CND badges are now about as fashionable as the donkey jackets they used to adom. but the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has not gone away. Changed tack maybe. but deﬁnitely not gone away.
Talking at the Peace Festival in Edinburgh next month. CND vice~ president Bruce Kent will spell out why talk of ‘the end of the Cold War' has obscured the real proliferation of the nuclear threat. CND‘s own membership. which has declined from its peak of over 100.000 in the mid—80s to half that in 1994. demonstrates the way nuclear weapons have been relegated as a political issue in public perception. (That CND membership acts as rough barometer of interest in the issue is demonstrated by boosts after Chernobyl and the US bombing of
"The end of the Cold War created a false reassurance.‘ Kent explains. ‘The UK is adding to the proliferation by
opposing test bans and increasing the
capacity of Trident.‘
Grassroots campaigns by CM) members against weapons installations continue: the Edinburgh branch is organising a demonstration against the use ofthe city bypass for transporting nuclear materials to coincide with the
Bruce Kent: challenging super-powers Peace Festival. However. CND is increasingly working on an i international scale through its links ‘ with other environmental groups. i Anti-nuclear campaigners are hopeful : that a motion by the World Health 5 Assembly in Geneva could lead to a 2 hearing in the international courts on the legality of nuclear weapons. The argument is that the indiscriminate ' nature of nuclear fall-out contravenes international agreements which outlaw
the assault of innocent civilians. Kent expects enormous pressure to be exerted to have the motion dropped but hopes the point will be made. ‘The Gulf War woke up everyone to the way the United Nations can be manipulated by superpowers.‘ he says.
Whether the legal challenge is heard or not. CND believes this is the kind of high-level action that will help raise its profile again.
I Question time Defence secretary Malcolm Rilkind will be discussing Government policy at the launch of the Peace Festival in a public meeting chaired by journalist Joyce McMillan. Rifkind isn‘t allowing himself to be ambushed — all questions must be submitted in advance — but you can hear him explain why Britain spends more on defence as a proportion of its income than most other industrial economies. (Eddie Gibb)
Malcolm Rijkind appears ()Il Friday 25 February and Bruce K en! speaks ("1 Wednesday 9 Marc/I. l)()lll at the David Hume 'l'mver: Details almut all I’eace Festival events on 03/ 554 22 76.
_ Joint strategy
Hints from the Scottish Office that it is considering introducing fixed fine penalties for cannabis possession - so-call ‘decriminalisation’ - seem to be a little premature and could be a controlled leak to test public opinion.
The Scottish Drugs Task Force, which was set up to look at ways of tackling Scotland’s drug problem, has considered the option but has not come to any firm conclusion, according to one member. It seems unlikely that the report, which will make recommendations to Government, will be published before the summer. However, Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee has also been considering Scotland’s drug problem and is due to report shortly. Its recommendations may influence the task force’s deliberations.
The Scottish Drugs Forum, which acts as an umbrella organisation for community drug projects, told both committees that it is in favour of a fixed fine approach to cannabis possession. ‘The cannabis issue is a diversion from the problems in Scotland,’ says SDF director David Liddell. ‘A fixed penalty might help get cannabis off the agenda. We would support it as a measure but only as a first step. We would like to see a more strategic approach to the drug problem based on the needs of users.’
The Castle Project, which gives advice to users in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh, says it would give a cautious welcome to the introduction of fixed penalties but believes it would only be effective if combined with a health education programme on the dangers of drug abuse. ‘There tends to be a feeling that cannabis is totally safe, which it isn’t,’ says development worker Eurig Scandrett. ‘We would support it as part of a wider strategy involving improved support structures.’ (Eddie Gibb)
4 The List 25 February—10 March 1994
_ Fly by night
Until now, the biggest problem facing Glasgow’s gangs of flyposters was where to find paste at 2am. You would
have to be pretty unlucky to be picked
up by the police — officially they don’t turn a blind eye but there are plenty of worse crimes which are given priority. However, a new adversary is coming
in the shape of 32 closed circuit cameras which are currently being
installed as part of the Citywatch
g scheme. When they are switched on,
; the traditional way clubs publicise
l their events could be permanently
j affected. One of the stated objectives
2 of Citywatch is to rid the city centre of '
flyposting; many retailers including 5 Marks and Spencer believe shoppers find it threatening. A Strathclyde 3 Regional Council report on Citywatch ‘ last year claimed flyposting affects l the ‘physical disorder of the city’ and i contributes to a fear of crime. Al Green of the Tunnel Club feels that the days of flying wars between clubs which often results in a blanket of posters covering the city centre are coming to an end. ‘It’ll only be the really hardcore who decide to go out and poster,’ he reckons. ‘Everyone will 3 get caught pretty quickly as they will ; be spotted as soon as they go out. i Given time, flyposting will come to an end.’
However, Dave Clark of Slam credits
flyposters with a bit more of a guerrilla attitude. ‘Maybe posters will wear balaclavas,’ he says. ‘There will always be some posters going up because it shows there’s something happening.’
The cameras will give the police a better chance of catching flyposters paste-handed — if they want to. The police may decide to continue cautioning posters when they come across them, but are unlikely to dispatch crack squads from police stations to arrest offenders as soon as they appear on camera. The more nervous flyposters may be deterred; others may simply decide to take their paste buckets to the suburbs away from the camera’s all-seeing eye. (Hory Weller)
lOpen T channels
5 Artists regard broadcasters as people
with enormous budgets who are happy
i to fish in the artistic talent pool but never put anything back: the broadcasters think artists unreasonany expect television and radio to underwrite their projects without concern for audience ratings.
A caricature of the relationship between the arts and broadcasting“? Almost certainly. but it does serve to E illustrate that. despite the huge degree of overlap between the two camps in Scotland. their interests may at times } diverge. In an attempt to explore common ground and find ways to improve links between the arts and i broadcasters. the Scottish Arts Council ‘ has organised a two-day conference for anyone with an interest in the
SAC. depute director Christine Hamilton is quick to say the conference is not the result of a perceived communication problem; more a way of ensuring artists and administrators have a better understanding of
tillgxf’. t Ex
broadcasters‘ needs. ‘I think it‘s a symbiotic relationship. not a parasitic . one.‘ she explains. ‘A healthy .' broadcasting industry and a healthy arts 3 scene helps keep artists in Scotland.' Linda Borthwick. producer with Edinburgh-based theatre company Communicado. believes that theatre should get more credit for the work it does in developing writers and actors who then transfer their skills to television. "There‘s a view that theatre should be ever so grateful for the publicity.‘ she says. ‘We would like a bit more control or say over how we promote ourselves.‘ John Archer. head of music and arts 1 and BBC Scotland. accepts that
The Turn of the Screw; from stage to screen broadcasters‘ decisions can often seem ‘mystcrious'. but tropes the SAC conference might help explain the practicalities that constrain them. Archer is keen to encourage the transfer of stage productions to the screen. which would ensure theatre companies are used as more than simply talent nurseries. Scottish ()pera‘s production of The Turn aft/1e Screw. currently at the Tramway. will shortly benefit from this approach. (Eddie Gibb)
Arts and [tram/casting is on Thursday [0 and Friday I] March at the Marina Hotel. (ilasgmi: .S'peakers include BBC Scotland controller Jnlm McCormick and 'I‘raverse director Ian Brown. Details/rum SAC m1 ()3/ 226 605/.