Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Can Wales and Scotland choose the rule of law if England does not?


The expected announcement later today that the UK will build on its reputation as a rogue state by increasing the number of nuclear warheads it holds highlights one of the problems with all the various proposals for ‘reforming’ the UK as an alternative to Scottish or Welsh independence. Both increasing the number of warheads and developing new types of warheads are directly contrary to international treaty obligations, but we live in a state which regards international treaties as being things which bind other countries, not this one. And all the proposals for reform or federalism start off by assuming that certain issues, always including ‘defence’, are UK-wide issues, not ones for the member states of the ‘federation’.

It means that none of the proposed alternatives would enable Wales and Scotland to sign up to, and comply with, existing international treaties unless England also renounces nuclear weapons. But with both the Tories and Labour committed to the retention and replacement of Trident, there is no realistic prospect of England doing that. Unless defence also becomes a matter for the individual member states of the union, Wales and Scotland are condemned to remain part of a nuclear-armed state and, in Scotland’s case, to host the submarines, missiles, and warheads. On the other hand, if defence were to be a matter for the individual nations, then there is very little left to justify the continuation of the union from the perspective of the authors of the various ‘federation’ type proposals.

Independence is the only way forward which allows the people of Wales and Scotland to choose to opt in to the international community and the rule of law – rejecting independence is a choice to continue as part of a rogue state, with its exceptionalist attitude that only ‘other’ people are bound by any rules. The federalists never spell that out – but that’s because they mostly share both that sense of exceptionalism and a commitment to the continued possession of nuclear weapons.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Trident - the most vain of vanity projects. While other wasteful projects like HS2 involve an excessive diversion of public funds and will no doubt incur a lot of ongoing costs, there is at least the prospect of the end product being of use to a part of the travelling public. Trident on the other hand will sit and wait - for a cataclysmic conflict with a perceived enemy who is also locked into the same "deterrence" mindset. Now Russia and China may be hostile regimes, but the real and most imminent threat to countries like the UK is the threat from ideologically driven terrorism such as IS, AQ etc.

UK US, NATO all continue to dance around these terrorist threats giving a clear impression that they still haven't grasped the fundementals of cellular militant activities. Apart from that brief disasterous flurry by IS in the Middle East no terror group have engaged in anything remotely like a conventional sense. It would make sense therefore to invest in those resources that are best suited for confronting those challenges. Setting off a cluster of nukes will not achieve anything in the context of radical terrorism.

Or,is this just another expensive virility symbol for a bunch of inadequates in London, or,another episode in the wasteful transfer of wealth out of the public purse into coffers of their corporate friends.