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Skewed question distorted poll result on Trident

The "fascinating dichotomy" on the issue of Trident is really very simple. 

People in Scotland were asked a different question from those in the rest of the UK. In Scotland the question was "If Scotland becomes independent, Britain's nuclear submarines should continue to be based here".

In England and Wales the question was "If Scotland became an independent country, separate from the rest of the UK, should Britain's nuclear weapons remain in Scotland or should they be moved to somewhere else in Britain?"

The reference to "nuclear weapon submarines" rather than "nuclear weapons" in the Scottish question is likely to result in a higher degree of acceptance. The more detailed wording in the England/Wales question is more likely to result in a greater call for the weapons to be moved. Hence the different results.

It is not just the SNP that are "pushing Trident as a pro- independence campaign issue" as George Quail claims. We may live in a post-Christian age, but many still respect the moral authority of the churches, and they are unanimous in their opposition. They proclaim that the principles of natural justice operate in war, as in peace. We may not rape, torture, execute prisoners of war, or deliberately target non-combatants - even if doing so is perceived to bring victory nearer (the "Hiroshima Fallacy").

The obligation to renounce the mass killing of civilians as a possible strategy in war is not an optional extra. It is obligatory for all, Christians and non-Christians alike. But the Unionist parties are committed to the present deployment of Trident, and to its replacement in 2025, in violation of every legal and moral restraint.

In this referendum, voting No means we are saying yes to Trident, an appalling position for anyone to take.

Brian M Quail

Letter printed in the Herald 19 June 2014

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