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Myth of Trident deal

The Scotsman repeats the dubious claim that an independent Scotland would do a deal and allow Trident to stay, in order to join NATO. It quotes Malcolm Chalmers, from the Royal United Services Institute. Chalmers has been making this argument since the publication of a book on the subject in 2001. However he has always underestimated the extent to which opposition to nuclear weapons is a core issue for the Scottish National Party. As John Swinney said recently - "One of the purposes of independence is to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish land and Scottish waters".

 The idea of an independent Scotland doing a deal to keep Trident on the Clyde was last raised in late March. This led to very clear statements from both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond saying that nuclear weapons were not a bargaining chip. 

David Maddox, the Scotsman's Westminster correspondence seems to have forgotten the motion which was passed by SNP conference in 2012. This said: "An SNP Government will maintain NATO membership subject to an agreement that Scotland will not host nuclear weapons and NATO continues to respect the right of members to only take part in UN sanctioned operations. In the absence of such an agreement, Scotland will work with NATO as a member of the Partnership for Peace programme". So the SNP position is that Scotland will not become a full member of NATO, if the alliance makes this conditional on keeping Trident.

The Ministry of Defence want to retain Faslane and Coulport as a Sovereign Base Area for the full life of the Trident replacement system, ie for the next half century. This would be politically unacceptable in a newly independent Scotland. The constitutional convention which drafts the nation's constitution is very likely to adopt the Scottish government's proposal that the constitution should prohibit the deployment of nuclear weapons. This rules out the prospect of a grubby deal to keep these Weapons of Mass Destruction 25 miles from our largest city.

For more information read Scottish CND's report No Place for Trident: Scottish independence and nuclear disarmament.


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