Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

None . . Page.. 809 ..

MR MOORE (11.48): Mr Speaker, in rising to address this motion, I think it is very important to distinguish between our emotional response and our logical response or our rational response. There is no doubt that we as a community are determined to send a clear message to the French President and to the people of France that we do not believe that they should proceed with nuclear tests in the Pacific. It is not just about a specific set of nuclear tests and the impact of those specific nuclear tests, although that is part of it. It is also about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is also about the fact that this move by the French undermines an international movement towards the limitation of nuclear weapons. That is the critical factor, and that is why it is that each of us in our own way seeks to find ways to send a message to the French people and to the French President that this ought not to proceed.

Mr Connolly began his speech by talking about the United Nations setting up a system of twin cities in the middle of this century. I thought that was an apt way to develop our own understanding of twinning and why it is that this motion before us today is important as part of dealing with the relationship between peoples of the world. The motion states:

... this Assembly deplores the actions of the French Government in moving to conduct more nuclear tests in the South Pacific.

No doubt that has the support of all members in this Assembly. There are two more paragraphs we are debating, and at times today I have heard emotional conflict, almost bidding on who can be more outstanding in dealing with this problem, in which we should be, as far as possible, trying to present a coordinated approach that will have some impact.

I have circulated two proposed amendments to the motion, which I hope will be considered by members. They take what I believe to be a much more logical stance because, at the same time as they provide a logical way of uniting this Assembly, the emotional impact of cutting our ties with Versailles would be watered down to a certain extent. For me, making a decision across those two issues is difficult. Even if these amendments are defeated, I understand that that is where members are coming from. The second paragraph of Ms Follett's motion reads:

The Assembly believes that we must send the strongest message possible to the French Government and for this reason we believe that continuing the twinning arrangement with Versailles is inappropriate.

I would like to add to that paragraph - and I shall move the amendments in a short while - the words “if the Mayor and the head of the administrative district of Les Yvelines support the nuclear testing in the South Pacific”. That would set the parameters, because nobody here has asked, “Do we have an ally in Versailles?”. It is not an unusual thing in France for local governments to be more socialist in their orientation than the national government of the country. In that case, it may well be that what we are doing is, for an emotional advantage, cutting off an ally whom we can encourage to get our message through to the French Government.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .