Trident: based in Scotland, despite consistent and clear opposition from civic Scotland and a clear majority of its elected politicians
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An article in the Friend (25.07.14) by Glen Reynolds is summarised here. It looks at the referendum debate and beyond the rhetoric on Trident – ‘an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power’.
The Yes campaign argues, in a White Paper, that ‘Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, our churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians’…
The idea is that the ‘peace dividend’, or money saved, would be allocated to Scottish shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde, with diversification between civil and military defence projects away from a nuclear focus and towards social welfare projects, not least in times of austerity.
Reynolds argues that possession of this nuclear deterrent has “become the price of the invitation to the so-called ‘top table’ of ‘dishevelled international diplomacy’
The new Scotland of the Yes campaign hopes to follow a different path, aiming to rid itself of participation in illegal wars and of the cost of Trident, which is estimated to be at least £100 billion over the next thirty years. He continues:
“Put the politics to one side – it is about a growing realisation of a prospect of changing values. It is about taking the opportunity to make the profound and transforming choices that impact on what Scotland is, how it is perceived in the world and how it stands proud to strive for social justice in the twenty-first century. It is about the practical evangelical witness it makes.
Many independent nations in NATO have decided not to have weapons of mass destruction on their soil
The referendum provides a choice for people in Scotland also to decide to be free of nuclear weapons, and resonates with many as a pertinent issue of faith. Reynolds explains:
“The value system around the Trident debate encompasses what, for me, is a profound change towards a different system of values and social policy to be found in the decision to opt for independence. It is about how you engage with the world as your neighbour”.
In the referendum debate, the ‘No’ campaign refers to the UK’s ‘independent’ defence policy: but who has ultimate control?
The system is certainly not British: the fifty-eight Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles operated by the royal navy (from four vanguard-class submarines) are American. The USA makes them, US-designed electronics and computer programmes are embedded in every aspect of the Trident system, America owns the software patents, licences, maintains them and provides the satellite intelligence to target them.
Unless the US president authorises it, neither Scotland nor the UK can have control over their ultimate security
According to a US diplomatic telegram released by WikiLeaks, Barack Obama handed over the unique serial numbers of the UK’s missiles to the Russian security agencies as part of an arms reduction deal (despite the strong objections of HMG). Many regimes may now know exactly what we have and what it can do. This means that the system has little deterrent value and intelligence agencies all over the globe must know this.
Trident does not protect us now – even if it once did – and Scotland could demonstrate its new social policies better by spending this money more wisely.
Pax Christi, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,(CND), Christian CND, the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW) and Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) have set up a petition:
‘We urge her majesty’s government to cancel present and future spending on another Trident nuclear weapon system and to spend some of the money saved now and in the future on coastal protection and inland flooding defences.’
This is just one recent example – investment could take place in education, jobs and welfare in Scotland, and wherever it is needed most.
Glen is a Franciscan minister within the Secular Franciscan Order, and a member of the SNP. For the last fifteen years he has been the legal consultant for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).
Posted on July 31, 2014, in Democracy undermined, Government, Lobbying, Planning, Vested interests and tagged Barack Obama, Coastal protection, Cost of Trident, Glen Reynolds, Illegal wars, Inland flooding defences, NATO, Shipbuildingon the Clyde, The Friend, Trident nuclear weapon system, Wikileaks, Yes campaign. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.