Trident Must Be Destroyed, Not Given to Westminster 275

There appears to be a presumption that upon Scottish Independence, the Trident submarine fleet and its incredibly destructive WMD’s must simply be handed over to Westminster by Holyrood. That is wrong in international law; if the weapons remain on the territory of Scotland, a sovereign state, it will be for the Scottish Government to dispose of them as it chooses.

The principle is well-established and there is a directly relevant and recent precedent in the nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the highly mobile tactical nuclear weapons were swiftly taken back to Russia but the Trident comparators, the strategic nuclear weapons with their silos and the Tupolev strategic bomber fleet and its weapons, were destroyed, many inside Ukraine itself, following the Budapest Agreement of 1994 between the US, UK, Russia and Ukraine and separate bilateral agreements between Ukraine and France, and Ukraine and China.

This photo is of a Ukrainian technician dismantling a SS-19 missile at a US government funded facility at Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. [Russia of course breached the Budapest Agreement when it invaded Crimea, but that does not impact on the legal precedent of Ukraine’s right to dispose of the missiles on its territory].

There is no doubt that in international law, independent Scotland will be under no obligation to hand the Trident system over to Westminster. By taking another route, and seeking the dismantling of the Trident system under international auspices while ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, START and its protocols and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Scotland will earn great kudos at the United Nations. Making this intent plain at the time of the Declaration of Independence will help secure for Scotland the developing country votes which Scotland will need at the UN General Assembly, recognition by which is the defining test for a country’s Independence.

Scotland has a moral obligation to the world to destroy nuclear weapons on its territory. It is also the case that it should be a simple matter to mobilise international aid funding for the cost of decommissioning and dismantling the Trident nuclear fleet and its missiles – a process in which China, Russia, the USA, France and Westminster should be invited to participate. In fact, the decommissioning work would take years and would bring an economic boost to Scotland, providing far more work than the simple maintenance and operation of the nuclear fleet ever has.

The United Kingdom is a rogue state. It invaded Iraq in a blatantly illegal war of aggression, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands, displacing millions and setting the economic development of the country back 50 years. It significantly contributed to the similar destruction of Libya. It has brazenly defied the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice in refusing to decolonise the Chagos Islands. It is passing legislation to grant its soldiers immunity from war crimes charges and its secret service officers and agents immunity for murder and torture. To hand Trident missiles, and the capacity to unleash the destruction of the human race, over to the control of this erratic, declining imperial construct would be grossly irresponsible.

An Independent Scotland must not allow WMD to be operational from its territory for one single minute after Independence. We cannot prevent the UK from moving the Trident system out of Scotland before Independence is finalised – in which case we will at least achieve the system being non-operational for about ten years while a new base is constructed, which will itself be a worthwhile achievement.

We in the SNP have to stop pretending to be anti-Trident while expecting to be complicit in a transition plan to let Westminster keep operating Trident. That is an immoral stance and a grossly hypocritical stance.

You don’t negotiate over WMD. You destroy them.


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275 thoughts on “Trident Must Be Destroyed, Not Given to Westminster

1 2 3

    Wow. I never thought this through, but yes, by analogy with Ukraine’s weapons those in Scotland will belong to Scotland. Sauce for the goose….

    • Tom Welsh

      Yes, because international law always trumps power and national advantage.

      And independent Scotland would declare that the nuclear weapons were to be destroyed – and then prevent the UK armed forces (probably supported by the USA) from simply taking them… how?

      The UK’s nuclear arsenal does not really belong to the UK. It was just a way for Washington to insert some of its weapons into an advanced base while getitng someone else to pay for them – the usual routine.

      That Battle of Bannockburn took place over 700 years ago, and is not going to be repeated.

      • craig Post author

        If they simply take them away, that is in itself a good Tom. It gets them out of Scotland and would severely disrupt their operations probably for a decade – there is no base in England that can handle them.

          • g m

            They are built in Barrow and serviced in Devonport. Barrow could hold them, it builds them. If we take the option of dismantling them I would be concerned about the military response and the hassle that would cause. Otherwise I agree.

          • Father O'Blivion

            Milford Haven has two LNG terminals with the capacity to meet 25% of the UKs (England’s?) natural gas demand. Subs and LNG tankers aren’t compatible.
            Barrow-in-Furnace is highly tidal and can only launch new subs once every few weeks.
            Plymouth is theoretically feasible (but riskier than Faslane and Coulport).
            The French facility near Brest is apparently at full capacity. The Yanks could find room (wouldn’t that be demeaning for the great exceptionalist Brits. lol) at their base.

          • Stonky

            “So if the UK had to relocate Trident, where might it go?”

            Back to the US, which owns them, manages them, and will decide if, when, and where they are used?

          • Republicofscotland

            if anything England intends to invest more into nuclear weapons by nationalising the management of AWE.

            “The end of the lucrative 25-year contract can be seen as a blow to Lockheed Martin, Serco Group and Jacobs Engineering, all AWE owners.”


            As if Westminster will abide by the NPT treaty, no chance.

            “The UK is one of five states that had already acquired nuclear weapons before the treaty was signed – the other nuclear weapon states are the United States, Russia, China and France. The treaty establishes that those states without nuclear weapons agree not to acquire them and those with nuclear weapons agree to disarm. It also gives states the right to develop civil nuclear power. The UK does not have any right to possess nuclear weapons under the treaty; instead it is legally bound to disarm.”


          • Tom Welsh

            “The UK is one of five states that had already acquired nuclear weapons before the treaty was signed – the other nuclear weapon states are the United States, Russia, China and France”.

            And, er, Israel.

        • Muscleguy

          i’m quite sure some more bunkers at Aldermaston could house the spare warheads.

          At the very least post a Yes vote Scotgov should insist, backed by police action and inspections ban the entry to Scotland by road or rail any nuclear warheads. The containers can be inspected at the border. So they can only leave. That would be the absolute minimum I would expect.

          I read an article by Wings which suggested iScotland should lease the base for Billions. Which ignored the recent ratification by the 50th nation, Honduras, of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which will now come into international law effect in late January next year.

          The UKGov has already moved to nationalise the shamefully private company which makes our nuclear warheads. Why? To make it harder to sue it of course. So they know they will be vulnerable as a result of this.

          For iScotland to host these abhorrent weapons for longer than absolutely necessary would be in violation of international law. It could see us blackballed at the UN, denied membership. Similarly EU or EFTA membership could be put at risk.

          You are right that we should seize them. Then dismantle them. We could stretch an anti submarine chain/net across the lochs or just sink some hulks in them. One Trident sub at sea with its compliment (greatly reduced of late) might escape as would the warheads in England being ‘reconditioned’ but all the rest we could deal with as you say.

          We should not, tempting as it is, use Trident as any sort of bargaining chip. After a Yes vote UKGov should be warned, get them out, all of it before Independence day or we keep and dismantle them. But where would we put the plutonium? Nasty stuff that. Can’t really be reprocessed usefully without making more fissile material and we don’t have the facilities. So we would have to vitrify it and stick it in some deep, deep place which nowhere would want to be near to.

    • Tony O'Neill

      Craig,the nukes are Scotland’s ultimate trump card against Westminster. Lease the base to them 20 years max,1 billion per year, plus the full cost the clean up of our country. It’s better to be paid by them for housing them and having some control over them,than having to pay for them and having no control over them at all.
      For example the war heads banned from travelling by road in Scotland,they can only be moved by ship..Indy negotiations would be a lot easier with this permanent trump card in our pockets.
      As a young John connor says in terminator 2,when they find the terminators original chip”,we’ve got sky net by the balls now “Well imo we should be like John connor and have the English/British/American establishments by the balls.

  • mark golding

    Excellent and ingenious thought process shines a light into the a dark uncertain future where the flux of history advocates global nuclear conflict.

  • frankywiggles

    I agree with this. Britain is already one of the most self-righteously belligerent and dangerous nations on earth, residue of its unapologetically imperialist near past. Moreover its population in recent years has been displaying disturbingly atavistic fears and instincts, fuelled by the most debased, xenophobic, war hungry press that exists anywhere..For an independent Scotland to put weapons of mass destruction in the hands of such an entity could facilitate a catastrophe from which its reputation would never recover.

    • Squeeth

      The British state is a paragon of aggression because the public have no say in policy, same as the US public.

  • Black Donald

    You certainly expand my horizons of awareness.

    I suspect you also just made Scottish independence much more attractive for many decent people across the entire U.K.

  • Michael Droy

    Oh FFS.
    If Trident is Scottish then you have to completely change all those earlier assessments about how much the rest of Britain subsidises the Scots.
    And since when did Russia invade Crimea – I’m still waiting for the photos on that one.

    • Tom Welsh

      “And since when did Russia invade Crimea…”

      I think you’ll find it was in 1783. Five years before the US Constitution was ratified. Thus Crimea has been part of Russia since before the USA existed as a nation.

      • craig Post author

        Yes Tom. Roughly contemporary with the conquests of Clive of India. It has been a Russian COLONY since 1784.

        It fascinates me that, even though the expansion of the Russian empire was not only contemporaneous with the expansion of the British Empire and the two were absolutely acknowledged without question as Imperial rivals, those on the “Left” refuse to accept the need for decolonisation of Russia’s colonies.

        • marcel

          Should the request for decolonisation not come from the colonies themselves, and not from the ‘Left’ or whatever collection of not-concerned people around?
          Crimea got out of Ukraine just like Scotland would like to get out of UK, and then they asked to be part of Russia, just like Scotland would ask to be part of EU.
          For now, they are not complaining, so why would we?

          • Tom Welsh

            I quite agree, marcel; but I would take it a stage further. What passes for “Ukraine” – originally, of course, “the Ukraine”, meaning “the borderlands” or “the marches” – was a core part of Russia when King Alfred was fleeing from Danish armies in the marshes of Somerset. “Kievan Rus” is documented in all the history books as the very first Russian state.

            Today’s Ukraine has become a most heterogeneous collection of peoples, but the Eastern and Northern parts remain mostly Russian in genetics, language and culture. And in loyalty.

            The decision to secede from the crumbling USSR was not made by a collective decision of the whole Ukrainian people. There was no referendum or anything so democratic. Instead, a small clique of powerful politicians put their heads together in Kiev and decided to hijack the whole huge nation. As that suited the purposes of Washington and NATO down to the ground, every resource and all the influence of the West was dedicated to supporting the secession. Anything that would hurt Russia, after all, was obviously most desirable.

        • Tom Welsh

          Craig, the most blindingly obvious difference between the Russian Empire and the British Empire is that the Russian Empire consisted almost exclusively of areas contiguous to the original smaller state of Russia. Like all successful states prior to the 20th century, Russia expanded by colonisation and conquest.

          Moreover, it did so mostly before the USA was even created. If you are going to criticise modern Russia for including territories conquered in previous centuries, then of course you must also criticise the USA on exactly the same grounds. At least most of the inhabitants of Russia’s acquisitions still survive today.

          The British Empire was different from most in being almost exclusively colonial and overseas. Somehow it seems to me harder to justify British rule in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands than Russian rule in Crimea or Vladivostok.

          Of course, if you want to start counting conquest of contiguous lands, I suppose you would also want to deconstruct the UK by giving independence to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Then, going back through history, you could take England apart: Cornwall, Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia…

          Returning to our original sheep: Crimea was conquered by Russia in 1783 by sheer brute force. But what had happened to it previously? It had been controlled by the Golden Horde – Mongol horsemen from the steppes of central northern Asia – and then by their successors, the Krim Tatars – Turks from the steppes of central Asia. In the centuries leading up to 1783, the Krim Tatars had established a reign of terror throughout what is nowadays Western Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Once they actually besieged Moscow; and over the years they enslaved probably over a million Christians who were taken South and sold.

          History must be bewildering for someone hypnotised by today’s proliferating international laws.

          • J

            “…then of course you must also criticise the USA on exactly the same grounds.”

            Make Texas Mexico again.

          • Tom Welsh

            “Make Texas Mexico again”. And Arizona and California (yes, all of it!) and Nevada and New Mexico and Utah and western Colorado.

            That’s 525,000 square miles, for the bargain price of $18 million and agreeing not to burn down Mexico City. Today Mexico has an area of 758,449 square miles. Thus the USA stole 41% of Mexico’s land in 1848 – just because it wanted to. And who wouldn’t want California and Texas and Arizona and Nevada and New Mexico and Utah and western Colorado if you could get them for the low, low price of $18 million and killing a few Mexicans?

            It fascinates me that those on the “Right” (or wherever) refuse to accept the need for decolonisation of the USA’s colonies.

            “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, (Feb. 2, 1848), treaty between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican War. It was signed at Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, which is a northern neighbourhood of Mexico City. The treaty drew the boundary between the United States and Mexico at the Rio Grande and the Gila River; for a payment of $15,000,000 the United States received more than 525,000 square miles (1,360,000 square km) of land (now Arizona, California, western Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah) from Mexico and in return agreed to settle the more than $3,000,000 in claims made by U.S. citizens against Mexico. With this annexation, the continental expansion of the United States was completed except for the land added in the Gadsden Purchase (1853)”.


        • J

          “those on the “Left” refuse to accept the need for decolonisation of Russia’s colonies.”

          I haven’t heard that before. Isn’t there a case for allowing Russia and it’s satellites and colonies the time and space to proceed at their own rate? Rather than to the advantage of Western efforts to destabilise and dismantle Russia herself?

        • Peter Moritz

          “those on the “Left” refuse to accept the need for decolonisation of Russia’s colonies.”

          And what if in a referendum the “colony” had decided (now inhabited by a Russian majority) to return to the “occupier” instead of staying as a gift to a former member of a Union – the latter despite the majority wishes of the population dissolved by rather incompetent politicians?

          Which should have returned this gift automatically after the dissolution of the Union as similar to Quebec’s case Ukraine had no longer a right to the “gift” – which was given without any questions asked of the population of Crimea.

        • bevin

          This is a ludicrous position- the UK did not colonise India, it plundered it and enslaved its workers, with the assistance of elements of its ruling class.
          As to the de-colonisation of Russia’s colonies- a project favoured by US imperialists eager to take them over on their own account, this has been a policy of the ‘Left’ in Russia since Lenin’s day.
          The fact is that it was the systematic military and economic besieging of the former Russian Empire which made it suicidal for the Soviet Union to retreat from its defensive positions.
          Regarding Ukraine- in which a coup, sponsored by US imperialism, took place- one of its primary objects was to use control over the Crimea in order to push Russia out of the Black Sea. It would have been utter folly to allow NATO to take over Sevastopol. Or, in Craig’s terms, to transfer it from the Russian “empire” to that of which Ukraine is a part. Such an outcome would have been a warmonger’s wet dream, the consequences of which would have been extremely dangerous.
          Of course Crimea was transferred from the government of the Russian to the Ukrainian SSR in the hope that by bolstering Ukraine’s credentials to independence, its stature in the UN and other international fora would be improved. Nobody has ever supposed that Crimea was not largely inhabited by Russian speaking people with a healthy distaste for rule by Ruthenian fascists born in the United States and Canada.
          Craig’s attitudes on this and related questions was formed in the Foreign Office. They are profoundly reactionary.

          • Tatyana

            No, it’s not Foreign Office
            Mr. Murray’s views are formed by Crimean Tatars, that’s why he starts Crimean peninsula history countdown with Russian conquest in 18th century, dismissing the previous period, when Tatars invaded the Crimea and settled there and got the particular add-on ‘Crimean’ to their regular name Tatars. Mr. Murray don’t like mentioning that there is a country Tatarstan, because this is also part of Russia today, must be galling fact for Tatars dreaming of getting the Crimea back.

        • Tatyana

          re. COLONY – a brief reconnaissance of the events that preceded the conquest of Crimea:

          the Crimea belonged to and was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Catherine II fought the Turks during 1768-1774, and the war ended with the Küçük Kaynarca Antlaşması. This peace treaty proclaimed the independence of the Crimea from Ottomans and from Russia. Catherine also ransomed the Christians (Greeks, Armenians) from the Crimean Khan and settled them in the region where I live.

          The Crimean Tatars didn’t enjoy independence, as they wanted to remain Turkish subjects, unlike the Christian population of the Crimea, especially the Armenians, who, as you know, have a long bloody history of genocide from the Turks.

          All this led to hostilities and revolts under very weak ruler Khan Şahin Geray. His own people rebelled against him in 1780. The next year the Crimean Murzas sent delegations to the Russian capital with requests for help. Another Turkish inspired revolt in 1782. And finily the situation ended with Khan’s abdication and the Crimea went under Russian ruling.

        • Squeeth

          The “left” is busy with decolonising British colonies, like England. The first step in decolonising is to ask the colonised what they want. The Palestinians want their country back, ergo the zionist antisemites are not entitled to a say.

        • np

          That’s about the same time that the Chinese empire under Emperor QianLong took over large parts of central Asia, much of which is known today as Xinjiang (or the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), and held on to it despite uprisings by the locals over the years.

          I suspect Russia will “accept the need for decolonization” in Crimea when China accepts the same in Xinjiang. Don’t hold your breath.

    • Coldish

      Thanks, Michael (8 Nov, 10.12). The only invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2014 was well-documented with plenty of photographs. See
      When Russia invades another country they don’t make any secret of it. They make sure everybody knows about it. Ask the Germans (1945) or the Hungarians (1956) or the Czechs (1968). Or the grateful inhabitants of the Donbass in 2014.
      I’m tired of people who should know better trying to invent history.

      • bevin

        Presumably you are arguing, the “Russians” should have respected the Reich’s borders in 1944 and refrained from the temptation to invade. No doubt they could have made a separate peace with the German government, which could then have turned its attention westwards.
        As to the inhabitants of the Donbass in 2014, do you imagine that they wanted to be ruled by Kiev, where its language had already been banned?

        • Coldish

          Bevin: apologies for my lack of clarity. I wasn’t arguing anything except to suggest that, by the standards of several well-documented invasions by Russian forces there was no invasion in Crimea in 2014. As I understood it, what happened was that following a foreign-backed violent overthrow of the elected central government in Kiev, the elected authorities in the Crimea autonomous region asked the Russian forces who were already stationed there to support their unilateral declaration of independence from Ukraine. I wasn’t making any judgment about the rights and wrongs of the various invasions I mentioned, simply pointing out that when Russia invades it makes sure that everybody sees what is happening.
          Apologies to Craig and others for pursuing this off-topic issue. Like Craig, I would like to see Scotland, England and Wales rid of all weapons of mass destruction, starting with the unbelievably expensive and militarily useless Trident. ,

  • Republicofscotland

    I read recently Westminster nationalised its nukes, anyway here we go again with the International law angle, we know fine well Westminster bends or breaks it to suit is purposes, the return of its WMD’s will be no different, and anyway do we really want to make an all out enemy of our nearest neighbour, which has a far greater population and possesses an actual armed force which we do not. Lets not go poking our nose into English affairs before we can walk never mind run.

    No I say give them the nukes back, some touted renting out Faslane but I don’t agree with that, you won’t save Scotland from nuclear annihilation by helping to decommission England’s nukes, in the eyes of the world Faslane will always be a target for a nuke regardless of whether Scotland’s independent and nuke free, the weapons have been based their so long, the nuclear armed nations will always be suspicious of the site, and in any case Scotland’s own navy will sail from there.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…you won’t save Scotland from nuclear annihilation by helping to decommission England’s nukes…”

      Nice try. But if there is a thermonuclear war, all of Scotland will be incinerated regardless. Declaring independence and announcing that Scotland has no part of the wicked English behaviour would cut no ice.

      Such a war would come about if (and only if) the USA and/or some of its catamites attack Russia. Or, possibly, an ally of Russia.

      Russia has several thousand warheads, which would tend to arrive in multiple-warhead missiles. One missile would handily deal with London, and another dozen or so with the rest of the UK. If Russia is under mortal attack, do not expect the Russian government to concern itself unduly with saving the inhabitants of Aberdeen or Ullapool.

      • Republicofscotland


        I’m not trying to “nice try” anything, I want the nuke out of Scotland just as much as the next man, and of course England will up its animosity towards Scotland when it becomes an independent nation, but I don’t want to further escalate this by prodding them in the back and saying we won’t give you your nukes back because International law says so.

        Where was the so called International law when the Chagossian people were forcibly evicted from their homes, where is International law helping the oppressed people of Palestine. International law is a nice notion, but the USA and the UK along with other nations bend or break it when it suits them.

        No let England take back their nukes as long as they’re out of Scotland that will be a significant achievement for our country.

        • Tom Welsh

          I quite agree with you, RoS. I was just stressing the fine – but perhaps important – point that the Scots cannot hope to escape nuclear incineration just by politically distancing themselves from Westminster.

          • Republicofscotland

            Agreed Tom I think I covered that point when I said other nations will have a nuke set aside for Faslane/coulport, they’ll still be deeply suspicious that nukes or nuclear subs are resident for years to come after independence.

        • terence callachan

          They are not England’s nukes
          They are U.K. nukes but we become the owner of them when we become independent if they are still on our land because at that point U.K. no longer exists

    • Clydebuilt

      “An all out enemy of our nearest neighbour” . . . . And the USA. They would do a Venezuela on Scotland.

      • Tom Welsh

        Scotland would be far easier to suppress than Venezuela. Far smaller, much less jungle, and apart from some small mountains, reasonably accessible terrain. Not all of it easily reached by infantry – but it is all open to bombing.

        What the English could do in the 18th century, the Americans could very easily do today. Anyone read J.G. Ballard’s story “The Killing Ground”? That has ragged British insurgents bravely fighting against the might of the US armed forces around Runnymede – no doubt chosen for its symbolic value. Some of the insurgents are Scots. They would have been crushed long ago, if the Americans were not also fighting insurgents in every country of the world.

        • terence callachan

          Tom Welsh..USA won’t bomb their relatives in Scotland
          Not in any circumstances
          Terrain is irrelevant

          • Tom Welsh

            “USA won’t bomb their relatives in Scotland”.

            Yeah. Right.

            I suppose you have Joe Biden’s word on that?

  • Spike

    If Biden gets confirmed prepare for conflict with Russia.
    If Biden gets confirmed prepare for a quid pro quo between Biden and Sturgeon, independence yes but in the face of ‘russian aggression’ we’ll just need to hang on to them for a while will be the narrative, it’s how the empire works, check Sturgeons allies.
    Crimea was only part of The Ukraine due to Kruschevs handing over to the Soviet Republic, which isn’t recognised by international law.
    Trident whilst effective if it strikes a target, may be obsolete due to the Russian S500 anti missile system and obliterated mid flight. I believe the S600 system is currently undergoing testing and is far superior to the S500 which in itself can track and destroy mid flight hundreds of projectiles. I fancy becoming independent but not under US control instead of English, swapping anglo masters isn’t independence imho.

  • Bluedotterel

    I am not sure Russia “invaded” Crimea. It was already there per agreement with the Ukrainian government. I think the referendum and separation are the issue, not the fact the Russian armed forces were legally present in Crimea at the time.

    • craig Post author

      There were agreed force limits which Russia trebled in the invasion. Also taking over civilian control was hardly in accordance with the SOFA.
      I deleted an earlier comment from somebody else which claimed the invasion was due to massacres of Russians in Crimea. You can argue what you want, but blatant lies are not permitted.

      • Tom Welsh

        Craig, you seem completely unaware of Washington’s deliberate policy: to weaken, and if possible dismember, any nation that resists it in any way.

        They rush to open wounds in Russia, and jam sharpened stakes into those wounds in the hope they become infected and gangrenous.

        The long game is to have Russian broken up into as many as a dozen smaller political units, none of which could defend itself against American neo-imperialism.

        Even taking a purely amoral and selfish point of view – which I don’t – it is far safer for those of us who love and appreciate peace that Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, etc. remain intact and independent.


        First they came for the Yugoslavs; but I did nothing, for I was not a Yugoslav.
        Then they came for the Iraqis, but I did nothing…
        Then they came for the Afghans…
        Then they came for the Somalis…
        Then they came for the Yemenis…
        Then they came for Libyans…
        Then they came for the Syrians…
        Then they came for the Iranians…
        Then they came for the Venezuelans…
        Then they came for the Russians and the Chinese.

        And still I did nothing – what do I care about the fate of foreigners?

        Meanwhile, at home…

        • Pyewacket

          Tom, may I add to your list…any South American country with Lithium reserves, crucial for the Green New Deal and its architects.

          • Tom Welsh

            Thanks, Pyewacket. After a while I began to feel I might be getting boring, and also rather tired. So I stopped.

            There are dozens of other countries that could be added.

            Pretty much everyone who has anything valuable, in fact.

            Further reading for the interested:

            “America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth” by Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock.

            “Americans have invaded nearly half the world’s countries and been militarily involved with all the rest, except Andorra, Bhutan and Liechtenstein. Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock take you on a global tour of America’s military activity around the world from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli and everywhere in-between. Whatever your political views this is an extraordinary and often surprising story. With personal photos, maps and an index to assist America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth gives us history as it should be taught–calling out for more!”

            – Amazon blurb

        • mark golding

          Meanwhile also we remember the number of casualties in the Soviet Union during World War II has been estimated at 27 million. The Soviet military casualties exceeded 8.7 million, which is more than half of the total allied death toll.

          • Tom Welsh

            For anyone who cares to look it up, the USSR suffered more deaths in the battle of Stalingrad than the USA suffered on all fronts in the whole of WW2.

            Just saying.

      • Peter Moritz

        The coup in Ukraine had as an added (maybe the main?) goal to get a hold of the port in Crimea to deny Russia the use of it, control the Kersh Strait and incorporate it into the NATO aim of Russian encirclement.
        Do you really think that any country somewhat capable of analysing its security status in light of NATO expansion and capable to respond to such an attempt would really have permitted such a move?
        And lookit…ever the port became a non issue because of Russia’s move, suddenly Ukraine is on the NATO backburner.

      • Blue Dotterel

        I (mis)understood that Russia had added forces but within the limits the agreement. Most likely my memory of the situation is incorrect, and I need to look back into this again. I also thought the Crimean authorities requested that the Russians assist them in maintaining security given the collapse of the government in Kiev, and its take over by an illegal coup government. Perhaps, that is not something that ought to be done according to ınternational law; ie, another country intervening to assist a region to self-determine within a disfunctional country with an illegal government (from the viewpoint of the Crimeans).

        I don’t recall there being any significant violence in Crimea proper before or after the referendum. In fact the latter was unusual given that most other separatist efforts in Europe have resulted in violence within the territories involved: Kosovo, Cyprus, Armenia NK. What seems common here are the third parties external to the countries involved, aiding one side to separate from the parent nation. This differs from the civilized separations, as in Czechs and Slovakians, where both parties agree to separate.

        This of course is the crux of the matter for Scotland. If Westminster objects to a referendum, and it is not supported by the UN, can it really be legal. In Canada, Quebec’s separatist referenda have not been disallowed by the federal gov’t, I believe (I was only there for the first). Thus should Quebec vote to leave Canada in some manner, there would be a legal base. Would there be a legal base for Scotland if the UK objects? Should the EU support Scotland in some way, would this not be seen as similar to Nagorno Karabagh, Kosovo, N. Cyprus, or Crimea?

        Does the right to self determination not require agreement by all parties involved? Is there really any “international law” pertaining to self-determination?

        I would very much like to see an independent Scotland, even though I am only 1/8th Scot myself, and have only visited once. The main reason I read this blog is to follow the independence struggle.

        • Jen

          Article 1 of Chapter 1 of United Nations charter:

          Article 1
          The Purposes of the United Nations are:

          To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
          To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
          To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
          To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

          Self-determination is part of the UN charter and does not require unanimous agreement among all parties involved, otherwise most countries in the world would still be under the yoke of European empires. The majority of independent nations have had to fight for their independence.

        • Peter Moritz

          Ukraine actually threatened after the Maidan coup to strip Crimea of its hard won “autonomy status by invading it and shut down their parliament.
          This was when Russia acted to support a referendum after having undertaken a poll to determine that about 70% of Crimeans where in favour of joining.
          The question of “independence” was not part of the referendum as this course of action had been pursued in two previous referenda but had not been accepted by Kiev, only a lower status of autonomy had been granted after the second referenda which in 2014 was threatened by the post Maidan putchists. independence would have not been a viable option in this case, only incorporation into the RF would guarantee the safety of the Russian majority.

      • Jen

        “There were agreed force limits which Russia trebled in the invasion …”

        At the time of the independence referendum in Crimea in March 2014, there were 23,000 Russian troops in Crimea. The three treaties that Russia and Ukraine signed in 1997 allowed for up to 25,000 Russian troops to be stationed in the peninsula.

        There was no invasion, let alone any trebling of the agreed-upon numbers – the troops were already there in Crimea. The only thing that changed was that the Crimean parliament asked Moscow to send the troops through Crimea to guard the polling stations where Crimeans were to cast their referendum votes, so prevent any harassment ordered by Kiev, and Moscow agreed to the Crimean request.

        I agree there was no massacre of Russian in Crimea itself. The person may have been referring to a convoy of buses carrying Crimean activists back from Kiev that was ambushed by neo-Nazis, who had been tipped off about the convoy’s route back to Crimea, near Khorsun. A number of passengers on that convoy were beaten and killed. The survivors who returned to Crimea raised the alarm.

    • terence callachan

      Crimea is and has been strategically essential to Russian security Sevastopol is important.
      Crimea has a population that wants to be Russian it doesn’t want to be Ukrainian

  • Clydebuilt

    If the SNP were to adopt this policy before a Referendum or the May 2021 election. One thing you can guarantee is that Scotland will never be allowed to become independent.

    • Contrary

      Ah, well, Clydebuilt – there are many reasons why we won’t be *allowed* to become independent – this would be just one I think. And if you take all the things away that Westminster doesn’t want to allow us, well, then, we won’t won’t be independent at all. If the plan is to negotiate away all our assets before we even begin negotiating – it’s not going to leave us with much at all! Maybe we could all squeeze into a Westminster-sanctioned Freeport in Moray – but I doubt that will suit everyone.

    • Hove Actually

      Not so long ago an American Secretary of State attended a meeting of activists in London assuring them that the US would not countenance a Corbyn government. And so it came to pass, whether with their help or without it.
      To imagine that the Americans will stand idly by and allow and independent Scotland to decide the destiny of those armaments is simply absurd.
      That’s a deal that has to cut with Washington by Sturgeon, (or whoever) BEFORE the next referendum.

    • terence callachan

      Not true Clydebuilt .
      I assume you think USA would stop Scottish independence to continue to have a nuclear sub base in Scotland but that’s nonsense nuclear sub bases can be found easily by USA outside Scotland , these subs don’t need to dock every week or two their missions last months at a time.
      Scotland doesn’t want them .
      USA would want a more powerful country than Scotland housing and maintaining them even little England would not be first choice quick deployment is no longer a necessity because the range of their missiles is so vast
      If they were just being built now they wouldn’t be put in Scotland
      They’re only in Scotland because moving them would be such a nuisance

  • amanfromMars

    Craig, a little something different for you to realise is current and changes practically everything.

    I think you will find the destructive primacy of Trident nuclear type WMD in the military arsenal has been comprehensively trumped by novel almighty abilities with facilities and utilities exercising pioneering lead with Commands and Controls in the Electro Magnetic Spectrum Field with AI and IT in Assisting Attendance aka the CyberSpace Domain with Virtual Team Terrains/Love Operational Virtual Environments.

    The tip of that veritable Titanic iceberg as far as the Pentagon is reported to be interested in being pre-eminent in, is nicely revealed in this informative post on National DEFENSE … and its follow up, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Embarks on Next Chapter is encouraging.

    And when/if the United Kingdom is a rogue state, are sitting Parliamentarians, by natural default, akin to conspiring aspiring terrorists? ….. and therefore prime candidates for unbridled Secret Intelligence and Security Service attention negating the need to pay lip service and observe the Wilson Doctrine?

  • Wally jumblatt

    You either have property rights laws or you don’t. If you don’t, you wont get much foreign investment but you can claim any American or Russian or Chinese WMDs hidden on a cave in Argyll are ours to do with as we please.

    Either we own them or we tell whoever does to remove them.

  • Contrary

    I didn’t realise this.

    Why has there even been a debate about ‘what to do with trident’ etc?

    I’ll go for this idea – simple yet effective, and would indeed boost the economy with the decommissioning work, and international kudos is always handy.

    We just need the political will now, to go for independence, and to declare this should be part of the plan, the roadmap that we are yet to see. I’m all for a variety of road maps for a pathway to independence, and could see the dismantling of trident on 80% of them.

    We could start with about 50 different road maps – a path to independence that shows our transition and starting point status and the series of implementations straight after independence – which could be whittled down through a series of STV voting processes down to one. Why hasn’t even one roadmap been produced yet? Why isn’t there anyone out there capable of throwing together a pathway on a single side of A4? Why aren’t there hundreds? Where is the holistic thinking?

  • Stonky

    I agree with every argument you have put forward Craig, but the unpleasant and fundamental truth is that the USA only knows two types of country – deferential compliant puppets and enemies. The UK’s Trident missile system is useless and irrelevant from a military perspective, but the US doesn’t think about or care about that. For them, it is a symbol of deferential, compliant puppethood.

    In Westminster, the US has the most pathetic arsecrawling puppet on the planet. If there was the slightest hint that an independent Scotland might try to get rid of Trident then we would become an enemy, and it would never be allowed to happen, with extreme prejudice.

    And I don’t know what to do about this.

  • Kempe

    Dream on Craig. The subs would just sail away, probably to the US at least to start with. Anyway is there anywhere in Scotland that has the facilities and know-how to dismantle a nuclear warhead? Where’s the waste material going afterwards?

    Let’s not forget that Ukraine traded it’s nuclear weapons for guarantees over it’s sovereignty. Guarantees which have proved worthless.

    • nevermind

      Really Kempe, the BBC?
      We are not just talking about Faslane, which has many future options to develop maritime/fishing/ or tourist based harbour facillities.
      We are also talking about untold nuclear warheads and missiles plus in storage at Coulports vast underground facillity.
      Both are primary first strike targets, just as Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Menwith Hill in England. One should not be flippant about making detailed prepared plans to remove these targets unless one wants to see Scotland annihilated.
      This issue ought to become public debate in a Citizens forum, regardless of what party politics thinks of it.

    • Wikikettle

      Kempe. Old defunct Europe has always wanted to breakup Russia and exploit its vast resources. On its part Russia has fought of these attempts at great cost. It has a huge territory to defend, small economy yet a population that knows its history and suffering. No warm water ports, easy to blockade, surrounded by NATO, no natural geographic obstacles, like mountain ranges to impede the invader are a few problems. If you know the history of Ukrainian help to the Nazis, the Ukrainian corridor to Russia, the history of Crimea and Sevastepol, you are a dreamer if think Russia will allow NATO to have a base there. Ukrainian is not sovereign when it has just let US companies rape and neo Nazis take over.

      • Wikikettle

        UK US has already demonstrated it can stop ships using the Suez Cannal and enter into the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. Iranian tanker. So when we talk about ‘freedom of navigation’ we mean our freedom to send our war ships anywhere.

    • Penguin

      They can’t.

      If they go to the USA then they can’t come back. Which is the whole point.
      Either the english remove them before independence. Which can’t happen as there is nowhere to put the damn things.
      Or they stay where they are. Which then leads to two options.

      1 They belong to Scotland and we destroy them.
      2. They belong to england and we charge £ Billions in rent and storage fees until they can be removed.

      Anyone pretending that the english could just occupy Faslane and Coulport hasn’t looked at a map. Or the numbers of troops available and willing to face death every second of the day to occupy Scotland.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The subs would just sail away, probably to the US at least to start with”.

      As Craig has clearly stated in this thread, he would see that as a win for Scotland. And why not? The Americans could take their warheads back home with them. (I suppose they could keep the submarines too, as they aren’t much use without warheads. Although perhaps as much use as huge aircraft carriers without effective aircraft…)

    • SO.


      It’s a common misunderstanding but Ukraine didn’t have any usable nuclear weapons. They had a few soviet weapons they couldn’t control. (UR-100N’s in silos)

      The vast majority of the soviet nuclear force was road mobile. (both strategic weapons and shorter range tactical) so they just drove to russia long before ukraine ever gained independence.

      The remaining silo based weapons were effectively unusable except as a possible (illegal/untraceable) source of weapons grade material (via warhead mining).

      Ukraine itself could neither launch or re-target them.

  • nevermind

    Is it really a worthwhile achievement to build a new submarine base and nuclear repository in England? when it will cost taxpayers an estimated 25plus billions at a time the economy is rockbottom.

    Taxpayers have never been asked about specific policies and or expenditure, but I bet that a referendum without Russiophobic BBC and MsM messages would vote against such move.

    • Iain Stewart

      Nice to see the old “taxpayers” schtick, but it does tend to eliminate any credibility.

  • jackfogarty

    Good stuff as usual from Craig, except for his claim that Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea. Russia liberated Crimea; both two referendums and the local parliament made it clear that they wish to remain in Soviet-era style association with Russia at the very least, a decision confirmed by later referendums and elections. If Craig wants to endorse Khrushchev’s wholly undemocratic ‘gift’ of Crimea to Ukraine, let him do so in terms. Treaties, especially those to which the people of Crimea were not party, cannot over-ride the right of the people of Crimea to determine their future.

    • Ken Garoo

      When the USSR dissolved and modern Ukraine was created, the Crimean people asked to stay with Russia. The Ukraine regime refused to allow it.

    • lawrenceab

      I may be wrong – Craig can correct me – but I believe the reason Ukraine could not take its case against Russia for the loss of Crimea to the ICJ is because of the Kosovo precedent. The Court had agreed with the UK and other Western Govts’ strong arguments at the time that the agreement of the being-departed-from state was not necessary, neither was it relevant if the departing state violated the constitution of the legacy state. Indeed, pretty much by definition, any state seeking independence would.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The Court had agreed with the UK and other Western Govts’ strong arguments at the time that the agreement of the being-departed-from state was not necessary…”

        Bloody law courts, keeping track of precedents instead of regularly forgetting what happened last week. No wonder Washington doesn’t like them.

      • Coldish

        In practice the key point is whether the seceding territory can establish its de facto independence against the wishes of the parent state.. This aspect could turn out to be crucial in the event of a Scottish UDI. Scotland would need to take and maintain immediate control of transport and communications.within its borders and to be able to rely on the support at least of its own police force. It is almost certain that that key military installations such as Coulport and Faslane would be heavily defended by rump UK and US forces and would in practice remain under Westminster control. As another reader has commented, there would be the risk of a Cyprus situation developing, with Westminster offering full independence for the rest of Scotland in exchange for England retaining sovereign rights over the base areas. I’m sure Craig and his colleagues would refuse such an offer.
        , .

  • Alex Birnie

    You never cease to amaze me, Craig. I never even THOUGHT of the possibility of Scotland dismantling the nukes.

    My first thought on reading your blog was “Could this be a way for the UK to climb down, without losing face?”. It would remove a huge cost from the English taxpayer, while extricating the U.K. from looking ludicrous on the world stage ….. the playground bully, carrying a huge club that he is barely able to carry…..

  • J

    Excellent idea. And as you say, either way, it puts this part of the American arsenal out of reach during what will inevitably be a difficult decade for international relations.

  • Goose

    Many here often state a belief the SNP’s leadership will have to be metaphorically dragged, kicking and screaming, towards independence. Expecting this cautious, ultra-woke leadership to open up another front with Westminster over decommissioning Trident seems like fantasy politics.
    The Ukraine’s hard-pivot west saw them thinking its future was in thumbing its nose at Moscow – as members of the EU and possibly NATO. Mistakenly, as it turned out , wasn’t in the US’s gift to grant membership of either, and indeed there’s much EU opposition to that, as we now know; google : ‘Netherlands rejects EU-Ukraine partnership deal’. Scotland will need friendly relations with their still powerful neighbour and until independence is firmly established the issue needs to be parked somehow, possibly with a ten year extension on use of the Faslane Naval Base, until a new home can be built or found. Scotland could even lease it.

    Just my opinion. And I’m just as against hideous thermonuclear weapons as anyone else.

  • Pyewacket

    I just typed; Faslane nuclear contamination into the Google search bar…oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. One story from March this year, about discharges of radioactive waste into the Clyde being increased by 50x. Another, from 2018 reporting on 505 nuclear discharge incidents. This issue goes back decades, and constitutes quite a considerable legacy, particularly in any impact on fisheries further up the West Coast affected by the natural tidal flow. It seems that, so far, the Scottish Administration has done nothing to address the issue of the radioactive pollution of its Coastal waters, so what could a newly independent Government do ? If the Subs do sail away, who pays for the clean up costs ?

  • Ken Garoo

    “Russia of course breached the Budapest Agreement when it invaded Crimea”

    Absolute bullshit. There was a treaty allowing up to 35,000 Russian troops to be stationed in Crimea. At the time there were 20,000. The people of Crimea stopped the Ukro-Nazis taking over the Parliament building enabling a legitimate referendum to take place in which a great majority voted for Crimea to become part of the Russian Federation. This took place peacefully, with some 16,000 of the 20,000 Ukraine military forces taking up the Russian off of transfer to the Russian military, keeping rank and pension, and at Russian salary (4x Ukaine). The remainder were allowed to return with their weapons to Ukraine.

    If the Crimeans hadn’t done what they did, they would have suffered the same pogroms they saw at Kherson, and later at Odessa, where several hundred pro-Rusian Ukranians were burnt alive in the Odessa Trade Union building.

    • Phil Espin

      If anyone doubts that the Crimeans feared Ukrainian nazis would try and massacre them I suggest you search for Auslander’s posts on the Saker blog. He lived in Crimea before, after and during the events of 2014 and testifies to the real fear the citizens felt from the Nazi coup in Kiev. The Crimeans seized their right to self determination and were lucky to have a big brother to help them. The Catalans were not so lucky and I suspect the Scots won’t be so lucky either. Especially if they try and pull what Craig suggests on Trident, UKs Maginot Line, that offers no protection other than for lots of jobs. Most Tory politicians can’t see that of course.

      • JohninMK

        Auslander, an American, is still living there. From memory two of his wife’s sons are still up on the defensive lines in Donbas. He still reports in English on Ukraine on a Russiandefence site. Written a couple of good books too.

        The lives of Crimeans have been transformed by the massive investments in infrastructure the Russians have made, particularly in electricity generation and this winter Crimea will cease to be dependent on Kiev for fresh water. On top of that the Russians have constructed what is now Europe’s longest bridge (road and rail) on time and budget over difficult territory. With the travel problems over the past year Crimea has also seen a boom in tourists, Russian of course.

        From being ignored and underfunded to being valued and appreciated. Probably the fastest gain of benefit for a population following a referendum vote to change ‘ownership’ ever.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    Pertinent article from George Kerevan back in 2013 —

    By George Kerevan (12 July 2013)

    « DOWNING Street has been quick to pour cold water on media reports that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is toying with the notion of declaring the Trident nuclear submarine base in the Firth of Clyde a “sovereign base area”, in the event of Scottish voters opting for independence. Effectively, this would mean Faslane and its nuclear stockpile remaining under British sovereignty, controlled by the MoD itself. Do not take these denials at face value – the original story was by The Guardian’s highly regarded chief political correspondent, Nicholas Watt. We are witnessing a classic bad cop/good cop routine. First the MoD makes a veiled threat to retain control over Faslane. Then David Cameron rides to the rescue, saying that those ever-so-nice Tories in Downing Street would never think of denying the democratic right of the Scottish people to run their own affairs in their own territory. […] »


    • Andy Ellis

      Surely the status of the facilities post independence is a matter for the governments of independent Scotland and rump UK to negotiate? Many of the cards will be in Edinburgh’s hands, because the britnats have nowhere else to base their WMDs, and they know it.

      Since it is overwhelmingly likely the majority of Scots post indy will still support NATO membership, the other members of the alliance would take a dim view of Holyrood advancing a plan for removal that was regarded as unreasonable. Realpolitik and economics make it much more likely that the two governments settle on a deal whereby we lease the areas for £X billion for X years, and they agree to pay for the clean up costs when they leave.

      The Scots public aren’t likely to listen to absolutists who insist we issue ultimata to the UK and prospective NATO allies to remove WMDs in an unreasonable or indeed unfeasible timescale: we might as well profit from their presence until a sensible alternative home for them is secured.

      • Tom Welsh

        “…the britnats have nowhere else to base their WMDs, and they know it”.

        You really ought to distinguish thermonuclear weapons from other WMDs (meaningless as the term is).

        For instance, anyone who lives in Wiltshire or nearby is rubbing shoulder up close and personal with some of the world’s most advanced chemical weapons. (And the real versions, of which no doubt the MoD has thousands of tons, work better than the Skripal affair’s “Novichok”).

        As for the real cutting-edge stuff, that would be biological weapons. But to avoid grating on any raw sensibilities, perhaps I should avoid discussing those at this particular time.

  • Brendan

    When the USA violated the Budapest Agreement by staging a coup in Kiev in February 2014, Russia was no longer obligated to stick to that agreement.

    The US State Department even selected the new prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, as was revealed in Victoria Nuland’s leaked phone calls with Ambassador Pyatt. Incidentally she also said that the go-ahead for their decisions would have to come from the then Secretary of State, Joe Biden.

    The same anti-constitutional violent coup was the reason why Crimea decided it no longer wanted to be part of the Ukrainian failed state which did not legitimately represent the Crimean people. It was western interference that drove it into the arms of Russia, and not anything planned by the Kremlin. Russia’s only role in Crimea’s decision was to allow the referendum to go ahead without being prevented by Ukrainian forces.

    • mark golding

      Well said Brendan; I suspect the ‘Fuck the EU’ from Nuland is an echo from the UK Establishment frustrated at the EU’s aversion to pick a fight with Moscow, it just does not have the cash inducements available.

      • Tom Welsh

        ” the then Vice-President, Joe Biden”.

        Come to think of it – what an incredibly apt title.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The same anti-constitutional violent coup was the reason why Crimea decided it no longer wanted to be part of the Ukrainian failed state…”

      As well, of course, as the Crimeans’ understandable desire not to be burned alive.

      • JohninMK

        Ironically the coup in Kiev was probably the best event to happen to Russia since the end of the Soviet Union.

        In one fell swoop they:
        – lost the huge financial obligation to support Ukraine, costing them billions a year
        – gained probably a couple of millions of new residents fleeing Ukraine on top of those in Crimea, vital in a country (as the rest of Europe) with a declining population. Better still they were young, old people staying in Ukraine, spoke Russian, technically educated and similar ethnic background. Contrast with Europe’s recent immigrants.
        – recovered total control of the military, air and naval, facilities that effectively control the Black Sea
        – got control of large area of oil bearing subsea strata and flexibility on gas pipelines to the EU
        – have the option of exploiting deeper water access for large container ships than their other ports in the Black Sea
        – were forced to develop products that Ukraine had traditionally supplied them with, especially helicopter and diesel engines, import substitution.

        This was a classic case of the US shooting itself in the strategic foot, albeit it now appears that some Americans seem to have done well out of it on a personal level.

        It must have been doubles all round in the Kremlin when they realised what the US had just gifted them.

  • Bill Marsh

    “In fact, the decommissioning work would take years and would bring an economic boost to Scotland, providing far more work than the simple maintenance and operation of the nuclear fleet ever has.”

    Where is the money coming from for decomissioning?
    Is Scotland going to have its own currency? If not where is it going to get overseas currency to afford decommissioning?

    • Arby Dippers

      Where are the skills. tools and information necessary for decommissioning going to come from? What exactly will we decommission? The subs belong to the RN and will be withdrawn out of reach. The warheads are still nuclear warheads whether attached to a missile or not, how does Scotland safely decommission these without UK co-operation.
      The main threat to protection of the GI UK gap does not come from the loss of Faslane, Plymouth is a viable alternative. The loss of radar stations on Scottish Islands would be far more damaging.

  • Andy Ellis

    The SNP as a party may be anti Trident and anti WMDs in general, but it is also now a pro-NATO party. The majority of Scots support the idea of an independent Scotland joining NATO, so it’s unlikely they are absolutists in terms of remaining part of an alliance which relies on nuclear deterrence in the medium to long term. The question of what happens with British WMDs based in Scotland post independence is more difficult. Though Scots unilateralists may not like to hear it, it isn’t likely they will be in a position to demand instant or accelerated removal of the weapons and infrastructure the day after our First Minister reads out the declaration of independence on the steps of Bute House. It is much more likely that a deal will be done whereby the Britnats pay an agreed sum per year to lease the sites, and agree to pay for clean up when they leave.

    Scots unionists and the British government are quite aware that Scottish independence spells the death knell for the sea based nuclear deterrent: they have no other credible site for such a system, and no prospect of finding the money to replicate the existing facilities in England even if there WAS a suitable site. Unless pro-indy unilateralists come up with a more coherent argument than “we must get them out the week after independence, everyone will be fine with that”, we are entitled to point out that they are delusional.

    I’d personally be all for proposing alternative arrangements to our near neighbours like Iceland, Ireland and Scandinavia for a non-nuclear mutual defence pact outside NATO, but unless you can convince them (and more importantly a majority of Scots voters) that it’s a better option than remaining inside NATO, having come to a sensible and time limited arrangement to lease the nuclear facilities until they become redundant, it’s just so much hot air. There are more important and pressing issues to tackle, particularly when (much like the retention of the monarchy) figures show the majority of voters are much more sanguine about their retention than activists.

    • Goose

      Opening up new fronts over : Nato membership; Trident , the monarchy(Scotland becoming a republic) is absurd before carrying independence. True cart before the horse stuff.

      Many share the aims of tackling all of those, in turn, but why risk shedding votes and allowing unionist opponents to make mischief by misrepresenting what are actually sensible positions prior to winning independence? Look how the unionists doggedly used SNP weakness over the currency issue.

      Sort these out from a position of strength , not weakness.

      • Andy Ellis

        To be clear, I’m not suggesting we do open up “new fronts”. I’m personally all for an independent Scotland being a republic, but I wouldn’t prioritise that over achieving the goal, particularly as the majority of Scots voters don’t currently support it. The same goes for allowing WMDs on our territory: I’d prefer them to be banned, but I wouldn’t prioritise that over achieving independence because the majority of Scots are multilateralists, not unilateralists when it comes to WMDs.

        Also as noted, I’d happily look at a coherent alternative plan to NATO membership (not that anyone has yet proposed one as far as I’m aware?), but it’s not an issue that resonates with Scots voters. In all these cases, we can indeed sort them out after achieving the goal. It isn’t the place of the SNP, activists, or indeed the broader movement, to try and dictate the “what ifs” of the early days of our better nation.

        • Goose

          There’s simply no way for Scots to have a rational, calm debate about any of these things pre-independence.

          The BBC’s propagandists(reporters), tabloids and various UK officialdom and high-profile unionist politicians like Ruth Davidson will dominate any such debate, because weaponising and creating max controversy and FUD among Scots, will be in the unionists’ interests. I sympathise with the idea that the SNP’s best strategy is to minimise areas vulnerable to attack – deny opponents these issues. Post independence it’s a different world, the defeated unionists will take a back seat and these matters can be debated calmly.

    • jake

      What’s all this stuff about “leasing sites”? The Scottish Government don’t own the sites. They don’t own the sites now and they wouldn’t own the sites after independence. The idea that an individual, corporation, company or legal entity would lose its legal title to land or property is absurd as is the idea that a Scottish government could “lease” property rights back to the legal owner.

      • bevin

        So land nationalisation is out?
        And it is absurd to believe that the vast Ducal estates stolen from the people of Scotland should be left in the hands of their ‘owners.?
        What exactly is the point of independence if it leaves all ‘property’ rights as they are? And the communal lands in the hands of a tiny number of proprietors?

        • jake

          No, land nationalisation isn’t out, but I’m glad you agree that its a necessary first step.
          I see though that you are not limiting your vision of land reform to properties owned by the MoD but have the ducal estates in mind too. Anyone else?

  • James Cook

    “The United Kingdom is a rogue state.”

    Attempting to cement ties to your friends in Whitehall, are we? NOT! ;-(

  • Colin Alexander

    In 2015 I wrote a letter to my then MP: a British Labour Imperial career politician (collequally known as a Red Tory, think Gordon Brown, Tony Blair or Starmer). I wrote questioning his unwavering support for spending £ billions on renewal of Trident. Unusually, I got a response that time, (maybe that it was coming up to the election had something to do with it?).

    His letter explained that really he was against nuclear weapons, so it was on this basis that he supported spending billions on renewing Trident. For, if the UK renewed the Trident system, they would have nukes to get rid of, and so renewing Trident was really an act of support for getting rid of nuclear weapons.

    Basically, the way to get rid of nuclear weapons was to get more nuclear weapons.

    Let’s just say, I was not persuaded by his letter.
    There is only one scenario where I could see any logical argument for Scotland to retain nuclear weapons: that’s if they could be programmed to be aimed at Westminster, Whitehall and Downing Street.

    However, I believe the decision regarding nuclear weapons should be made by the people of Scotland, not by its politicians. I expect that the people of Scotland would vote to ban nuclear weapons from Scotland, and I think that would be the right choice.

  • Stevie Boy

    IMO, if the SNP are serious then they actually need to produce a manifesto and strategy for achieving independence, stating what they’ll do, when they’ll do it and how they’ll do it.
    What would a post independence Scotland look like ? Could it survive ?
    There are so many big issues that haven’t been addressed in a mature fashion. Trident, Oil, Currency, EU Membership are just four that stick out for me.
    Of course the regime at Westminster can be expected to fight tooth and nail and use every dirty trick in the book to prevent independence and it may come down to having to go down the Irish route to achieve independence. Are the Scots prepared to have a civil war ?

    • Andy Ellis

      I’m not sure conjuring the ghost of Civil War is a particularly good look, nor on the face of it should it be necessary. Of course in extremis it may be the case that any people with an iota of self respect would be expected to fight for their freedom if circumstances dictated that was the only means by which they could achieve their aim, but I doubt many Scots feel that is at all likely in coming years.

      Your argument (or at least the 4 issues you posit as requiring an answer) seems tendentious to me: anyone who thinks an independent Scotland is uniquely incapable of providing an adequate response on those 4 issues….or indeed the plethora of other issues which will need to be addressed….is never likely to be open to any rational argument that an independent Scotland would look better (or at least no worse?) than it does as part of the union, or that it could survive (or even….just imagine….thrive!?) as the worlds newest independent nation.

      From memory the Scottish Government produced a tome of several hundred pages prior to #indyref1 outlining its vision. The alternative, such as it was, from the self styled Project Fear was in effect not to convince us of the positive case for the union, but that Renton in Trainspotting was right about Scotland. It is not for the SNP to dictate what post indy Scotland will look like – thankfully given the current state of the party!

      The Scots people will decide what a better nation looks like. Either we have faith in its judgement and abilities or we don’t. If we don’t, it’s hardly likely we’d be supporting the idea at all, is it?

  • Tom74

    The nuclear weapons issue is one of many parallels between the present collapse of the American empire and its satellite states like the UK, and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. I suspect the present lockdowns in Europe are less motivated by concerns about public health than out of fear from the rulers that it might not all pass off as peacefully.

  • Stevie Boy

    How would the SNP address the catch 22 situation that the MIC has put Scotland in ? Namely, if you get rid of Trident then you in effect are getting rid of a major employer, so what are all those people going to do ?
    When Thatcher closed the pits it destroyed communities, some of which have never recovered. Would getting rid of Trident have a similar affect for Scotland ? What’s the backup plan ?

    • Andy Ellis

      This tired old argument gets no more convincing for constant repetition. How many jobs do you think an independent Scotland could generate using the current contribution it makes to the bloated UK defence budget of of £41.3 billion for 2020? That’s £3.7 billion (9% of the total per capita). Even if Holyrood continued to spend that much on defence (which is hardly likely I’d venture), imagine the number of jobs that could generate if spent in Scotland, on our own defence forces, prioritising use of Scottish resources as far as possible?

      Unless you advocating going for the Icelandic option and having no armed forces at all, Scotland would still need to build and maintain a navy, air force and army wouldn’t it? I’d certainly trust Holyrood further than I would Westminster to order and build ships for our navy in Scotland, or maintain those we inherit from rump UK. The money spent on WMDs by Westminster would be far better allocated to conventional forces in the UK generally, but that applies even more so for an independent Scotland: we could actually spend less on defence yet be more secure and better protected than we are currently as part of the UK.

      Look at what the Danes, Finns, Swedes etc spend on defence in relation to our current contribution, then tell me you think we’re better off in terms of security and high tech jobs than they are.

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