in total. Each warhead has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotones of high explosive. That’s eight times the power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. Nuclear weapons such as these are genocidal and completely immoral as their use would lead to indiscriminate killing on a mass level, and any survivors in the vicinity of nuclear fallout would face horrific long-term illness, or death. Even following a so-called ‘small exchange’ of 50 nuclear weapons the effect on our climate would be catastrophic.
Then of course there’s the outrageous cost. A decision on whether to replace Trident is due to take place in 2016. The cost of replacing Trident? It’s now estimated at over £100 billion. One hundred BILLION. The debate on whether the money could be better spent elsewhere – industry, health, jobs, education, welfare etc. is a futile one to the Government, with Cameron recently stating the UK still needs the “ultimate weapon of defence”. He also said “The world we live in is very uncertain, very dangerous: there are nuclear states and one cannot be sure of how they will develop. We cannot be sure on issues of nuclear proliferation, and to me having that nuclear deterrent is quite simply the best insurance policy that you can have, that you will never be subject to nuclear blackmail.” The ultimate deterrent my arse. How many wars have been stopped recently as a result of nuclear weapons? Any? As long as money rules, Trident, and nuclear weapons throughout the world will remain.
Lose nuclear weapons. Lose nuclear states. Wear a CND badge. Well, it’s a start.
This blog was going to be about badges, but I appear to have focused on the issue itself. Anyway…
My top five CND badges…
- Clouseau fans against the beumb. Nuclear weapons aren’t funny but this badge sure is. Watch this video for a bit of background history. Unlikely to have been produced in high numbers…
- Whores Against Wars. Eh, what? Is there a ‘whores movement’ who back the campaign? Who made these? So ridiculous and even more unlikely to have been produced in high numbers.
- Britain has the best defended Dole Queues in Europe. Yes, a fantastic two-pronged political attack. Crap levels of employment, brilliant defence system.
- Ageing Hippies against the Bomb. Not just hippies, but ageing ones. Of course it’s only hippies and peacenicks who want to ban the bomb you know. Cool design too, man.
- Take the Toys from the Boys. A wonderful put down. Not big, but very clever. Let down by an amateurish design.
Want to see some more?
There’s a bunch here and some fab Anti-Thatcher ones too.