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Speech in Scottish Parliament Bill Kidd

14 June 2007

Bill Kidd (Glasgow) (SNP): It is a pleasure and an honour to deliver my first speech in Parliament on what I believe will be an historic day—a day on which we hammer the first nail in the coffin of the British Government's weapons of mass destruction programme.

I congratulate the Greens on securing this debate, to which we in the SNP are delighted to contribute, as the motion keeps faith with the many thousands of Scots who voted for all the parties in this chamber. The true consensus among members of this Parliament reflects the broad consensus throughout Scotland against the maintenance of nuclear weapons in our nation. It forms a solid bond through civic Scotland, the STUC, Scottish CND, the churches, voluntary organisations and the 76 per cent of the Scottish people who would rather that the £25 billion cost—at least—of upgrading Trident was spent instead on public services such as schools, keeping hospitals local, and police and fire services.

Bill Butler: Will the member give way?

Bill Kidd: I am sorry, but I cannot; this is my first speech.

During the long years of the cold war, we were constantly told that it was only the threat of the Soviet Union that necessitated the endless waste of billions of pounds of public money, but now we see the truth—instead of the promised peace dividend following the fall of the Berlin wall, we witness the gimlet-eyed global imperialist sabre rattlers in Washington and Westminster, who will never allow their hands to be prised from their nuclear phallic symbols until forced to do so by a committed public voice. Is that unfair?

Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) (Con): Yes.

Bill Kidd: I do not care, because article VI of the non-proliferation treaty states:

"Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

The replacement of Trident would commit the UK to owning nuclear weapons until at least 2050, which, since the NPT came into force in 1970, would mean 80 years of complete failure to disarm—in other words, barefaced duplicity.

Meanwhile, last week's report from the Federation of Small Businesses showed a Scotland where swathes of rural and urban poverty are still commonplace, early death stalks housing schemes, small businesses go to the wall and 600,000 carers struggle to keep body and soul together as they are denied the resources that are wasted on bombs that must never be used. As I have spent all my life living just 30 miles from the spectre of first Polaris and now Trident, I am qualified to speak out against the spurious arguments of those who want to continue the despoliation of our land, our waters and our sense of ourselves as human beings by spending our hard-earned wealth on big-boy's toys over which we have no control.

Allow me to exercise a word that we have all got used to over the past few weeks—consensus. There is a genuine feeling of camaraderie on Trident in this land. By standing together against Trident, we will be embarking on an historic journey towards common humanity and a more prosperous and peaceful future for all.

I commend the motion to Parliament and the people of Scotland