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Published on November 15th, 2015 | by Wilbert van der Zeijden

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The bubble

We’re launching Don’t Bank on the Bomb in the UK this year and during launch event discussions in London, the concept of ‘the bubble’ came up repeatedly. The idea that it would be OK to allow commercial companies to be involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction exists only in a bubble.

Only six countries have commercial companies producing nuclear weapons, shows our new Don’t Bank on the Bomb report launched November 12 in London. 188 counties do not host such companies. Similarly, the financial institutions financing these companies are found in only 27 countries. Not in the other 167 countries in the World. The bubble is not big, but the UK is definitely in it. The idea of asking your bank not to use your savings to finance nuclear weapons producers is considered ‘controversial’ by many British and even ‘radical’ by some.

It’s been great therefore to be able to show to our audiences that the bubble – small in the first place – is only getting smaller. Don’t Bank on the Bomb 2015 shows an increase in financial institutions with policies excluding nuclear weapon producing companies. Those financial instituties are answering a growing call from their customers to get out of the bubble, to the real world where the financing of weapons of mass destruction is considered radical, immoral.

We believe it was a good call to bring the report to the UK like we’ve done the past couple of days. We won’t be able to pop the bubble in a week, but audiences were receptive of the notion that an open discussion on the private financing of nuclear programs and what this means for society is a good thing. That’s a good start.

We’re heading for Scotland now – where the debate about these issues is much more concrete. The Scottish parliament, most political parties, most churches and a large majority of citizens have already rejected nuclear weapons. Scotland wants out of of the bubble but the British nuclear armed submarines still port at Scottish Faslane. Scotland is ready to say no to nuclear weapons but the  biggest UK investor in the nuclear weapon industry, is …. the Royal Bank of Scotland.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, come join us on Monday 16 November for the launch of the Scottish Don’t Bank on the Bomb campaign at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Curch, 7 to 9 PM. Or one day later at Holyrood, when we debate the report with Scottish parliament.


About the Author

Wilbert van der Zeijden is the senior researcher of the Security and DIsarmament team of PAX. Wilbert currently focusses on getting US nuclear weapons out of Europe; WMD out of the Middle East and your savings out of nuclear weapons producing companies. He graduated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam and previously worked for about nine years for the think-tank Transnational Institute, as their Peace and Security Programme coordinator. Wilbert’s research interests include humanitarian disarmament, NATO and European security, toxic legacies of war and developments in international military infrastructure.



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