Trident Is a Political and Military Ego Trip Paid for By Every Taxpayer in the Country

18/07/2016 17:06 | Updated 18 July 2016
Defence Images/Flickr

I find it absolutely extraordinary that when we are in the middle of a political and economic crisis, the first act of this new Prime Minister will be to ask Parliament for a blank cheque for a brand new generation of nuclear weapons.

She will do it primarily to try and heal the self-inflicted wounds of her own party from their EU Referendum battles, while at the same time seeking to heap maximum embarrassment on a hopelessly divided Labour Party.

It is opportunistic and blatantly party political. But that's Trident in a nutshell. Trident is a political weapon, not a military weapon.

Trident isn't about defending the country from attack, it's about trying to perpetuate the delusion that the UK is still a major player in the world. It's there to keep the United Kingdom at the top table of the UN Security Council and enjoy the kudos that goes with it.

It is a political and military ego-trip that is being paid for by every taxpayer in the country.

But there are very serious consequences for our security, because every penny spent on nuclear weapons means a penny less for our conventional defence budget.

As the cost of Trident soars, what does this mean for the already delayed and reduced Type-26 programme? What will the consequences be for the Apache helicopter or F-35 project?

Sadly too few UK politicians are prepared to ask those hard questions because Trident has become a virility symbol for the United Kingdom and for too many politicians, the UK without nuclear weapons is simply unthinkable.

Fortunately that thinking hasn't prevailed in Scotland and since nuclear weapons first arrived on the Holy Loch in 1961, Scotland has protested against them.

I'm proud therefore that tonight I, along with at least 56 of my parliamentary colleagues from Scotland, will vote against the Tories plan to spend hundreds of billions of your money on renewing the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent.

Unfortunately thanks to the support of most Labour MPs at Westminster, it's almost certain that the government will win the vote.

But by voting against Trident, Scotland's MPs will be representing, not just the opinion of our constituents but also the view of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, the SNP, the Scottish Labour Party, The Greens, the STUC, Scotland's faith communities and great swathes of Scottish Civic Society, all of whom are opposed to nuclear weapons.

Today, Scotland's voice will be heard in Westminster: we do not want nuclear weapons in Scotland.

Brendan O'Hara is the SNP MP for Argyll and Bute, and the party spokesperson for defence

A version of this blog was first published in the Daily Record