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Speech from Katharine Hamnett

Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett delivered a speech at Parliament Square on 9th March. This is the complete transcript of her speech for 'Remember Fukushima. No to Nuclear Power 2013' 

You are probably wondering why you have got a fashion designer standing up here talking to you about nuclear, but I have been campaigning against it with T- shirts, for the last 30 yrs. WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW is tragically even more relevant today than it was then.

It didn’t work.

I love CND, Ban The Bomb, the Stop The War Coalition, but we didn’t ban the bomb-see trident, and we didn’t stop the war - we invaded Iraq - although 2 million people in the UK, and 126 million people in the rest of the world marched against it.

So far our campaigning, lovely as it is, has failed to achieve its objectives.

We need to change, upgrade, and update our tactics.

Marches, T-shirts, and demos like this one, will achieve nothing, unless we engage in the democratic process.

Democracy means government by the people for the people.

Millions of people have died, even in the recent past, (55 million in WW2) for us to still have it in this country, yet we are letting it slip through our fingers.

We are being led by the nose, insufficiently informed,
into underwriting as tax payers, an astronomically expensive, incredibly dangerous nuclear future.

We need to be in command of the facts, yet we are not.

Why are we insufficiently informed? Because the nuclear industry is deeply in bed with government and the media.

Gordon Brown’s brother, Andrew Brown has been in charge of media for EDF one way and the other since 2004, when he joined French energy firm EDF Energy, as head of media relations, where, as of 2011 he held the position of director of corporate communications.

The supposedly independent media that thinking people would naturally trust, is also littered with key people working for EDF.

Isn’t this a huge conflict of interest?

If you ever wondered why the BBC seems so pro Nuclear, it doesn’t help that Chris Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust holds two posts at EDF, and has for some time.

Diane Coyle is the Vice Chair of BBC Trust. She also works for EDF. Not only that, she is a BBC Trustee and married to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Will Hutton is a British author and columnist also in the pay of EDF, a former editor of The (UK) Observer newspaper.

Sir Richard lambert was appointed on 6th May 2011 to Advisory Panel. Ex- editor at the Financial Times.

At one point there were 19 PR agencies in the UK trying to persuade us that Nuclear is a good thing.

We, here, know that Nuclear isn’t the answer.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that it can’t exist without huge taxpayer subsidies, the waste issue is being extremely underplayed.

Radio-active Nuclear waste remains dangerous / has a half-life of 150,000 years. No human artifact has survived that long, not a crumb, not a scratch, yet there are ongoing attempts to find disposal sites for it in the UK.

According to the British Geological survey the UK has approx. 200 earthquakes a year, most small, but occasionally up to 5.4 on the Richter scale-big enough to do structural damage- and there are certainly more earthquakes this century than last.

We have actually had two already this year.

So 150,000 years times 200 would mean that repositories would have to be strong enough to withstand 30,000,000 earthquakes amongst other things, corrosion-sea-level rise, etc. It doesn’t stand up.

There is no extant technology safe enough to contain it. There is nowhere to put it and there never will be.

So back to Tactics:

Politicians are a vested interest group only in politics to get re-elected. Our political system is such that once in power they routinely fail to represent the views of the people who put them there in the first place.

We need to call them to task, hit them where it hurts.

Letters threatening to withdraw your vote if they don’t represent your views are something they take a lot of notice of.

We need not just to write to our MPs but also the PM, the cabinet and the shadow cabinet as well.

(If you don’t know who your MP, go to: and enter your post code)

Those of us who are against the Nuclear Renaissance kick started by a go ahead on Hinckley point could write “We need an irreversible cross party commitment to a non Nuclear low carbon energy policy for the UK, exploiting the UK s phenomenal renewables, creating industries and jobs in the UK.”

Those of us who are for Nuclear should at least demand transparent truly informed public debate - given that so far it hasn’t been - followed by, if this is still a democracy, a referendum.

And to anybody who is going to wail “but there is no plan B” - Say ‘lets copy Germany’!

This is one of the most important decisions this country will ever make.
The future of this country, and the world itself, for the next 150,000 years is in your hands.

Katharine Hamnett

Ethical Fashion Designer
Infomat | Fashion

My Secret Life: Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer - The Independent
The Ecologist meets… Katherine Hamnett - ECOLOGIST