For years the UK has been arguing that the gradual decrease in the numbers of nuclear bombs it has (both deployed and stockpiled) is a sure sign of its good intention to fulfil its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That has always been a specious argument. To fulfil Article VI of the NPT nuclear armed states must take genuine steps towards disarmament. Reducing the number of nuclear bombs to a point where you are still able to inflict devastation at over a thousand times that unleashed on Hiroshima 75 years ago, and at the same time modernising your system to make it a more effective mass killer, is not a genuine step, to put it rather mildly. It is planning for genocide-lite. At the same time, in a further breach of the NPT, the UK has been actively collaborating with another nuclear-armed state, the US, at scientific and technical level. And while the modernisation is going on, the UK is sneering at the nuclear ban treaty (TPNW) and says that the NPT is “the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and provides the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.” Thus far we are talking about a sleazy attempt to pull the wool, worthy of tobacco companies punting the health-giving qualities of the weed.
Now the mask has dropped. If the predictions are true, this week the UK will announce its intention to increase the number of nuclear bombs it possesses. It is not only foolish – it is extremely dangerous. It demonstrates again that we cannot rely on fluctuating arms control to save us from nuclear disaster – only compete elimination will do – hence the TPNW.
We have a Scottish election in just a few weeks time. It is vital that the nuclear menace and the Nuclear Ban Treaty are high on the agenda. That’s the task.