Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed the commitment to remove the nuclear weapons system (Trident) from Scottish waters at the soonest possible date following independence.
Earlier this week a report by Centreforum urged the UK Government to cancel the “nonsensical” replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system and use the money to “revitalise” the armed forces.
Linda said “A key advantage of independence is that it is the only constitutional option which gives Scotland the powers to have Trident removed from Scottish waters, and we believe that the Westminster Government will wish to act on this and withdraw Trident as quickly as possible in these welcome circumstances.
“Majority Scottish opinion, our churches, the Scottish Trade Union Congress and Civic Society, all oppose Trident – and the Scottish Parliament has voted against its replacement – yet the UK Government wants to use Scottish taxpayers’ money to pay for these weapons of mass destruction while cutting conventional defence.
“Renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system will cost £100bn over the next 20 years – it cannot be right that we proceed with its procurement whilst simultaneously slashing budgets, cutting funding to care for our most vulnerable people and putting the recovery of our nation at risk.
“As Centreforum’s report underlines, from being a supposed deterrence during the Cold War, Trident has itself now become one of the biggest defence risks we face with the cost of replacement threatening the future of conventional forces and bases.
“While conventional forces have been cut, run-down and overstretched, with 10,500 defence job losses in Scotland and a £5.6bn underspend over the last decade, Trident has been treated as some sacred cow by the UK Government.
“The decision to scrap Nimrod has left the UK without any marine patrol aircraft – creating massive military and search and rescue capability gaps. The UK is now the only country not to have such capabilities amongst our near neighbours and the capability gaps leave the UK unable to meet its treaty obligations in Search and Rescue.
“No example better illustrates the bad decisions that the MoD is making than the decision to scrap the Nimrod fleet. After spending billions on their renewal, the destruction of these state-of-the-art aircraft was an act of gross vandalism and a scandalous waste of public money.
“It is appalling that, whilst the Westminster government is forging ahead with cuts to basing and personnel, they can find the money for a nuclear weapons system that offers no meaningful defence to the threats we face in the 21st century. The UK government has its priorities all wrong when our conventional, front-line forces face redundancy, while the Trident nuclear weapons system gets renewal.
“Any way you look at it – on moral, financial, or defence grounds – renewal of Trident is completely untenable in the face of these redundancies. A normal country with the power to decide its own defence and security policy would never be pushed into this crazy situation. Scotland must have independence to determine its own priorities, rather than have somebody else’s imposed on it.”