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SNP promises on disarmament

Letter published in the Herald Saturday 7th December::
Doug Maughan is wrong to suggest that the SNP are trying to shirk their responsibilities. The independence white paper sets out a clear path to disarmament, with Trident removed from Scotland by 2020 and a constitution which includes an explicit ban on nuclear weapons.  This would fulfill our responsibility to tackle the global problem of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Mr Maughan is wrong if he thinks the Non Proliferation Treaty permits the United Kingdom to retain the bomb in perpetuity. The majority of nations in the world, who don’t have nuclear weapons, only endorsed the treaty because the five Nuclear Weapon States promised they would make concrete efforts to achieve disarmament.


Contrary to what Mr Maughan suggests, the use of Trident, in any conceivable scenario, would be illegal. A single Trident nuclear warhead would cause death and destruction over a wide area and kill many thousands of civilians. Any use of Trident would be a clear breach of international humanitarian law.


Mr Maughan points out that many people have been killed in conventional conflict around the world. However, he fails to realise that a nuclear-free independent Scotland would be better placed to make a meaningful contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations. We would be able to model our armed forces for conflict resolution, rather than for threatening mass destruction. 


John Ainslie, Coordinator, Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament


Background: There has been an exchange of views on Trident in the letters page of the Herald. The above contribution was printed in the Herald on 7 December along with a second letter which makes similar points. Below is a letter from Brian Quail which was printed on 4 December:


Doug Maughan claims in today’s Herald that “all the nations of the UK have very similar interests in defence”. I don’t know what distant planet he writes from, but from here on Earth the difference could not be greater.


All the Unionist parties consider it essential for “defence” that the UK continue to deploy criminal and illegal nuclear WMDs. All groups supporting independence want a written constitution, with a cause prohibiting nuclear weapons from our land and waters. There cannot conceivably be a greater difference than this.


We have seen how, after the disaster in the Clutha Bar, ordinary folk rallied round to help their fellow human beings. Most people are unable to grasp what would happen to a city we hit with Trident. How could they? It is way beyond their capacity to imagine, or mine to describe. But their innate human decency is appalled by such carnage, a revulsion that is reflected in the condemnation of Trident by the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Bishops, as well as the leaders of other faith groups.


All the Unionist parties are happy with our present willingness to slaughter untold thousands with Trident. I find this frankly incomprehensible and inexcusable. This is a major war crime, which we arehere and now prepared to commit. Only independence will free us, and our English friends, from this nuclear lunacy.


Yours sincerely,



Brian Quail

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