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Nuclear Free Scotland February 2005

SCOTTISH CND & THE GENERAL ELECTION

Trident

In May 2004 Geoff Hoon said the next Parliament will make a decision on whether to replace Trident. This means that MPs who are selected at the General Election will decide whether or not this country will continue to have nuclear weapons. This is a unique opportunity since a decision not to replace Trident would open up a long-term route to nuclear disarmament. It would also undermine the case for having Trident and could lead to these weapons being quickly scrapped. Government estimates show that it would cost £14 billion to replace Trident with a similar system and a further £18 billion to operate these submarines throughout their life.1 The actual costs are probably double this. We contend that the government should not be spending £32 billion on new weapons of mass destruction but instead should use this money to improve the lives of ordinary people both in the UK and abroad.
Candidates of all parties should be asked to support three demands:
(a) The next parliament should carry out a thorough and open public review of the need for and the cost of UK nuclear weapons;
(b) No new nuclear weapon system should be ordered to replace Trident;
(c) Trident should be scrapped immediately.

Iraq

In defiance of public opinion the Government committed the British armed forces to support a US invasion of Iraq on the false premise of a threat from Weapons of Mass Destruction. This has resulted in thousands of soldiers and many more civilians being killed and injured.
Candidates of all parties should be urged to support a clear timetable within a 6 weeks limit for the disengagement and withdrawal of British armed forces from Iraq.
Missile Defence
Ministry of Defence is upgrading the radar at Fylingdales so that it can support US interceptor missiles. These plans are not just defensive; they are part of the Bush administration's strategies of pre-emptive strike and "Full-spectrum dominance"2 . Missile defence would provide a screen behind which the US could launch a first strike against one of its enemies without fear of retaliation. Recently there have been suggestions that the interceptor missiles themselves could be based in Britain.
Please urge candidates to oppose the use of British bases as an integral part of the US Missile Defence system.
Special Relationship
The most likely way in which British nuclear weapons might be used is supporting a US attack. The invasion and occupation of Iraq and the Missile Defence programme are examples of the price this country pays for the Special Relationship. The Mutual Defence Agreement3 , under which the US provides nuclear weapons information and material to Britain, is a fundamental part of this relationship.
Encourage candidates to challenge the military aspects of the Special Relationship and to oppose British involvement in future wars of aggression initiated by the US. Please urge candidates to call for the termination of the Mutual Defence Agreement.

Help

Scottish CND needs your help to extend our network of people who are willing to help our political lobbying campaign, so that we can cover as many constituencies as possible. We are keen to encourage local hustings meetings to be organised and letters to be written to candidates. If you are able to help please contact Mike Martin, Secretary, Scottish CND, 15 Barrland St, Glasgow, G41 1QH, Tel 0141 423 1222, scnd@banthebomb.org

1 The official cost of procuring Trident, adjusted for inflation, was £14 billion. Geoff Hoon said that the ongoing costs of Trident are expected to be between 2 and 3 % of the defence budget. 2.5 % is equivalent to £600 million per year.
2 Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.
3 The 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement is a bilateral treaty between the US and the UK on nuclear weapons cooperation. It covers all aspects of nuclear weapons design, development and maintenance.

 


 

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