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INSIGHTS Revisited: Eliminating war in the twenty-first century by Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent, Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Co-founder of the Movement for the Abolition of War and Vice-President of Pax Christi.

Date/Time: Tuesday 14 April 2020, 17:30 - 18:30

Introduction by Dr Martin Farr, Co-Chair, Public Lectures Committee, Newcastle University

In 2013 Bruce Kent came to Newcastle and gave the annual Tyneside Geographical Lecture as part of the Insights programme.

2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It was intended to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Under Harold Wilson the British government signed in 1968. 1968 also happened be the year when that deterrent became the responsibility of the Royal Navy rather than the Royal Air Force, with the Continuous at Sea Deterrent: first Polaris, now Trident, and, it was announced last month, Trident’s replacement.

It became an article of faith for organisations such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) that the UK’s nuclear deterrent breached the NPT. The terms of CND’s campaign is not unlike that of Friends of the Earth against the third runway at Heathrow on the grounds that it breached another UN-sponsored treaty, the Paris Agreement. Last month that campaign succeeded.

The debate over whether nuclear weapons constituted a threat to peace or, rather, maintained it, was particularly heated in the 1980s. CND’s prominence was in part due its eloquent and indefatigable chair. Bruce Kent was one of the most visible public figures of the decade, acting as an irritant for the government, and provoking Margaret Thatcher to engage with him directly.

Join us on Tuesday 14 April to watch the lecture with fellow audience members and take part in the conversation online.