In Other Words…

This is a place to share words or images (that may or may not be published elsewhere). They may have new information or a different way of understanding ideas that are important, maybe they express something about the world in a particularly effective way. We can only post stuff here that is copyright free or has a creative commons licence as Words and Actions is not commercial. The idea of words can include other ways of expressing creativity

At a time when government action makes the right to peaceful protest particularly necessary it was nonetheless very odd to me to read that John Keenan was equating ‘prayer’ vigils held outside abortion clinics to the longstanding peace camp at Faslane, on the grounds that ‘place’ is important for those engaged in protest. Place is certainly important when the place in question is surrounded with razor wire and men with guns. Protest is certainly the appropriate response to government-sponsored injustice.

But do these behaviours actually compare? What is acceptable in making deeply held views clear to legislators? John Keenan is a Scottish Bishop. Like many of us, he has a view that some of the legislation passed by the governments at Westminster or at Holyrood is not compatible with his own morality. So far so good. Many anti nuclear protesters, myself included, go to, or have gone to Faslane Peace Camp, the longest running peace camp in the world, although Bishop Keenan seems not to be aware that it is still there. We also go to other nuclear weapons sites, in part to witness the activities and to understand the reality of the threat that the government makes in our name, and also to note and highlight the military infrastructure and its impact on the natural environment there. Sometimes we act in ways that interrupt or disrupt those activities as a means of removing our consent to the actions being taken.The purpose of the peace camp is not to intimidate anyone and non-violence is a key aspect of actions taken at the nuclear base.

Similarly as Bishop Keenan notes, the notion of place is and has been important to people protesting an inhumane asylum system. Only standing visibly alongside those directly affected is it possible to highlight their existence and their situation. Sometimes these behaviours involve risking arrest and a charge of (most usually) breach of the peace. Breach of the peace is legally defined as behaviour that is likely to put people in a state of cause fear and alarm, and an acquittal can be usually be assured if one can prove that this was neither the outcome nor the likelihood arising from the action taken in blockading a gate or siting down in someone’s way. Placards and banners are often included in actions and may carry challenging messages for governments or military leaders, so if that is acceptable, is it ‘the same’ as action designed to have an intimidating effect directly on pregnant women and those caring for them?

John Keenan is not a doctor or someone who has any training as a health care professional but he holds very strong views on abortion, believing that the legislation that made it legal more than 50 years ago is a tragedy and the cause of the greatest dereliction of human rights ever, which is clear from videos on Youtube of the bishop expressing himself at the 2021 March for Life anti abortion rally in Parliament Square in London. His moral authority may extend to those who share his view of abortion but the behaviour of those who are putting clinic staff in a state of alarm and troubled women in a state of fear seem to me to be wholly beyond his remit. Women who have already been given access to Bishop Keenan’s views should not have to run the gamut of the placards and the slogans and moral indignation at this level.

Protestors at Faslane and Dungavel are not offering verbal and emotional violence to those they disagree with and would not be allowed by the state to do so. There is cause for concern when protest does not recognise the humanity and even vulnerability of those who are being challenged, and chanting and rage lead to threatening and violent behaviour that provides the excuse needed to shut down the voices for compassion and peace.

Janet Fenton 12:03:24 (personal view)

Being Safe Creative Workshops

“Printmaking Using the Gel Transfer Process – Simple, Accessible and Fun”

This workshop is part of a series of creative workshops that will respond to the theme “Being Safe”. This theme is an ongoing project run by Secure Scotland to facilitate conversation and contemplation around the idea of safety and security in our individual, community and political lives.


During the workshop session, attendees will learn and explore printmaking using the gel transfer technique, making images to respond to the theme “Being Safe” and the five questions it asks. The workshop is open to and suitable for all adults from complete beginners to those with a developed practice.

What You Will Learn

In this workshop, participants will learn how to create unique one-off images using clear acrylic gel to transfer images from photocopies, drawings or laser prints onto any suitable surface. This process gives a grungy, broken effect that is very appealing.

The transparency of each printed image element allows for layering of multiple components, from magazine clippings to pencil drawings and using underpainting and overpainting to create interesting, and impactful finished artworks with a recognisable aesthetic quality.

Duration & Materials

Each session will be 4 hours duration and includes essential materials:

  • Prepared surfaces on which to make your artwork
  • Acrylic gel medium
  • Acrylic paint
  • Brushes
  • Access to photocopier/laser printer

Each session will begin with a short introduction to the theme “Being Safe”.

What To Bring

Bring a sense of adventure and creativity and any ideas or images you already have that you would like to use.

Good examples of starting points would be old (or new) photographs, magazine clippings, drawings, even 3D objects.

All sources will be printed or photocopied before use, so there will be no damage to any original images or items. You will be able to print digital images from phones, tablets or laptops to use in your composition.

About Keith Paton

The workshops will be led by Edinburgh Artist, Keith Paton, Artist Consultant to Secure Scotland .

Keith’s work covers subject matter that is abstract and figurative. His work is generally made in 2-dimensional forms – painting, printmaking, photography, video and computer generated “procedural” visual art. He is an enthusiastic collaborator and mentor and enjoys helping others in their creative development.

Keith has exhibited work in group shows and solo exhibitions across Scotland. He was recently long-listed for the prestigious Scottish Landscape Awards.

Keith firmly believes that all forms of art are fundamental to our connection with each other and in shaping our culture. He sees this as a powerful tool for social commentary, protest and advocacy for peace, equality, dignity and humanity.

How To Book

To book, or for more information, please use the EventBrite link or get in touch with Keith at with any questions and include your name, email address, postcode and a phone number.

The workshop fee is £35 for each Sunday and includes materials, hot drinks and a light lunch.

There is some funding for migrants and others on low or no income, so please email as soon as possible if you would like to be considered for that in order to participate.


Artists, musicians, and enthusiasts alike, here’s your chance to be the Van Gogh or Mozart of fundraising! WandA is on the hunt for ‘LOTS’, be it a Picasso-esque painting, a groovy vinyl record, or even your finest ocarina. You can sashay in with your offerings on the day, or play it cool and arrange it beforehand. Just don’t forget to hit the button below and let us know, so we can let everyone know about your masterpiece! Our own artistic consultant, Keith Paton, is leading the way, generously parting with not one, not two, but three of his fantastic paintings for the cause of Palestine. His work has been caused quite the stir in WandA  and beyond. Douglas Robertson, our auctioneer extraordinaire (weel kent from from Soundhouse), will be the one swinging the hammer and we’ve already got a lineup featuring the likes of Justine Blair, Julia Fowler, Adam Holmes, Jen Austin, Margaret Fergusson Burns, and a surprise donation from the Scayles Music shop. But room for plenty more. Pledge your work using the button below and keep your eyes peeled on our socials! Mark your calendars for Sunday, 3rd March at 6.00pm. Come for the art, stay for the chai and refreshments (donation-based of course), courtesy of Margaret who’s just returned from a stint in a refugee kitchen in Calais. It’s a date!

This week’s Words and Actions monitoring from the Scottish Parliament

Parliamentary Monitoring for the week 7-14 May 2023

Tuesday 9 May

Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee meeting

-Continuing their inquiry on asylum in Scotland

-Evidence provided by TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) about victims of human trafficking

-Discussed how councils support asylum seekers and refugees and the different forms of support that can be provided to help people with their language knowledge and mental and physical health

Ministerial Statement: Europe Day 2023 – The Scottish Government’s Commitment to Remain Aligned with EU Laws

-Scottish Government reinforced its desire to stay as close to EU law as possible and explained the importance of the EU for Scotland

-Democratic basis for this as the ‘people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union’ and because ‘the global challenges facing Scotland today […] only confirm the need for ever more international co-operation and engagement, not less’

Wednesday 10 May

Education, Children and Young People Committee meeting

-Discussed the impact of Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill

Thursday 11 May

Social Justice and Social Security Committee meeting

-Considered subordinate legislation: The Committee considered the following negative instrument— Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2023

-Impact of the cost of the living crisis: The Committee considered the evidence it heard at its meetings on 27 April and 4 May relating to disabled people, unpaid carers, and lone parents.

Feedback from the committee convener:

‘The committee has recently taken evidence on the impact of the cost of living on disabled people and unpaid carers and the impact of the cost of living on lone parents. On behalf of the Committee […] and we clearly heard that the cost of living crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities and that people are continuing to struggle.’

Expert working with the committee’s opinion:

‘This is a cross cutting issue. The cost of living payments were welcome, they were useful, they weren’t enough. But actually the bigger issues around this relate to housing, energy, energy inefficiency and welfare benefits. And it’s going to require cross cutting kind of over cross-government solution to address the underlying causes of this.’

Tuesday 16 May

Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee meeting

-Continuation of inquiry on asylum

Cross party groups next/most recent meetings:

Wednesday May 24 2023- Women in Enterprise

Wednesday March 1 2023- Well-being economy

Thursday March 23 2023- Palliative care

Wednesday May 10 2023- Sustainable transport

Wednesday February 1 2023- Disability

Thursday March 30 2023- Dyslexia

Tuesday June 20 2023- Armed Forces and Veterans Community

Wednesday 26th of April- homelessness prevention and housing supply eport.aspx?r=15261&mode=pdf
Mark Griffin:
On the problem and extent of loneliness.
Some 10,000 children are in temporary accommodation. ‘A homeless person in Midlothian faces a 96- week wait for their homelessness application to be closed. Across the country, the average wait is more than six months. Worse still—this is a national scandal—is the fact that at least 157 homeless Scots died in the past year, seemingly without Government response or reaction.’

Scottish government official response
‘Scotland delivered 59 per cent more affordable homes per head of population than England, 72 per cent more than Labour-controlled Wales and 24 per cent more than Northern Ireland. Over that period, we also delivered nine times more social rented homes per head of population than England. That is the context. However, we need to do more.’

Scotland’s Finances and The Cost of Living: from pdf page 50

Thursday 27th April- community led housing and supporting a sustainable future eport.aspx?r=15264&mode=pdf
Ariane Burgess: We have a commitment to build 11,000 new and affordable rural homes by 2032. With the commitment of £25 million to help councils to buy affordable homes for key workers in rural communities, the First Minister has recognised that something must be done. Hope CoHousing in Orkney, supported by Orkney Islands Council, is establishing the United Kingdom’s first rented tenure co-housing for over-50s.
Evelyn Tweed- I am sure that all members will welcome the new housing minister’s creation of a £25 million fund for affordable homes for key workers in rural areas. That comes on top of a commitment to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 10 per cent of those being in remote, rural and island areas.
Mark Griffin- In November last year, I visited the Western Isles to learn about the severe housing crisis there and the impact of the cost of living crisis that people faced. That was at the start of a devastating winter that would leave 80 per cent of residents in fuel poverty.
Paul McLennan- Between 2016 and 2017 and 2021 and 2022, we supported the delivery of 8,000 affordable homes in rural and island areas.

Committee Reports

Friday 28th April 2023- Stage 1 report on the
charities(regulations and administration) rt/SJSS/2023/4/28/38b80b46-35c2-401a-a218-ac5eb073c6e3-4

Friday 28th of April 2023- stage 1 report on patient safety

Ten Days of Prayer for Peace in Nagasaki July 7 2019

A Message from the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
Peace is the fruit of the integral development of all people

On February 25, 1981, Pope St. John Paul II made a striking peace appeal in Hiroshima. In response to that appeal, since the following year the Japanese Church has annually marked the Ten Days of Prayer for Peace August 6-15 to think about and pray for peace. Pope Francis will visit Japan in November this year, 38 years and 9 months after John Paul’s Hiroshima Peace Appeal, and we look forward to his sending a new peace message to the world.

Since becoming pope, Pope Francis has from time to time made remarks regarding peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. On July 7, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted an historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On the previous March 23, the pope delivered a message to the UN General Assembly. Terrorism, conflicts among those with different military power, security of information, environmental issues, poverty etc. are intertwined in a complex way, threatening the peace and security of the modern world. However, nuclear threats cannot respond effectively to such issues. Stability based on fear simply increases fear and compromises trusting relationships among nations. In that case, we must ask ourselves how stability can be maintained. “International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power. Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity.” The Vatican was one of the first three countries to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (September 20), and in November sponsored a conference on nuclear disarmament: “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament”.

According to Pope Francis, “the integral development of all people” means that there are no economic gaps or exclusion among peoples, no one is excluded from society and everyone can participate. It means that the economy, culture, family life, religion, etc. that are essential for human growth and development are secure, that the individual is a freely involved member of the community under God. A peace which is not “the result of integral development” will be doomed (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 219). Therefore, in order to build and secure peace and security in the world, it is necessary not only to eliminate the nuclear threat by abolishing nuclear weapons, but at the same time to make all people richer in all aspects.
With Pope Francis, we wholeheartedly pray to the God of peace that we can build peace by being deeply involved in the integral development of all while seeking the realization of the abolition of nuclear weapons. Let us begin that task by doing whatever we can.

Mitsuaki Takami, Archbishop of Nagasaki
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan



New Zealand: Addressing Humanitarian and Environmental Concerns of Nuclear Veterans and the Impact of Fallout from French Pacific Nuclear Tests

Between 1952 and 1958, Aotearoa New Zealand military personnel participated in nuclear weapon tests carried out by the UK and the US, in Australia and Kiribati. writes Mathew Bolton Members of Aotearoa New Zealand’s armed forces were also exposed to radiation during the Allied occupation of Japan following the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and later, when protesting against France’s nuclear testing in French Polynesia. Aotearoa New Zealand nuclear veterans claim that their health, and their descendants’ health, were adversely affected by exposure to ionizing radiation. Their concerns are supported by independent medical research. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), of which Aotearoa New Zealand is a state party, obligates assistance to victims, including veterans, and remediation of contaminated environments. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for the role of its advocacy in achieving the treaty.

new report from Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute documents the humanitarian, human rights and environmental harms of nuclear weapons use and testing to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, finding that:

  • 12,000 Aotearoa New Zealand soldiers risked exposure to radiation while participating in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), following the atomic bombings in Hiroshima.
  • Aotearoa New Zealand troops were deployed to UK test sites (11 troops in Australia; 551 in Kiribati).
  • 551 New Zealand Navy sailors deployed to protest 1973 French nuclear tests at Moruroa Atoll.
  • Many BCOF and test veterans have health problems consistent with exposure to radiation; descendants also report multi-generational health problems.
  • Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, were exposed to fallout from French Pacific nuclear testing from 1966 to 1974. The population (4.6 million people) may be considered at risk of being victims of nuclear weapons testing.
  • Venting and leaching of radioactive materials from France’s underground test sites into the ocean poses environmental risks to the South Pacific region.

The report recommends that Aotearoa New Zealand should:

  1. Encourage states to sign and RATIFY the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  2. Assess and RESPOND to the humanitarian needs of survivors.
  3. Survey and REMEDIATE contaminated environments in the Pacific.
  4. RESPECT, protect and fulfill the human rights of nuclear test survivors.
  5. RETELL the stories of the humanitarian and environmental impact of the tests.

To read the full report, click here.