Trident, Faslane. Those two words have a kind of fuzzy, almost mythical feel to them. Trident, being something a huge bearded man of the sea holds and Faslane almost because of the fame of the Peace Camp there, a place I love to visit, has a beautiful feel to it. The positivity of those in the Peace Camp is wonderful to be part of and once a year, friends and I go up to celebrate the Peace Camp's birthday (the most recent celebration can be seen HERE). This celebration is matched with a hope that each year is the lastthe camp is needed and recently we have been cheered by the fact that post September 2014, this may well be the case. Let's not be fooled though, Faslane on the Gareloch, just 30 miles out of Glasgow, is one of the most deadliest places ever built by humanity. The missiles serviced from that place could contribute, in a matter of hours, to the total annihilation of life as we know it.
Keep the weapons?
The argument for retaining nuclear weapons in Scotland goes something like this. "If we don't have them we are open to invasion and with North Korea, Iran and other unfriendly nations developing them, we need to ensure we deter their use."
This argument has never been convincing to me. Why would North Korea or any other nation want to use the leverage of nuclear weapons against Scotland, or the UK for that matter? For our resources? For our mountains? For our great taste in music? And if North Korea, by a huge leap of technology was able to launch nuclear weapons at the West of Scotland, would there be any justification in ordering a naval officer to launch our weapons of indiscriminate mass murder at the poor and wretched of North Korea? By the annihilation of millions of North Koreans, have we ensured justice has been carried out? Revenge? Or just as unjustifiable mass murder as the original act?
As a child, nearly forty years ago, I wrote to CND to express my disbelief that a tit-for-tat nuclear war could in any way progress mankind. I remember finding it really illogical that anyone would threaten a retaliative strike, knowing that it would only go towards doubling the amount of innocent deaths. I guess now, knowing real statistics surrounding these WMD on the Clyde, I can honestly say, I have not moved in my thinking on this. It still does not make sense to me that we would, if another country launched nukes at us, allow reciprocal mass murder in our name.
Waste of resources
I have no doubt that these huge waste of our resources will be moved from the Clyde in 2016, after negotiations have finished after a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum. For some of my comrades this is enough reason to vote yes. This and the fact that millions of pounds could then be diverted into housing, schools, hospitals, the welfare of our old and vulnerable etc. Some people have said to me, "surely we would only be moving the weapons South of the border, which, yes, takes them out of our territory, but into the backyards of our English, Welsh or Northern Irish brothers and sisters." I disagree.
The MOD have ruled out moving the weapons to Devonport, which is perhaps the only place that is suitable in England to house them. This is because of the risk to the nearby population (they don't seem to be so concerned about the fact that the weapons are only 30 miles from the centre of Scotlands most populated city!) http://m.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jan/04/mod-nuclear-submarines-scotland-plymouth
After the first Minister of Wales commented that the weapons would be welcome there, a huge outcry has ensured he has distanced himself from his own comments and opposition from Plaid Cymru has ensured this just will not happen. His comments are a huge shot in the foot for Northern Ireland possesses the deep water Loughs necessary for the Vanguard submarines (or any successor), but the MOD don't seem to be in any hurry in building a successor to Faslane there - a task you would think should really begin soon as the date of independence is fast approaching. Besides, would the US allow, after all, what are weapons controlled by them, to be housed in a place most Americans believe will become part of a neutral republic? I think not.
When Scotland votes Yes in the referendum, I firmly believe this will see the end of nuclear weapons based on the British Isles. Whether or not NATO decides to house them elsewhere on the European mainland is contentious. Germany would almost certainly after its recent move to completely de-nuclear itself, not take the weapons. France already houses its own weapons and virtually nowhere else in Europe makes strategic sense (and those that do are resolutely anti-nuclear). The combination of the fact that no-where else in the UK want to house them and the ruling out of a move to anywhere in Europe, means that Trident, come 2016, will indeed be scrapped.
These weapons are there because of the vested interests surrounding them. There is a lot of money to be made servicing and securing these unusable white elephants. They will never be used, but must be kept safely. The corporations involved in these weapons are many and stretch across the world. The cries of "keep them" are nothing to do with safety or military strategy - not anymore. Not since the end of the unwinnable cold war. All of the present noises by the Liberal Democrats and Tories, and indeed the once proudly unilateralist Labour Party (a party that "once proudly" can be said about most of its policies) are to ensure the vested interests of the share holders of the huge companies involved in the MOD contracts will not immediately pull their capital resulting in huge financial losses. BAE, SERCO and the rest have four years to stop investor flight. Watch carefully how the four sub option becomes two and then becomes none.