Monday, 29 October 2012

An independence dividend

According to the Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, a ‘yes’ vote in the independence referendum, followed by the election of an SNP Government determined to stick to that party’s pledge to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish soil would mean that “the UK would lose the ability to operate its nuclear deterrent and effectively be forced into unilateral disarmament”, for some years at least.

I’m sure that he’s actually trying to argue that independence would be a bad thing, but he manages to make it sound even more attractive to anyone opposed to the possession or use of weapons of mass destruction.  I wish that things were that simple, but sadly they’re not, and I suspect that all those involved understand that.
Quite apart from the three big ‘ifs’ in the initial statement – ‘if’ there’s a yes vote, and ‘if’ an SNP Government is then elected, and ‘if’ that Government decides to honour the party’s pledge, there would still be a process of negotiation to be gone through before independence, and I have no doubt that the timescale for removal of nuclear weapons from Scottish soil would be part of those negotiations.
It suits those trying to make simplistic points to make simplistic assumptions about how ‘instant’ everything would be; reality is very different.  Much as the idea of Scotland forcing the rest of the UK to abandon its nuclear weapons appeals to me, I somehow doubt that life could be that easy.

1 comment:

You mean there's more??? said...

Ok lets assume the Scots win this one and manage to carry through their threat to boot Trident out.

Thats two if's....

There would then be a need to relocate the thing somewhere. Devonport would be the obvious choice and parts of the nuclear fleet have operated out of there in the past.

That might or might not upset people in that naval town.

Where else then? You have Milford Haven, though having nukes and tankers full of LNG next to each other might not be seen as a good idea.

The other option, the other large harbour on the Western seaboard with the scope to be developed is of course Fishguard with a rail link to a secure and hardened facility in Trecwn. A couple of the Trecwn tunnels were very expensively refurbished back in the 80's specificaly to house nuclear warheads for the Americans.

I think it could turn quite lively if someone made that proposal.