Memorial for Helen John

Sunday 10 December

Helen John, a co-founder of Greenham Women’s Peace Camp and a long-time nuclear disarmament and anti-war activist, died on 5 November aged 80.

A public memorial for Helen’s friends and supporters will take place at the Kirkgate Centre, Shipley BD18 3EH at 2pm Sunday 10 December, arranged by Helen’s son Magnus.

There will be a short humanist service, which includes an open mic for those who want to say a few words about Helen. The celebrant was at Greenham Common and is a long-time a member of Yorkshire CND who knew her.

This ceremony is held near Otley and Keighley where Helen lived in the latter part of her life, and nearby the care home where she spent her final years.

Helen John, 30 September 1936 to 5 November 2017

Labour CND mourns the loss of Helen John, who died on the evening of Sunday 5 November 2018, aged 81. Many supporters will remember Helen’s involvement in Labour CND and her appearances on our platforms and in other party arenas, speaking and lobbying at annual conference and elsewhere.

Helen was an exceptional figure, inspiring new generations of young peace campaigners for over 20 years. She is best known as a co-founder of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the early 1980s where she lived for many years, a symbol of opposition to United States cruise missiles in Britain.

She became a dedicated direct actionist, challenging militarism and asserting her right to protest for the next 25 years, until ill health brought an end to her activities. Helen was also a fervent feminist and champion of women’s equality, who had worked as a district nurse and a midwife.

Her political journey began in Wales, where she was then living, when she joined a handful of mainly women marchers on a100-mile trek from Cardiff, the location of a factory that produced nuclear warhead components, to the Greenham Common airbase near Newbury. A few of the women decided to stay, and set up what later became the women’s peace camp.

Helen visited Labour Party conference to raise support for their action. They were warmly welcomed by Labour CND and other nuclear disarmers. And Helen later recalled meeting Walter Wolfgang, now Labour CND chair:

‘Walter was the very first person there to support us. I’d never met him before. He was beaming all over his face as he put £20 in my collecting tin.’

Helen activism continued after she left Greenham. In the 1990s she set up camp outside Menwith Hill, a US spy base in the heart of the West Yorkshire countryside. Her final campaign, before ill health put an end to direct action, was directed at RAF Waddington in Lincoln, the main operating base for UK drones.

Helen John was an indefatigable campaigner, internationally as well as in Britain. She is still known and widely remembered in North American and European peace movement circles. Amongst many other activities, she was prominent in the Global Network against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space.

Her extensive and diverse experiences of the peace movement were deployed for CND, where she served first as a National Councillor and then as a Vice-Chair of CND in 2001-4. She was present, on behalf of CND, at the founding meeting of the Stop the War Coalition in October 2001.

Helen John will be remembered and missed by thousands of activists whose lives she touched.


BAE Systems and Defense Diversification

Today the Morning Star reported that BAE Systems is set to announce the loss of 1000 jobs from it’s jet fighter construction sites in Lancashire. This will produce tremendous hardship for the individuals concerned as well as for the community and ultimately the Country.

This workforce is highly skilled and highly paid. Once again we see that the Arms Industry does not provide secure jobs. Steve Turner of Unite asks that the next generation of fighter jets be built in this country. This is NOT the answer. People are not buying these planes, hence the job losses.

The only way to provide secure, sustainable jobs is to look to diversify the Arms Industry, producing socially useful products, not planes designed to kill, often innocent men, women and children. Such planes as these are being used by Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen adding to the devastation of that Country. We now have a chance to look seriously at diversification into such as off-shore wind power generation using the skills of this workforce. Such a programme has been proposed by the Labour Party through it’s shadow Defence Diversification Agency.

The Arms Industry kills. We need more electricity generating capacity. Off-shore wind and tidal power are ways of doing it at the same time protecting the jobs of this workforce.


Dr Christopher Butler, Yorkshire Labour CND rep.

Korean Peninsula

The crisis on the Korean Peninsula is bringing the region closer to open military conflict than it’s been for many years, with unimaginable humanitarian consequences. By accident or design, the actions by North Korea and the United States could result in a nuclear detonation.

The war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, reflects escalating provocations on both sides.

On 7 July the UN adopted the first-ever, legally-binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The UK boycotted the UN’s global nuclear ban negotiations. Britain greeted the treaty’s adoption with a statement signed jointly with the US and France, declaring: ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.’

A month later, President Trump was threatening ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’.

Continue reading “Korean Peninsula

A Minister for Peace and Disarmament

Wednesday 11th October, 6.30pm to 8.00pm
Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2JR


Fabian Hamilton MP, Labour Shadow Peace and Disarmament Minister
Christine Shawcroft, Labour Party National Executive Committee
Daniel Blaney, Labour CND

Fifty three countries signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20 September, the first day it opened for signature. But the UK government has refused ever to sign it. Labour’s manifesto promises to create a Minister for Peace and Disarmament, part of its commitment to reducing human suffering caused by war by focussing on protecting civilians, conflict prevention and resolution, and peace-building, London CND asks if and how these policies can reshape the war culture of past decades.

All welcome


CND at Labour Party conference

If you’re visiting Brighton be sure to say hello to CND. We have a stall there and are holding a fringe meeting on Sunday evening, details below. 


Cancel Trident replacement, support the nuclear ban treaty

Sunday 24 September 6pm to 7.30pm
St Paul’s Church, West Street, Brighton
(5 minutes from the Conference Centre)


Diane Abbott MP
Shadow Home Secretary




Fabian Hamilton MP
Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament



Christine Blower
International Sec, National Education Union

Christine Shawcroft
Labour NEC




George Downs
National Policy Forum

TUC Congress calls for Shadow Defence Diversification Agency

Labour CND welcomes the decision of the TUC Congress 2017 to lobby the Labour Party to set up a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency before the next general election, and work to develop a national industrial strategy which includes the possibility of arms conversion.

Motion 17, Defence, jobs and diversification, from the Artists Union England, recalled the ground-breaking plan for alternative, socially useful work pioneered by the Lucas Aerospace workers in 1976. It highlighted ‘a convergence of crises – militarism and nuclear weapons, climate chaos, and the destruction of jobs by automation’, and acknowledged that defence workers ‘are rightly concerned about the potential loss of jobs, for example if Trident replacement is cancelled’.

Read the text in full.

Jeremy Corbyn on 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing

Today, and on the 9th August, the world will commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which indiscriminately killed over 100,000 civilians and military personnel. Many survivors live with the horrific humanitarian consequences, including cancer caused by the exposure to nuclear radiation.

Despite the binding obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, many nuclear weapons states including the UK are failing to live up to this commitment and even attempting to undermine efforts. This is hard to justify when we reflect on the horrors of nuclear mass destruction.

Now more than ever, we must redouble our efforts to build a world that genuinely meets the security needs of its people. The historic progress made by majority of governments around the world preparing to sign the recently adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a step in this direction.