letter to glasgow city council
May 2018, re Undersea Defence Technology Conference
Ms Susan Aitken,
Leader of Glasgow City Council.
Dear Ms Aitken,
I am writing to you, the elected leader of Glasgow City Council, on behalf of peace charity Dove Tales. We use our work as writers and artists to oppose the arms trade and the increasing militarisation of our society.
We would like to protest the Council's forthcoming hosting of the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference at the Scottish Exhibition Centre on 26th-28th June 2018.
We note with dismay that UDT is supported by Glasgow Life through its ‘People Make Glasgow’ branding.
It has been reported that the UDT conference will, by bringing more than 1,000 delegates to Glasgow, produce a £1.2million benefit to the city and help to ‘secure jobs across our hospitality, transport and retail sectors.’
But regardless of the financial benefits to the city, it is shameful for Glasgow to be facilitating the work of companies like BAE, whose Eurofighter jets are being used by Saudi Arabia to bomb the people of the Yemen; and Leonardo, whose arms have been used by the Turkish state against the Kurdish people of Afrin.
You must know that the UK government's decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia is being challenged through the courts on humanitarian grounds, so why is the Council welcoming to the city organisations which are so deeply embedded in the arms industry and which profit from such devastating assaults on civilian populations?
We also note that the conference partner, Babcock, has major contracts connected with the Trident nuclear weapons system - which your own party has consistently opposed for many years.
While we recognise that hosting of the conference was agreed by a previous administration, we deplore that under your leadership the Council has not moved to sever this connection with the morally suspect firms attending the conference and call on you to cancel the conference.
We also call on you to establish as a principle that Glasgow City Council will not, in future, host arms industry trade fairs or conferences and thereby seek financial benefit from the effects of war.
A large number of peace organisations have signed this letter, as have a number of prominent writers. The letter was published in The Herald on Monday 18th June:
Zoe Wicomb (Professor Emeritus)
Louise Welsh (Professor)
Dorothy Grace Elder
Robin Lloyd-Jones, former president of Scottish PEN
Allan Cameron, publisher at Vagabond Voices
Lee Gershuny, Elements World Theatre
David Kinloch (Professor)
Jean Anderson, secretary of Scottish CND
Stephen Smellie, Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan
Robin Adey-Johnson, CAAT Edinburgh
Jay Sutherland, Scotland Against Militarism
Les Robertson, Scottish Socialist Party
Brian Quail, Trident Ploughshares
Sean Clerkin, Action for Scotland
Gerry Coutts, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Eric Chester, Scottish Peace Network
Michael Sutherland, Catholic Worker
The beautiful blue dove image above was created by Australian artist, Eleasah E.Ridley, who has kindly allowed Dove Tales to use it.
We put it on a postcard which we gave to delegates at the Undersea Defence Technology conference.