The arrival of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which entered into force in January this year, gives huge additional support and encouragement to the Scottish aspiration to rid the land of the UK’s barbaric weapons of mass destruction.
The Treaty’s Articles 1 and 4 are unequivocal:
Article 1. g) Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
Article 4. para 4. A State Party that has any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or in any place under its jurisdiction or control that are owned, possessed or controlled by another State shall ensure the prompt removal of such weapons, as soon as possible but not later than a deadline to be determined by the first meeting of States Parties . . .
The difference that the TPNW makes is that it is no longer simply a matter of an independent Scotland facing down overt, covert and cynical pressure from the UK and the US to maintain a Guantanamo Bay-type status quo. We will now have the solid backing of international law and the moral and practical support of the majority world.
It therefore makes sense for our first step to be accession to the TPNW. The Treaty should be signed immediately on independence and ratification can follow swiftly thereafter. One thing we should start on right now is to make sure that a Scottish Parliament delegation is part of the civil society presence at the First Meeting of States Parties in March next year.
By ridding Scotland and potentially the UK of nuclear weapons we will be making an enormous contribution to global nuclear disarmament and will be able to provide an early demonstration of the power of the TPNW. This is a massive opportunity – do we have the smeddum?