Wednesday, 17 July 2013

On Trident

I am strongly in favour of unilateral disarmament of the UK's nuclear arsenal. I want to see the missiles dismantled and the warheads destroyed, and I certainly don't support the commissioning of a new generation. And I know I share that view with very many people across the UK.

People arguing for Scottish independence like to paint this another way. They like to pretend that Scots want rid but the rest of the UK wants to keep them. Any number of opinion polls show this isn't true. And that leads them to propose one of the most audacious pieces of false campaigning I have ever known: the idea that a Yes vote in 2014 means no more Trident.

It's simply not true. And in reality it's an absolute gift to the politicians who want to push through Trident renewal. Here's why:

  • Even if, on day one of a putative independent Scotland, a Scottish Government forcibly evicted HMNB Clyde, all that would happen would be that the weapons would be moved a few miles south. They wouldn't be disarmed, and they wouldn't be destroyed.
  • And that wouldn't happen anyway. An independent Scotland simply would not get away with attempting to forcibly and undemocratically damage the defences of another sovereign state, let alone its closest ally. In reality what would happen is a period of negotiation, and the most likely outcome of that negotiation between two NATO member states, under the watchful eye of the US for whom Faslane is a strategically critical site, would be an agreement to lease the site as the UK's nuclear base for as long as it was required.
  • On top of this, what a Yes vote in 2014 actually does is remove the influence Scots currently have - by dint of our having the same vote in UK elections as folk everywhere on these islands - over UK defence policy and Trident renewal. If we're sending anti-Trident MPs to represent us at Westminster now, it stands to reason that fewer would be there to argue against renewal were we to exit the UK.
  • And while we should be engaging in the UK-wide debate, fighting for the obscenity of nuclear weapons to be consigned to the dustbin of history, many of the strongest fighters are instead engaged in promoting independence as if it were the answer to the problem. People are being told they can stop Trident by voting Yes in 2014. And they can't. And by the time we wake up to the fact that we're being sold a pup by folk who merely want to hijack anti-nuclear sentiment to promote their goal of Scottish separation, it could well be too late.
A Yes vote in 2014 is not a vote to get rid of Trident. It's a vote to wash our hands of the problem, to walk away from the disarmament campaign, and to actively reduce the chances of disarmament happening in the UK.

If we want to disarm Trident, we need to stand and fight within the UK, not walk away.


63 comments:

  1. It's also a vote to move the most dangerous weapons in the world away from our biggest city.

    Accuse the Scots of NIMBYism if you will, but I don't want those things in my country rendering our most densely populated region a giant nuclear dartboard.

    I'd add that without Scotland propping up Westminster financially, the rUK will have to think long and hard about whether its pretensions to post-imperial greatness are worth the money. Even the most jingoist Tory MP will need to stop and think a bit about whether the rUK can afford nuclear weapons without Scotland's contribution.

    Anti-nuclear campaigners have two choices. They can vote yes, and deliver a decisive blow against WMDs. Or they can vote no, and nothing changes. Nowt, nax, nada.

    Even if Labour weren't aping the Tories on WMDs (which they are), every Scottish MP could be against WMDs and we *still* couldn't get rid of them.

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    1. You're right, there is an element of NIMBYism here, though I'm not sure who you think is going to attack us.

      Where I disagree is the idea that a Yes vote would be a "decisive blow against WMDs". I think quite the opposite, as I set out in the piece.

      Thanks for the comment.

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    2. TBH, NIMBYism to my mind is 'not being keen on a wind turbine because it spoils your view.'

      The threat of nuclear immolation on your doorstep, on the other hand, is something a tad more concerning. Particularly given the proximity, as mentioned, to the most densely populated part of Scotland.

      Notwithstanding the remote likelihood of someone attacking Faslane in the near future, I'd just rather not have them in my country. And I think that's a pretty logical position to take.

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    3. I place more importance on their existence than their location. And my country is the UK.

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  2. There's some fair points here and while I don't entirely agree with the conclusion, it's just nice to be able to read your thoughts in a format longer than 140 characters. You should probably do this more often!

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    1. Cheers Ray. I know, I should do this more often. It takes less time than I think, too.

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  3. Your committment to 'staying to fight' against nukes in the UK is admirable but not based on the political realities. Where is the opposition to renewal of trident in the Westminster political class? Today's Guardian editorial covers that pretty well.

    The reality is that a no vote means no change, trident is renewed. Westminster governments will continue to be influenced by the US/an imperialist 'top table' view of foreign policy probably until the end of time!

    One point I concede is that a yes vote may well not remove nukes from the rUK - they could well be as stupid to spend extra billions putting it somewhere down south. However, that is not something we have control over in Scotland.

    Our choice is to vote yes and remove them from our country. Your assertions above on trident remaining here post-indy (long term) are not based on any facts.

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    1. We have to fight for scrapping Trident to become an issue of importance to Westminster. Just like we had to fight to get equal marriage there - unthinkable five years ago.

      I believe a Yes vote makes UK disarmament less likely, as I have set out. I'm not interested in being a NIMBY.

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    2. I'm sorry but equal marriage is a token gesture conceded to keep the minions content with absolutely no consequence on the world stage.

      If you think for one minute that the people can "fight" to have Trident removed then you're seriously deluded. There isn't a single UK party committed to removing nuclear weapons anytime soon including your own! Johann Lamont won't utter a word on her stance. That said, her silence tells me everything I need to know.

      Please don't insult my intelligence either by arguing that Labour would use it as a bargaining chip to encourage others to decommission theirs too. It won't happen.

      I am by no means the biggest fan of the SNP but at least they have a straight answer on it.

      I want Trident out of my country. My country is Scotland.

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    3. Choosing equal marriage as an analogy for nuclear disarmament rather proves the opposite of your point.

      The Scottish parliament began the process, just for Scotland, and the Westminster government then picked up the idea and implemented it in England.

      This is exactly what the Yes campaign is advocating in relation to Trident. Namely, get these WMD's out of Scotland as soon as we are able, and give the English the opportunity to follow suit.

      Even if they decide to keep them, we are no worse off than now, but we will not have them on our land and we will cease to pay for them as a bonus.

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  4. Danny McGivern17 July 2013 at 10:47

    The idea that it would only move the weapons rather than dismantle is unassailable. But you undermine the credibility of exhorting us to stand and fight for disarmament by wanting us to endorse a party with a manifesto commitment to replacing Trident. It puts, at best, a whiff of self deceit around your piece.

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    1. No manifesto is yet written for the next UK elections. I'll be campaigning for a UK Labour commitment to disarm.

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  5. Duncan, IMHO your logic is so screwed up as to be almost comical.

    You say "I want to see the missiles dismantled and the warheads destroyed, and I certainly don't support the commissioning of a new generation." but you support a parliament where every party ever to have been in power, including those currently in power, wants the exact opposite and you fight against a parliament where the only party ever to have formed a majority government(and currently in power)want exactly the same as you.

    Also, you state as facts a)"all that would happen would be that the weapons would be moved a few miles south. They wouldn't be disarmed, and they wouldn't be destroyed." and b)"that wouldn't happen anyway."

    Logic isn't your strong point is it?

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    1. What an odd comment. I do not fight against the Scottish Parliament. In fact I campaigned for its creation! And you lazily try to pretend the independence referendum is a choice between the current governments in Scotland and the UK. It is not, and it is ridiculous to pretend it is.

      As far as your second point is concerned, perhaps reading isn't your strong point. You appear not to notice that point (a) was prefaced with "Even if", which is why it is perfectly logical to follow it with point (b).

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    2. You do not want the government, that wants the same as you, to have the power to achieve it. You do however want the government, that doesn't want you want, to retain the power to prevent it.

      If something has a probability of 0 as you say in (b) (i.e. in won't happen) then it is not logical to say what will happen in the event of it happening - as it won't happen.

      But maybe in your world both these positions are sound logic.

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    3. Because indyref isn't about single issues of policy, or current governments. If you can't understand that, your engagement in the debate is worthless.

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    4. Who said indyref is about a single issue of policy? You wrote about the issue of Trident in relation to indyref. I merely pointed out your position on this one issue is illogical.

      Your position on other issues relating to indyref may or may not be equally illogical

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  6. Attempting to forcibly and undemocratically damage the defences of another sovereign state.

    When did any shade of Scottish politician suggest forcible removal.

    What is undemocratic about an independant scottish government of any hue asking for the removal of nucular weapons. They I presume would have the electorial mandate from the people of Scotland.

    Stay in the Union and fight, 59 MPS, 53 of whom belong to parties who wish to retain nukes, so 6 anti nucular Mps out of a total of 650. Or is there a party promising a referendum on nucular disarmament?



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    1. "Vote Yes to get rid of Trident" directly proposes forcible removal, given that the UK government does not want to remove Trident.

      I have no doubt that, should indy happen, a Scot Gov would open negotiations, as I set out. I believe my suggestion of the outcome of such negotiations is the most likely.

      And of course since only a minority of Scots support separation anyway, it's a fairly academic point.

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    2. Vote Labour to get rid of the Tories doesn't suggest forcible removal does it?

      I remember your prediction the day before the SNP landslide in the Holyrood elections Duncan don't count your chickens just yet. :)

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    3. Yes. If the Tories lose they are forced from government. That's exactly what it means.

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    4. Actually the Queen may invite someone else to form a government, no one forces them out.Or of course they could form a coalition.

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  7. Duncan Mc Lean17 July 2013 at 12:14

    You say you are “strongly in favour of unilateral disarmament of the UK's nuclear arsenal.”, but clearly approached this blog with the sole aim of adding credence to your rubbishing of proposals for Scottish independence. You don’t weigh up any pros and cons – it is all con – pretty much a description of this blog.

    The go/no go decision on the Trident replacement takes place in 2016. To commission a new Trident it will be necessary to amend the base facilities to suit the - as yet undesigned - weapons system. It is inconceivable this would proceed if Scotland votes for independence in 2014.

    The notion that Trident can “be moved a few miles south” is fanciful. The Clyde hosts not just a submarine base, but many related facilities. These simply do not exist “a few miles south” and would need to be replicated (which is what the UK government says - quite rightly - will cost £10s of billions). This is what the committee on separation concluded:

    “Identifying and recreating a suitable base to replace Faslane and Coulport would be highly problematic, very expensive, and fraught with political difficulties.”

    If other parts of the UK are equally opposed to nuclear weapons, which political party is going to go into the 2015 election committed to imposing such a facility on part of England or Wales, and the associated expenditure? The Tories and UKIP might be mad enough, but what of Labour and the LibDems. If they were to do the same, what does that say about these parties? Where is the prospect of disarmament through the UK that you hold out - non-existent?

    A much more hopeful scenario is that Scottish independence would put some backbone in the pro disarmament voices in UK Labour (maybe also the LibDems) and the electorate in E&W would be offered a choice on future defence policy.

    You say Scotland expelling Trident would be forcible and undemocratic. If Scots vote for independence and to be WMD-free, that is their right. The only forcible and undemocratic notions have come from MOD saying they can do a Cyprus / Cuba and hold on to part of Scotland as a nuclear playpen. But it is not just the land they would be holding - post-independence Scotland will have internationally recognised territorial waters – to get to base submarines would have to sail over a hundred miles in these waters – for part of it accompanied by a flotilla of armed protection vessels. The fact that this doesn’t even enter the debate shows the contempt in which the wishes of the Scottish people are held.

    Faslane is not a “strategically critical site” for the US. They had a submarine base next door at Holy Loch for years. Twenty years ago they deemed the base unnecessary in light of the end of the Cold War. Using Faslane to support a single UK on station submarine is an irrelevance to the defence of the US.

    The end of your post “fighting for the obscenity of nuclear weapons to be consigned to the dustbin of history” and “folk who merely want to hijack anti-nuclear sentiment” “if we're sending anti-Trident MPs to represent us at Westminster now” is just self-justifying rhetoric.

    If you really wanted change in UK politics, you would be supporting Scottish independence and its challenge to Westminster’s determination to posture on the world stage with Trident as its principal bargaining chip. Unfortunately, all you seem to want is for pro-Trident Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander to replace pro-Trident David Cameron, George Osborne, Philip Hammond and William Hague. It’s just Westminster Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

    A Yes vote in 2014 will be – in part - a vote by Scots to get rid of weapons of mass destruction - it will take a real twisting of priorities for anyone who is anti-nuclear to decide to vote No.

    If you and Better Together are convinced that the rest of the UK will strain every sinew to host and commit scarce resources to such a system for the next 50 years – in what way are we better together under the Westminster system?

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  8. Duncan Mc Lean an excellent dismantling of the schizophrenic madness DH projects on this insane blog.
    What shines through his every utterance like a candle in the wind, is the self interest and blinkered adoration of this union that is the great provider for the professional politicians we send to bow and scrape in that temple of corruption and medieval madness. Check the latest PMQs. The apes on Gib are better behaved.
    London Labour, which has the red rose of England as it's symbol, and the other London unionist parties, has evolved on a bed of patronage, nepotism and corruption as we now see the tip of in Falkirk. Scotland must be saved for them to save them selves and their golden remunerations package which they now seek to inflate as we all see ours devalue every day. DH is but a tiny speck in that galaxy.

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    1. I also agree in large measure with Duncan Mc Lean, but at the risk of being a tedious tone policeman, I would point out that you don't do the case any favours by resorting to travesty and mockery, made all the more unpleasant by your use of the terminology of mental illness. The substance of the matter will serve quite well.

      I'm glad there are people like Duncan Hothersall making the sane case for nuclear disarmament inside the Labour Party. However, Westminster electoral arithmetic means that even if a majority of the Labour Party favoured disarmament, the policy will not change to agree with either Duncan. Far more voters would reject Labour from the right for cancelling Trident than would reject it (under First-Past-The-Post) from the left for renewing Trident.

      An independent Scotland would be capable of a gesture, but no more. Relocating the base for New Trident to Elsewhere-in-the-UK(bet you not Northern Ireland) would be expensive in time and money, but not impossible. The gesture might help raise the question of whether the "deterrent" is worth it. I doubt the absence of Scottish votes would have a large impact on that outcome: it's unlikely to be a matter for referendum and the same electoral calculation applies.

      For me, it's not about clean hands. We might send a helpful message, but probably to no avail. We would at least get to spend our collective money on something life-sustaining.

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  9. Charitably I suppose you could mean schizophrenic in the literal sense. But as I am the only person in the world I know who ever uses it as such (split-minded) and it accompanied by "insane" I kinda assume otherwise.

    It's not big or clever to use mental health as a means of dismissing your political opponents (no matter their hue) indeed it's damaging and stigmatising to people of all political hues who suffer daily from mental health issues and encounter ill meant and intemperate language about mental illness on a daily basis.

    Yours Keir (a somewhat bipolar Nat)

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  10. Sorry, but the logical contortions in this post are not quite mind-boggling enough to withstand even a glance.

    Ridding the country of Trident doesn't stop it from being hosted in England/rUK? But getting rid of Trident *entirely* doesn't get rid of nuclear weapons in America.

    "Getting rid of Trident is pointless it'll reduce nuclear weapons by a piffling fraction. The REAL answer is for the UK to unify with the USA and campaign for disarmament in that context. It's our noble duty!"

    The thing about unilateral disarmament is.... it's unilateral. Other folk still have 'em after you do it.

    And, when the noble Scots decide to 'stay and fight' in the UK, who are they going to vote for? Hmmm, what parties are standing in Scottish constituencies and are unilateralist?

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    1. Yet your logical contortion is so obvious as to be painful.

      --> Moving nukes does not disarm them. <--

      Scotland *cannot* unilaterally disarm. It can only demand that weapons be removed. The UK can, and should, unilaterally disarm. That means putting weapons beyond use. That's what I want to see happen.

      Don't try to pretend Scotland declaring itself a Nuclear Free Zone is in any way equivalent to unilateral disarmament. It simply isn't.

      I want to "reduce nuclear weapons by a piffling fraction". A Yes vote won't do it.

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    2. Actually I don't agree that expelling trident is a meaningless gesture. There are more than enough nukes in existence to wreak havoc. Reducing the number by 150 is meaningless.

      Unilateralism is by definition about getting nukes out of your own hands; about repudiating them. It does nothing to reduce the amount of potential nuclear devastation in the world.

      Anyway, given your strong convictions will you actually vote with your convictions and give that vote to some party that has this policy? It just seems that much of your political life consists of expressing high-minded convictions and then voting against them. Weird. Maybe these tap-dances are just aimed at leftie Scottish Labour folk, who are a bit like atheist vicars by this stage.

      You could vote Green, maybe.

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    3. "Unilateralism is by definition about getting nukes out of your own hands; about repudiating them. It does nothing to reduce the amount of potential nuclear devastation in the world."

      This is an extremely odd statement. Unilateralism is about acting alone. Unilateral disarmament is about disarming weapons alone. Disarming weapons *does* in fact reduce the amount of potential nuclear devastation in the world.

      You seem to think we should support unilateral removals rather than unilateral disarmament. Now that really does achieve nothing.

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  11. It is interesting to see your thinking explained in a somewhat longer format than Twitter. However I think your logic is less than sound, you don't want WMD, you wish for disarmament but think the best course is to stay and campaign for this within the UK. Yet there is no mainstream UK party showing even the remotest inclination to do so and it is very unlikely they will do so anytime in the near future.
    Your thinking is also somewhat skewed when considering the position of an Independent Scotland. Like you I think it very unlikely we would force out WMD on day one, apart from everything else it is a very valuable bargaining piece, much more likely is the idea of a fixed time for there removal from Scotland, I suspect somewhere between 5 and 10 years. This is a mindset changer for the rUK, docking the subs is fairly straightforward, any reasonable sized port could do so, remember that the service of these subs is carried out in a floating dock. The real issue for rUk is the storage of the warheads, the creation of such a facility requires particular geographic conditions. This is much harder to find outwith Scotland.
    Nuclear disarmament is more likely for rUK with Scottish Independence, even from a financial position rUK would need to review at the very least.

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    1. Less than ten years ago there was no mainstream UK party showing even the remotest inclination to remove the ban on same sex marriage. Now look where we are. Political action is about far more than voting.

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    2. A fair enough point but I don't think the two issues are comparable.

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  12. Labour had 13 years to remove Trident, it didn't. Please explain why a future Labour government would be inclined to do so? The Labour Party that you champion Duncan doesn't exist anymore, they are not for abandoning WMDs from UK soil. What is Johann Lamont's view on this, or even Labour in Scotland's view of WMDs on the Clyde? If you know these answers then please tell me. You may want nuclear disarmament Duncan but you and like-minded 'WMD-free' friends are an increasingly small voice in Labour Party UK plc. Like I said, 13 years and nothing. So how long does it take for Labour in power to make a decision like this... 14-18-20 years in power? If Labour means it, then have it as a policy and sell it to the electorate, if they can't do that then they're running away from the issue and they probably always will.

    Simple fact is Duncan, if Labour were in power in Scotland right now and called for WMDs to leave the Clyde you would support that policy in an instant. The fact that it is an SNP policy and ergo the 'Willie Bain principle' of opposing everything the SNP does, then your view against Trident becomes contorted as we see by this blog entry as you try to fit with the Bain principle but somehow remain true to your convictions. Your head must be hurting.

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    1. Interesting. Your first para suggests you haven't understood my point at all. I'm not telling you vote Labour to disarm Trident. I'm simply telling you that voting Yes in the referendum will not do so, no matter how much you want it to. It will merely mean us walking away from the problem.

      My head is fine thanks. No contortions here.

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  13. What an absolutely extraordinary piece of self-delusion this entire article is. No logical contortion is too impossible as long as it points to some other answer than independence.

    1. Do you want the UK disarmed or not, Duncan? You say you do, but the next minute bringing about that exact end is "forcibly and undemocratically damaging the defences of another sovereign state".

    There is no democratic route to British disarmament. All three parties are in favour of nuclear weapons. Your attempt to fool yourself into believing Labour isn't, or doesn't yet have a policy on the issue, has been shot down so many times it's actually quite impressive you've managed to scream "LA LA LA NOT LISTENING!" for long enough to avoid hearing any of them.

    Is Jim Murphy (your shadow Defence Secretary) not a sufficient authority on Labour policy? How about your shadow Armed Forces Minister? Both have unequivocally committed Labour to like-for-like Trident replacement. Or are these statements from the latter somehow ambiguous?

    "Labour is committed to maintaining a continuous at sea deterrent."

    "In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up”. In a less stable world there can be no justification for either unilaterally disarming or for decreasing the capabilities of the UK’s deterrent."

    "The Labour Party has pledged its support for a ballistic missile-armed submarine platform based on continuous-at-sea deterrence."

    http://labourlist.org/2013/07/the-trident-alternatives-review-hasnt-changed-our-minds-it-is-right-for-the-uk-to-maintain-a-continuous-at-sea-deterrence/

    Read the entire piece. It could not possibly be any less clear. Even a man as tirelessly committed to desperate semantic evasion as you surely can't find any loopholes in that one.

    (Of course, Jones maintains the fiction of multilateral disarmament too - that is, he wants to spend £100bn on a new Trident, but then negotiate it away, casting all the thousands of Faslane jobs Labour constantly piously wails about onto the scrapheap in the process. The notion that the UK's piddly little armoury is worth a bean in international disarmament terms is only one of the more laughable aspects of the pretence.)

    But I digress. No electable UK party stands for disarmament, so how can the UK be disarmed "democratically"? It can't, in the extremely limited sense you're using the term. If you want rid of Trident, it'll HAVE to be by force.

    2. Of course, as you point out with your CND link, that WOULD actually be democratic, as it would represent the majority will of the British - not just Scottish - people. But that would bypass politicians and represent public opinion directly, and if there's one thing you just won't tolerate it's the bypassing of your precious Party.

    And that option is perfectly achievable. All it takes is an independent Scotland with the will to do it. If an independent Scottish Government refuses to lease the base, there is nowhere else in the UK for it to go, and no time or money to build anywhere.

    (Whether that WOULD happen is a matter for debate, and would of course depend which government was elected after independence. But it certainly CAN happen.)

    We're back to the question - do you want rid of Trident or not? If you do, Scottish independence is the ONLY viable route to that aim, outside of your curious little fantasy world where you can change Labour policy.

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    1. Brilliant. 5 years ago no electable UK party stood for equal marriage. So this must, by your logic, have been achieved in England and Wales by force. Is that how you see it?

      Parties change when people campaign.

      And I've already answered whether I want "rid" of Trident. I want disarmament, not removal. Removal achieves nothing. And disarmament is now, and would remain after next September whatever the result, a UK decision.

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    2. No it wouldn't. No leased Faslane, no Trident. You can't just stick nuclear missiles in a cupboard for a decade and bring them back out when you've built a new storage facility in Wales. If they get stood down, they're stood down for good.

      I said all that, of course, but you have no argument against it so you pretend you didn't hear it. Sheer intellectual cowardice - just like the way you've dodged addressing what Labour's clear policy, as set out by all its senior defence spokesmen, is.

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    3. May I point out again that equal marriage (welcome and long overdue in my opinion) is no more than a cheap concession in political terms. It has no impact on the world stage and a mere Westminster bargaining chip to keep the minions happy whilst they continue fleecing us.

      Please don't use it as an example of how the people can fight against Trident. It's pathetic and makes you look a fool.

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    4. Thanks for your comment Robert. I disagree entirely. Equal marriage is the result of decades of campaigning, not a piece of political bargaining. It is the result of people power. Belittle that achievement if you like, but do it elsewhere. And keep your personal attacks to yourself too.

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    5. Duncan,
      I concede the last sentence was over the top and I apologise for that remark.

      I still stand by the original point. Equal marriage is a token gesture when compared to Trident. It's just one of many "contingency policies" that London will have in the cupboard to appease folk now and again. I don't doubt for a minute the effort that went into achieving it.

      Believe you me, it suits them for you and I to be fighting for a plain biscuit from the policy tin. The chocolate ones are reserved for them and we can't have them.

      Trident is not a trivial policy and no amount of campaigning has ever or will ever budge Westminster.

      We have a real chance to rid Scotland of it for good whilst putting Westminster into an extremely difficult position indeed. A position that may just tip the renewal argument over a cliff edge for rUK.

      If your serious about this then you'll vote yes next year.

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  14. 3. The idea that we would actually be damaging the UK's defence is ridiculous in any event. As you yourself point out, who threatens us that Trident is a defence against? Nobody.

    4. This isn't anything like gay marriage. Gay marriage is not time-sensitive. It could have been made law at any time, although it must sting you enormously that it took every party BUT Labour to actually do it. Labour was in power for 13 years in the UK and eight years in Scotland and sat uselessly on its hands for fear of offending religious sensibilities in the West of Scotland. The SNP in Holyrood and the Tories and Lib Dems in Westminster have done what your quivering, focus-group-obsessed excuse for a principled political party lacked the guts to do.

    But gay marriage won't cost £100bn. There's no point at which the money is spent and it's too late to stop. That point is coming with Trident, and it's coming right fast. Your hilarious belief that you can single-handedly turn round Labour policy is about to run slap bang out of time. £3bn has already been committed just to the preliminary study.

    5. I'm not going to dignify your ridiculous assertion that Scots have an influence on UK defence policy with a response. No other UK voter does (since, as we've already established, all three main parties are committed to nukes regardless of public opinion), so what's so special about us?

    You didn't even need me here, Dunc. You shot your OWN argument to pieces. You say we need to get rid of Trident "democratically", yet also point out that disarmament is the desire of the people, so how can achieving it ever be "undemocratic"? You say we'd damage the UK's defence, yet point out correctly that Trident doesn't defend us against anyone.

    And of course, in all this you completely ignore another point. Even if Trident stayed for a few years while the rUK built another base, *we'd no longer be paying for it*, and would free up hundreds of millions of pounds every year to pay for the universal services your party says we can't afford.

    You could still campaign for Labour to change policy in the rUK, because it doesn't matter where the missiles are based.

    But a social-democratic Scotland using that money to care for its old and sick instead of for weapons, well, that might embarrass rUK Labour a bit too much, mightn't it?

    Your entire argument - if I might lend it a dignity it doesn't deserve for a moment with that description - is viewed not through the interests of disarmament. Like everything you say, it's all about what'll benefit Labour. The agonising, tortured position you've contrived is all about justifying your continued membership of a party that's betrayed everything you ever believed in.

    Same old story, then.

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    1. Thanks for your further comment. I remain unpersuaded by your remarks.

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    2. Yeah, if I was you I wouldn't be able to come up with a counter-argument either.

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  15. Tsk.

    "It could not possibly be any MORE clear" in post 1.

    Your position is such a tangled mess you even confused me for a minute.

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  16. Heheh - filleted and skewered, well done stu.

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    1. Oh good, the cheering section is here too.

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  17. You need to understand that neither Labour or the Tories will ever get rid of Trident. In fact Murphy would waste even more money we dont have on defence than the Tories. There is no evidence you can quote that indicates otherwise.

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  18. Looks like time's even shorter than you think, Duncan:

    "A CROSS-PARTY group of MPs is to launch a campaign to force the UK government to sign the contract for the replacement Trident submarines before the next election.

    The campaign group, which is currently led by Tory backbenchers, fears that if the contract date is postponed until 2016 then Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent could become the casualty of future coalition negotiations after the 2015 general election.

    The leader of the campaign, Tory New Forest MP Dr Julian Lewis, said that there is now no reason to delay a decision on replacing Trident.

    Insisting that the campaign has cross-party support, he pointed out that Labour shadow defence minister Kevan Jones had recently challenged Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to bring forward the decision to build the new generation submarines.

    He said: “The only reason why the decision was delayed was so the Lib Dems could have their review. Now we have had it, there is no reason to delay further.""

    http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/trident-mps-want-replacement-deal-signed-soon-1-3008589

    Still, let's not lose sight of the important thing: INDEPENDENCE BAD.

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  19. "Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour)

    In January, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury told The Guardian newspaper that the coalition review of Trident would compile a “compelling” list of alternatives. It was suggested in the Financial Times recently that the review will come down on the side of a submarine-based ballistic missile system. In the light of that, will the Secretary of State tell the House when the review will be published, and if it comes down on the side of a submarine-based system, will the Government consider bringing forward the main gate decision into this Parliament?"

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2013-06-17a.616.3

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  20. So, in the light of all the above, Dunc, a simple question that you can answer in a single word: is this still a credible position?

    "No manifesto is yet written for the next UK elections. I'll be campaigning for a UK Labour commitment to disarm."

    Because according to Kevan Jones, your own party's shadow Armed Forces Minister, manifestos might not even matter. He wants the deed done and the contracts signed before the next election even happens.

    And we know from the aircraft carriers what happens once the contracts are signed.

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    1. Please don't copy and paste and post multiple comments to spam me. You made the point, and I've answered it. My position is clear, and unaffected by current Labour policy. It is simply this: voting Yes doesn't disarm a single warhead or destroy a single missile. The only way we'll achieve that is by engaging with UK parties and persuading a change of policy. That's what I'll continue to do.

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    2. Astonishing. Labour want to sign and seal a £100bn contract for a nuclear weapons system that'll last until 2060, they want to do it BEFORE the next election, and you're still clinging to the insane delusion that you can turn their policy round.

      Voting Yes presents a clear and practical possibility of every nuclear missile in the UK being disarmed - not just moved - within two years. It is universally agreed, across the entire political and military spectrum, that there is nowhere else Trident can go and remain operational if Scotland tells the rUK to get it out of Faslane. Anyone with an ounce of genuine interest in disarmament would be urging a Yes vote and then campaigning to make sure that policy was carried out.

      I suspect the reason you've dodged every point I've made is that even YOU'RE not daft enough to swallow the line you're putting out, Dunc. But who knows? Maybe you really are that far gone. I shall leave you to it.

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    3. I haven't dodged every point you've made, Stuart. You think Yes means disarmament, I don't. I've set out why, you've done your usual thing of ignoring the bits you don't have a response to and attacking me personally. I'm glad you;re leaving it there. You're bringing nothing but heat here, no light.

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    4. Yeah, of course you did, Dunc. Everyone saw you.

      Where was it Trident would go if a Scottish Government told the rUK to get it out of our waters within 12 months again?

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  21. You are quite simply incorrect in your assertion that a Yes vote doesn't mean disarmament of rUK WMD system, for the simple reason (as others above have pointed out) that without an alternative base and support facilities, the system becomes functionally inoperable in a relatively short period.

    Whilst many "what if" arguments can be had about the exact nature of negotiations following a Yes vote in '14 might take, it is vanishingly unlikely that any post indy Scottish administration would accept such weapons staying on Scottish territory for any extended period.

    The Americans and our NATO allies are not (in spite of your belief to the contrary) in the least concerned about rUK being "forced" to abandon WMD's; the US in particular would be much happier to see the UK devote the resources to a more balanced and capable conventional force structure. They are hardly likely to go out on a limb and pick a fight with Scotland when both in terms of defence procurement and geo-politically/strategically they'd prefer to see a non-nuclear Scotland in NATO, and rUK agreeing to give up WMD's and spend the money on e.g. aircraft carriers with planes, more troops and better materiel so rUK can support them in their next war.

    Your turd of an idea, however lovingly polished, remains a turd Duncan. Whilst I would never claim that a Phd in IR with a specialisation in defence procurement means I am ipso facto always right, trust me on this issue you are just plain wrong. The difference between my outlook and yours, is that if I thought you were right I'd say so, irrespective of my views on WMD's and the indyref... I have to say that on the evidence above and of your twitter exchanges, I don't think you'd do the same since you've taken up the equivalent of a faith based position.

    Andy Ellis

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    1. Trying to paint yourself as reasonable might wash with some people, Andy, but since I'm familiar with you from Twitter, I know that the sentiment you express in your final paragraph is utter hogwash. You are the one with a religious fervour for independence, and everyone who follows you knows it.

      I don;t mind honest disagreement, but don;t paint yourself as something you're not. You are an extreme partisan on this issue. We both know it.

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    2. The difference Duncan is that I can be a partisan for independence and still look at issues like these, weigh up the evidence and make a decision based on the evidence. Your line on this issue is without merit, however impressive the ideological gymnastics which underpin it. I DO know my stuff on this issue, and if your argument that rUK having to remove WMD's wouldn't de facto amount to them being useless, I'd agree with you.

      I'll leave it to others to judge which of us in more inclined to slavishly follow a party or campaign line, however ridiculous; your penchant for playing the man rather than the ball is well known.

      Andy Ellis

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  22. Usually it's the Yes supporters that get laughed at for being optimistic. I admire your conviction, but there's clearly a lot of work to get one party that might win the next election to commit to not renewing Trident. And there's another party that could win the next election that will commit to renewing. A Yes vote forces negotiation. The UK can barely afford Trident (a gutless motivation to finally get rid of our WMD) but an rUK certainly could not justify the staggering cost to both move and renew Trident.

    Sorry Duncan, but this one is clear. A Yes vote is the only choice if you want to get rid of our nuclear weapons ASAP.

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    1. And if your sole ambition is a nuclear free Scotland, fine. Mine is disarmament, and a Yes vote makes that less, not more, likely.

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    2. My ambition is a nuclear free world. I strongly believe, as do ScottishCND, that a Yes vote will force the hand of rUK to disarm: http://bit.ly/1vL86we.

      "It is unlikely that Trident will be moved to England or
      Wales, if Scotland was independent. Nick Harvey said
      “relocation would be just about the least favoured
      option that it would be possible to conjecture”. Rear
      Admiral Martin Alabaster, former Faslane commander,
      said that building new facilities in England or Wales
      would be so difficult that this was almost inconceivable"

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    3. Well I've set out clearly why I disagree. Scottish CND is now campaigning to "rid Scotland of nukes". I think they have betrayed their principles by backing a Yes empty promise.

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