By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has reiterated its commitment to removing Trident from Scottish waters as the party’s spring conference today (Saturday) passed a motion committing to the soonest possible timetable for removal of the nuclear weapons system following independence.

The conference unanimously backed the motion, which read:

“Conference believes that an independent Scotland will have the right to decide that the Scottish people’s regularly and frequently reiterated view that Trident nuclear submarines, missiles and warheads should be removed from our land and waters in the soonest possible timescale is based on the international law of the right of national self-determination.”

Earlier this week a report by Centreforum urged the UK Government to cancel the “nonsensical” replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system and use the money to “revitalise” the armed forces.  The report called for the existing nuclear submarines to be reused for conventional defence, and for the Trident weapons system to be scrapped.

The report highlighted that Trident and its replacement serve no meaningful purpose in the post-Cold War era.  It also dismissed claims that it was only due to possession of a nuclear deterrent that the UK retains its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.  

Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, said:

“A key advantage of independence is that it is the only constitutional option which gives Scotland the powers to have Trident removed from Scottish waters, and we believe that the Westminster Government will wish to act on this and withdraw Trident as quickly as possible in these welcome circumstances.

“Majority Scottish opinion, our churches, the Scottish Trade Union Congress and Civic Society, all oppose Trident – and the Scottish Parliament has voted against its replacement – yet the UK Government wants to use Scottish taxpayers’ money to pay for these weapons of mass destruction while cutting conventional defence.

“As the this week’s Centreforum report underlines, from being a supposed deterrence during the Cold War, Trident has itself now become one of the biggest defence risks we face with the cost of replacement threatening the future of conventional forces and bases.

“While conventional forces have been cut, run-down and overstretched, with 10,500 defence job losses in Scotland and a £5.6bn underspend over the last decade, Trident has been treated as some sacred cow by the UK Government.

“It is appalling that, whilst the Westminster government is forging ahead with cuts to basing and personnel, they can find the money for a nuclear weapons system that offers no meaningful defence to the threats we face in the 21st century.  The UK government has its priorities all wrong when our conventional, front-line forces face redundancy, while the Trident nuclear weapons system gets renewal.

“Any way you look at it – on moral, financial, or defence grounds – renewal of Trident is completely untenable in the face of these redundancies. A normal country with the power to decide its own defence and security policy would never be pushed into this crazy situation.  Scotland must have independence to determine its own priorities, rather than have somebody else’s imposed on it.”



Ben Power
2012-03-10 20:27

Large areas of Japan, reasonably well occupied before the tsunami are now radioactive after the same tsunami set off the meltdowns at their nuclear plant. (Sunday is the anniversary of that tragedy by the way.)
Japan, that pinnacle of clever and conservative design got it wrong and will be paying the cost for generations of nuclear contamination.
In a smaller way we are paying already for the Dalgety Bay radioactive dump scenario with a westminster run MOD quibbling about cleaning it up.
Fantastic is the word for SNP resolving to off load trident nukes as soon as possible after Independence. What a useless military system it was and is now, we will all be better off for it gone.
J Wil
2012-03-11 16:49

But the pro-nuclear philistines in the UK are arguing that not one person in Japan has died of radiation poisoning and only a handful have died from the Chernoble accident.
red kite
2012-03-11 20:06

I believe there are still areas of Scotland where the lambs and sheep cannot graze due to the high radiation levels of Chernobyl fallout. Mainly in Galloway I think.
Ben Power
2012-03-11 20:26

I’ll bet they do not mention the birth defects and health problems.
They all come under the sacrifice that promoters of nuclear arms and weapons are willing to have someone else pay so that they can realise their cash.

2012-03-11 09:37

These weapons are simply abhorrent and have no place in a progressive, inclusive, outward looking society.
edinburgh quine
2012-03-11 13:20

How much have we paid in cash terms, over the years, for this useless piece of junk sitting over on the west coast of Scotland? And then of course there are the fishing boat accidents that haven’t been explained but fingers were pointed to(nuclear?)subs. And finally the polution that will be left when these obscenities leave our waters. I dont think there are enough digits on a calculator to account for the world’s thrall to nuclear.
J Wil
2012-03-11 16:47

Free the UK from the shackles of the USA. Get rid of Trident.
2012-03-11 20:44

Out in Glasgow last night, met a submariner who was with mates, was questioning him about the relocation of Trident. His answer, which i sort of thought anyway is that there is no way or no where that trident can be relocated to south of the Border, we are going to have to use this(Trident) as a bargaining chip, and accept a slower timescale for its removal from Scotland. I know it is a very emotive subject, but if, as has been the case so far, the Scottish Government is going to be honest and up front with the people of Scotland we are going to have to get this information out to the public, I say this as someone who has been vehemently opposed to Nuclear weapons all my life.
2012-03-11 21:07

What a remarkably well informed and chatty submariner. We don’t have to accept a slower timescale: if the rUK has nowhere to put them, then that is the rUK’s problem. They have four years to find somewhere.
2012-03-12 10:34

Could they be courting Ireland in this respect?

2012-03-12 05:13

I dont see why Barrow couldn’t be a base, not enough space for a fleet perhaps. However BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, is based there and most UK submarines have been built there.
2012-03-12 08:00

Don’t know if you saw this.…/…
2012-03-12 10:38

“”Royal Navy chiefs have said the deterrent would have to remain in Scotland even if it became independent””

Is that so now?
Royal Naval Chiefs can put it in Royalnavalchief  s land, then.

2012-03-12 11:50

Where would the arsenal go ED?
2012-03-12 12:01

Well, there are two options as I see it.

As a Friendly Power, we can offer (for leasing costs) the continued use of the (Royal) Scottish Navy Base at Faslane on a temporary basis as and until the rUK Government provide their own facility.

We should write increasing lease costs into the agreement, rising exponentially after, say, four years to allow them the chance to get their act together.

The second alternative is that the rUK Government contract with one of the other two nations that have Nuclear Submarine Capability, the US or France. Given that Trident is a US System, there is already close working relationship between the navies with regard to Trident Subs. They may not necessarily be already unknown visitors to appropriate US facilities, that would seem to make sense.

Personally, I want these things off Scottish Soil and Scottish Waters from Independence Day but I think that we have to make a few concessions on this one. But make it clear that the things are going in a timescale and if rUK choose not to stick to that timescale, that there will be Financial Consequences.
2012-03-12 17:47

To be honest, I don’t know and don’t care.
However, it is a question of money and logistics I suppose.

I believe there is currently a huge floating concrete bunker amongst other things that support the ships. Not easy to move (logistics + cost) or needs to be mothballed + rebuilt etc = cost++.

As I said I don’t really know but I think Barrow is technically feasible, whereas the costs are eye watering, no matter what.

2012-03-12 08:41

If this is good enough for human habitation, then it should be ok for Trident!
And its just up the road from Portsmouth!
2012-03-12 17:23

I was under the impression that the reason they canot be stored anywhere else is not logistical but strategical, Logistically they could be stored in a warehouse next to any harbour, but Faslane and Coulport offer the strategic benifit of been deep water inland ports which are very secure against enemy submarine attack. If you look at the geography of the UK is there any other place outside of Scotland that offers this, the answer is no.
2012-03-12 17:51

Not so sure. If UK subs can come and go whats to stop an enemy?
2nd, anti submarine defences could be deployed eleswhere in the UK.

I guess the current location is by far the best one but in the end the UK has to make a choice: No deterrent or rethink.

Not our problem.

Evil Gazebo
2012-03-12 18:41

There is no justification for these abhorrent missiles being left in an independent Scotland.

If the rest of the UK cannot take them on the day of Indepenance,the  y should be handed over to the UN for safe disposal.

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