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.