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Indyref2, Trident and Brexit

There are two key issues where Scotland’s voice is being ignored. One is EU membership and the other is Trident. Brexit has triggered the initial steps towards a second independence referendum. The prospect of Westminster renewing Trident, in the teeth of Scottish opposition, could push support for Yes2 well over the line.


A formal vote on renewing Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines is scheduled to take place in 2016. The decision had been expected in March, but was postponed. The Trident programme is in disarray. It is over-budget, late and badly managed.  Now Whitehall is rudderless, with a lame duck Prime Minister and a shell-shocked civil service stunned by the enormous implications of Brexit. So, while the Trident vote could possibly take place before the summer recess, it is more likely to take place in the latter part of the year.

When it does take place, we can be confident that only one Scottish MP, David Mundell, will back the plan to spend £200 billion on new nuclear weapons. The remaining 58 Scottish MPs will vote against Trident renewal.  In November 2015 the Scottish Labour Party decided to oppose Trident and, in the same month, the Scottish Parliament, by an overwhelming majority, said that it was against Trident renewal.  Most of the MSPs elected in May 2016 share this approach.  The Scottish people have shown their opposition to nuclear weapons by electing MPs and MSPs who want rid of Trident.

Internal documents show that the Ministry of Defence are planning to base new nuclear-armed submarines, called the Successor, at Faslane, only 25 miles from Glasgow, until 2067. So, in a few months time, we can expect that Westminster will turn a blind eye to the clearly expressed views of those living in Scotland, and decide that we should be made the unwilling hosts of these Weapons of Mass Destruction for the next half-century.

In 2014 opposition Trident was one reason that many people voted Yes. It could prove an even more decisive factor in indyref2. We are now faced with the horrifying prospect that the two people with their fingers on the button, controlling the weapons at Faslane, could be Donald Trump and Boris Johnston. A Westminster decision to renew Trident, just months after the EU referendum, will be too much for many people to stomach. 

Part of the positive case for Scottish independence is that we can reject nuclear weapons. When we eject Trident from the Clyde we will be sending it to the scrapheap, not to England.  The Ministry of Defence have admitted that there is no other naval base in Britain that could take these nuclear-armed submarines. It is even less likely that Trident could be introduced to a Greenfield site South of the border.

In 2014 the Scottish Government said that the constitution of an independent Scotland would include a specific ban on nuclear weapons. Prohibiting Trident would send a clear message around the world that there is no place for these horrific weapons. In recent months many non-nuclear nations have joined the call for a ban on nuclear arms. 127 countries have now signed a pledge calling for action to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

It is the approach of Boris Johnston and Nigel Farage that is inward-looking. An independent Scotland can be more outward-looking and more inclusive. By rejecting nuclear weapons, we can set an example to the rest of the world.

John Ainslie



#1 Jozef Oud 2016-07-11 09:35
Stop Trident! Full STOP!!! It's insane!!!

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