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ScrapTrident


MOD plan to detach Faslane from an independent Scotland

The Guadian have reported that Ministry of Defence officials are examining the possibility of making Faslane and Coulport part of the Remainder of the UK, in the event of Scottish independence.
 
Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, said:
 
"The MOD are waking up to the prospect that it would be near impossible to move Trident if Scotland became independent. But their proposed solution, detaching Faslane from the rest of Scotland, would be deeply unpopular. Rather than trying to force Scots to harbour these Weapons of Mass Destruction, the UK government should be looking at how to eliminate them.  
 
"An independent Scotland which ejected Trident would be a beacon of hope for the world.  A London government which tried to bully Edinburgh into hosting its nuclear weapons would be condemned by many nations around the globe."
 
In March this year Scottish CND published an updated version of  Trident:Nowhere to Go. This report explains how none of the options for relocating Trident are viable and so Scottish independence is likely to lead to British nuclear disarmament.
 
Downing Street have denied that the Government are looking at turning Faslane into part of RUK. But this does not mean that the Guardian's story is false.  In evidence to the House of Lords economic affairs committee Lord West said that if he was in post he would ignore any ministerial advice which prevented him from exploring the implications of Scottish independence:
 
"There are huge implications for the United Kingdom and I know jolly well that were I the First Sea Lord today, I would turn a Nelsonic blind eye to such instructions from the secretary of state for Defence and I would set up a 'black team' to work out all of the options and possibilities, for example for our nuclear deterrent". (Huffington Post)
 
There is a precedent for this. In early 1977 Jim Callaghan's government banned officials from instigating studies into how to replace Polaris. This ban was ignored by James Clarke, head of the Polaris Programme Assessment Group. Clarke wrote an internal paper, which advocated acquiring Trident, although he was fully aware that this was contrary to ministerial guidance. His report was only circulated to a few key people within the Navy. It was only later in the year that the Prime Minister gave the go ahead for a more comprehensive official study.
 
In a note accompanying his report, Clarke said:
 
"a political veto on the subject was imposed in the well-practiced tradition of Canute, and officially it still applies. .... This paper is circulated only to those with whom I have discussed the subject one way or another over the last year or so. At least it limits the readership of my 'folly'!"
 
(Longer Term Basis of UK Deterrent, James Clarke, 27 May 1977, The National Archives, DEFE 19-271 e30, quoted in Unacceptable Damage, Damage Criteria in British Nuclear Planning, John Ainslie, February 2013))
 
Nuclear weapons' decisions are made within a very closed and secret world. The extent to which ministers are truly part of this should not be exaggerated.
 
 
 
 
 

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