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ScrapTrident


Brian Quail Herald Letter 2

 David McMillan is wrong to claim that if Trident is expelled from Scotland it will simply be relocated to England. Trident is not like a yacht; it cannot simply sail off. It requires a massive support system, as well as its base at Faslane. It needs storage facilities at Coulport (the biggest nuclear arsenal in Europe), where 200 atom bombs are buried deep in the mountains.

England does not have such mountains near Portsmouth or Plymouth. So while Trident can berth in an English port, it cannot operate from anywhere other than where it is now.

A nuclear-free Scotland means a nuclear-free England. Britain will then join the majority of 195 world states that do not deploy nuclear WMD. It will also be in a position to pressure France into getting rid of its "force de frappe". Europe can then join those areas of the world which are nuclear-free by international agreement. The countries of Latin America, the South Pacific and south-east Asia have all forsworn nuclear weapons, and Africa is nuclear-free.

Mr McMillan is also wrong as regards the jobs dependent on Trident. Far from employing 11,000, the number dependent on Trident is only 1800. These could easily be redeployed on socially useful work. In fact, for the £75bn costs of Trident, we could give every worker £1m and tell him to retire. The jobs argument is morally bankrupt. There are some jobs no honourable person should do, no matter how attractive the financial rewards - for example, pushing drugs or planning to launch atom bombs.

David McMillan is wrong to claim that if Trident is expelled from Scotland it will simply be relocated to England. Trident is not like a yacht; it cannot simply sail off. It requires a massive support system, as well as its base at Faslane. It needs storage facilities at Coulport (the biggest nuclear arsenal in Europe), where 200 atom bombs are buried deep in the mountains.

England does not have such mountains near Portsmouth or Plymouth. So while Trident can berth in an English port, it cannot operate from anywhere other than where it is now.

A nuclear-free Scotland means a nuclear-free England. Britain will then join the majority of 195 world states that do not deploy nuclear WMD. It will also be in a position to pressure France into getting rid of its "force de frappe". Europe can then join those areas of the world which are nuclear-free by international agreement. The countries of Latin America, the South Pacific and south-east Asia have all forsworn nuclear weapons, and Africa is nuclear-free.

Mr McMillan is also wrong as regards the jobs dependent on Trident. Far from employing 11,000, the number dependent on Trident is only 1800. These could easily be redeployed on socially useful work. In fact, for the £75bn costs of Trident, we could give every worker £1m and tell him to retire. The jobs argument is morally bankrupt. There are some jobs no honourable person should do, no matter how attractive the financial rewards - for example, pushing drugs or planning to launch atom bombs.

Such are the enormous potential gains from an independent, nuclear-free Scotland. If only we can find the imagination, and the courage, to free ourselves from our deep-set British delusions of world-power status.

Brian Quail, Glasgow.

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