By Ramsey, submitted on Tue, 26/12/2006 - 16:43
Thursday 21st December saw a series of anti-Trident demonstrations outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. There are 9 photos, a report and details of media coverage. Trident demo Thursday 21st Dec 2006 Thursday 21st December saw a series of anti-Trident demonstrations outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The actions were coordinated by Edinburgh CND and the Peace and Justice centre on behalf of all those involved in Scotland's Long Walk for Peace, and all their many supporters. During the morning protesters sang carols and held a large banner that was carried from the nuclear base at Faslane to Holyrood in September. A pantomime was held outside the main entrance between 4.00 pm until the vote was taken at 5 pm. There were some interesting characters, including Santa Coca Cola and the Good Fairy of Alba, telling a Moral Tale. Media Coverage The lunchtime edition of BBC’s Reporting Scotland did briefly mention the issue with a short clip of the demonstration. STV’s Six O’clock bulletin Scotland Today had hardly anything – there was fog bound airports, JK Rowling’s last Harry Potter novel and the deal over fishing quotas. Right at the end we were informed in 10 seconds of `breaking news` that the future of the communities minister Malcolm Chisholm was at stake after voting against the government on Trident. BBC1’s Reporting Scotland at Six thirty led on the Trident vote and political correspondent Glenn Campbell introduced his piece with a 12 second shot of the carol singing protesters holding placards reading `Scrap Trident` and `No Trident No Replacement` and `Have a happy Christmas and a safer New Year`. Then there were several glossy shots of HMS Vanguard gliding through the waters of Faslane and then clips of the various MSPs speaking. In opposition were (among others) Roseanna Cunningham of the Scottish National Party, Maureen MacMillan of the Scottish Labour Party, Mike Rumbles of The Scottish Liberal Democrats with Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Aitken arguing in favour. The other Labour MSPs who rebelled were the left-wingers Elaine Smith, Marlyn Glen and Bill Butler. To cries of `Shame! ` from the public gallery the presiding officer George Reid announced that the `motion is not agreed`. The SNP motion opposing the replacement of Trident had been defeated by 72 votes to 45, with two abstentions. There was a glimpse of the continuing protest outside with three banners clearly visible -` Make Tea not War`, `SAW [Schoolchildren against war] Scotland` and `No Trident Replacement`. Reporter Glenn Campbell then speculated about Malcolm Chisholm’s future correctly predicting that `things might move on this quite quickly`. Chisholm resigned as communities minister later that evening. In the end, Labour did not suffer unduly from Mr Chisholm's rebellion. The SNP motion opposing the replacement of Trident was defeated by 72 votes to 45, with two abstentions. BBC2’s Newsnight Scotland at 11.00pm led on the resignation of Malcolm Chisholm with a few clips of the protests at the parliament. It was reported that 4 Labour MSPs including Chisholm had voted for the SNP motion with `many more being deeply uneasy about the UK governments proposals`. Interestingly the figure quoted by reporter Glenn Campbell for Trident renewal was `perhaps £15-20 billion`. Most mainstream pundits put the figure at around £25 billion with CND and others saying it could be as high as £75 billion. On the programme Douglas Fraser of the (Glasgow) Herald made the point that most Scottish Labour MSPs were against Trident. Thursday’s Edinburgh Evening News just had five column inches in the bottom of page 2 announcing that SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon had made a plea for MSPs to show sense in the nuclear debate. She was quoted: “Each and every Trident warhead is a weapon of mass destruction.” Friday’s Edinburgh Evening News only had Malcolm Chisholm’s resignation at the top of page 2 with a satirical cartoon by Frank Boyle depicting Malcolm Chisholm as a `surface to air minister` being fired from the `HMS Executive` by first minister Jack McConnell. The Scotsman of Friday 22nd December quoted Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP's Holyrood leader: "I congratulate Mr Chisholm for taking a principled stance on this issue. Malcolm Chisholm's resignation is a body blow to Mr McConnell. Only two weeks ago, Mr McConnell told all MSPs to act with their conscience and now it appears that he cannot stand to have anyone with integrity in his own Cabinet." 9 photos of the afternoon protest are included. Word count 715 words.