cnd logo

     Scottish CND      Magazine

SNP & CND

Brian Quail

Brian

While the SNP remains the only major political Party advocating CND policy it cannot be said that support and co-operation from Party activists are at satisfactory levels. Although communications and information about events have been channelled into SNP headquarters and Party branches, it seems that within the SNP as within society at large, although there is no support for Trident, there is still an alarming lack of appreciation of the nuclear realities in Scotland and little sense of urgency concerning Trident.

It is regrettable but undeniable that in the major political event of the year - the General Election - the nuclear issue played no significant part at all. This in spite of the fact that at the Dundee special conference the SNP had made a policy decision to prioritise the question of Trident in the election, and to organise an event on the theme of "hands off Scotland".

Negative observations however are not constructive, and to look at the situation in positive light, there are a number of reasons for optimism. The new parliament when it comes - and I think we can safely say when rather than if - cannot but provide a platform for the expression of the democratic opinions of the Scottish people, whatever the formal limits on the parliament's capacity for legislation.

While it will have no say over defence, it will have over the environment, and Trident is undeniably a matter of considerable environmental concern. The parliament will present an opportunity to raise the issue within the broader ecological context, and hopefully to increase knowledge and support among the various Green groups in the country.

The new parliament will have control over legal matters and it seems to me that the whole question of the international court of justice verdict and the illegality of Trident could be approached by a Scottish parliament to considerable effect. How can a parliament which controls legal affairs simply ignore the verdict of the highest court in the world? And what of the much vaunted autonomy of the Scottish legal system? There must surely be considerable mileage in this area.

The continued efforts to amass peace pledges to be presented to the new Scottish parliament is an obvious focus for future campaigning in the SNP connection. I would ask all SNP supporters and activists to redouble their efforts to collect a huge number of signatures. Our democratic credibility, and the credibility of the cause we stand for, depends on the extent to which we can demonstrate that we do have substantial popular support. In the more immediate future, the fate of the peace camp must be a matter of concern to SNP supporters particularly as it is a focus for the anti nuclear policies the SNP champions. We must strengthen the links between Party activists and the camp by writing to Argyll and Bute Council to express our opposition to the eviction, by disseminating information among other SNP members and by visiting the camp to support and encourage the campers. I feel there must be more people in the SNP willing to get involved in non violent direct action against Trident and would like all such to contact me. As always however, the main task is to continue educational work within the SNP and in the country at large. It is up to us to show the public that there is a way out of the nuclear impasse and that is by supporting the aim of an independent nuclear free Scotland. As Trident cannot be stationed anywhere else in the UK, this ipso facto means a nuclear free Britain.

cnd logo

     Scottish CND      Magazine