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     Scottish CND      Magazine

SCOTLAND - THE KEY TO A NUCLEAR FREE BRITAIN

arrival of vanguard

A recent statement by George Robertson has shown that opposition to Trident in Scotland is the key to making Britain free from nuclear weapons. Trident is now Britainís only nuclear weapon system. In an interview with Ian Bruce of the Herald in December, Mr Robertson said for the first time that Trident could not be moved to England.

When asked what would happen if Scotland was independent he said that Trident would be "one of the trickiest and most difficult issues to resolve .. Faslane would be a very, very big headache. There's a huge investment there for Britain's national deterrent. .. The rest of the UK would be unlikely to say let's just move Faslane to the Tyne or the Wear or the Mersey, or indeed the Thames and pay all the costs associated with that.Ē

The facilities at Faslane and Coulport cost £2 billion and took 10 years to build. The shiplift still does not have full nuclear safety clearance, and probably never will. If the government was to look for an alternative site the obvious choice would be near the submarine base at Devonport in Plymouth. But even here the MoD are having problems with the new refit complex. Plans to build a new torpedo handling jetty near Devonport are also running into serious local opposition. Rebuilding Faslane and Coulport in England or Wales would face major nuclear safety restrictions. These would make any proposal so expensive and controversial that moving Faslane is a non-starter.

Instead Roberston proposed that an independent Scotland might lease out the Faslane nuclear base along the lines of the Russian use of Sevastopol in the Ukraine. His solution would be to try to bribe the Scots to accept these immoral and illegal weapons of mass destruction.

All British atom bombs are in Scotland. We now know that if Trident is removed from the Clyde it would have to be scrapped. This highlights how important the anti-nuclear movement here is. The way is now open to make real progress towards global nuclear disarmament - by making it clear that Trident on the Clyde is unacceptable.

Robertsonís comments were in the context of an independent Scotland and clearly have significance in this area. But the implications go beyond this. If there is any way that Trident can be removed from Scotland, whether by independence or any other route, then Britain will be free from nuclear weapons.

John Ainslie

Scottish CND      Magazine