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CND

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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Possibly more accurately Communists for NATO disarmament. Formed in 1957 it campaigns for nuclear disarmament by the UK in particular and the rest of the world in general, although they were always rather more comfortable with Warsaw Pact nukes than western ones. As a campaign organisation they have been spectacularly unsuccessful with the number of nuclear states roughly doubling since its formation, and the UK retains a reduced but substantial arsenal.

The Ruskies considered them useful idiots and there were many rumours of eastern originating funding. Allegedly, although this is on good authority, the Stasi had its fingers deeply into CND which kept it on the track of campaigning for unilateral [i.e. NATO] nuclear disarmament, and steered the campaign back on to the "correct" path whenever multilateral disarmament came up.

Since the end of the Cold War CND has broadened its campaigning to include opposition to UK and US policy in the Middle East (alongside the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain), as well as opposing the building and use of nuclear power stations. It also campaigns for the UK to withdraw from NATO and the abolition of depleted uranium (DU) weapons.

Whether or not it has had any influence on national policy is debatable but unlikely, but it continues to attract support with around 90,000 members as of 2006. The number of members has varied widely over the years as have the numbers of supporters attending CND organised marches and demonstrations, and largely depends on the prevailing political climate and world events. In short, when the balloon looks like going up so does CND’s membership. Further, it should be noted that many members of the current Parliamentary Labour Party were balls deep in CND back in the 1980s.

Almost exclusively left wing in outlook CND was once thought of as a threat to national security and infiltrated by MI5, but it was found to be, like the Earth in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mostly harmless.