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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Scottish CND and Holyrood


Isobel Lindsay

Many Scottish CND supporters may have assumed that because the new Scottish Parliament does not have responsibility for Defence or Foreign Affairs, it will have little relevance to peace and disarmament issues. Whether it should have these powers takes us into the devolution / independence debate, but even if those supporting independence were successful, there would still be several years operating within the devolved constitutional arrangements. There are opportunities within the Holyrood powers to take some positive action and we should be identifying these and seeking support from candidates and parties. The following are examples of these. Other suggestions would be welcome.

1. The Parliament can choose to act as a persuader. It can present the case against the Trident base or for intermediate steps like taking the submarines off patrol.

2. There are industrial development powers which can be used to prepare defence employment diversification plans for the area. This can be extended to the wider issues of arms exports, but it is probably better to focus on Faslane / Coulport.

3. Environmental powers are divided and most related to nuclear issues are reserved to Westminster. But there are environmental powers which can be used and Holyrood can commit itself to rigorous testing for environmentally damaging emissions.

4. Holyrood has responsibilities in relation to Civil Emergencies and could require a review of the adequacy of services to cope with a nuclear accident.

5. Education responsibilities offer a legitimate opportunity to develop civic education, including international issues. At university level, support could be given to a Conflict Studies Institute.

None of these examples involve large amounts of money. They are responsible and practical proposals.

Candidates

CND supporters should do what they can to encourage the selection of candidates who are sympathetic in any of the parties in which they have contacts. Once candidates are selected they are “public property” and we can seek their support for a package of proposals and publicise responses.

There will be further discussion on this at Scottish CND conference in Stirling on 10th October.

Scottish CND      Magazine