Monday, 18 July 2016

Dropping Billions on the Bomb

The Westminster parliament will vote today to renew the Trident missile system. We know it will vote that way because the Tories and most of the Labour Party support the renewal. In 2007, MPs backed "Tony Blair's bid to spend between £15bn and £20bn" on new submarines to carry the Trident Missiles.

As always happens with major defence projects, Tony Blair's £20 billion turns out to have been an under-estimate. CND's latest estimate is, er, more than ten times that amount at £205 billion.

These estimates are how it looks today. We can be sure that if we renew Trident, and then look back 40 years from now, the spend will be substantially more.

In 40 years, assuming an accident does not happen.

Westminster's atomic bombs are housed west of Glasgow. Upwind of Glasgow. So when there is an accident, a leakage, a wee dropped component or weakened gasket that releases nuclear material into the atmosphere,  it will endanger the entire Central Belt - most of the population of Scotland.

And an accident will happen. As submariner William McNeilly pointed out two years ago, the human errors in safety systems meant that Trident is a "disaster waiting to happen."

And the cost! George Kerevan writes an excellent piece in today's National describing the hidden costs of the atomic bomb. Even if the cost were not to rise - even if CND's maths is wrong and we were just spending the £23 billion that the MoD claims - those are billions that are not being spent on hospitals, on schools or on people living in poverty. Each of these alternatives would produce more prosperity than dropping billions on the bomb.

For Scotland, Trident is worse than useless. As a piece of defensive equipment you'd do better to toss your Sgian Dubhs into the Clyde.

The military threats to Scotland are not going to be answered with an atomic bomb.

Because the bomb is a moral outrage, a weapon that would kill millions of civilians and destroy millions of hectares of land. For what? So that the other side could lob a bomb at us, at Faslane, in turn destroying most of Scotland's people and land.

Despite the cost, despite the uselessness, despite the potential for killing the people of Scotland, Westminster's English MPs will vote today to impose Trident on Scotland. Scotland is abused and degraded by this decision.

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