By a Newsnet reporter
Delegates to the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s (SCND) conference in Glasgow this weekend have voted to support a resolution backing the YES campaign for Scottish independence.
Delegates supported the view that the only way to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish soil is through independence, and that Scottish independence also provides the best opportunity for scrapping the UK’s nuclear capacity.
Arthur West, chair of SCND, said: “The independence referendum provides a great opportunity not just to remove Trident from Scotland, but to achieve nuclear disarmament in Britain… On the issue of nuclear disarmament, our advice is to vote YES.”
The decision of SCND to support the YES campaign represents a major shift in strategy for the veteran peace organisation. During its long history the organisation has always attempted to be non-partisan and non-party political, however it has always been more closely associated with the political left and once counted prominent Labour figures amongst its supporters.
Observers say that the vote in favour of affiliating with the YES campaign came as something of a surprise, the organisation had been expected to support the traditional view that SCND would work with both campaigns according to what they say on the issue of nuclear disarmament. However, delegates instead supported affiliating with the YES campaign, while recognising that individual members may wish to support the anti-independence campaign.
The vote in favour of affiliation to the Yes Campaign came as a result of bitter disillusionment with the official anti-independence “Better Together” campaign, which has nailed its colours firmly to the mast of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
Writing for the Jimmy Reid Foundation about the reasons behind the SCND’s historic vote, Robin McAlpine, editor of the Scottish Left Review, said:
“There are all sorts of dynamics involved but one overwhelming one; complete disillusionment with Better Together and its rhetoric. If anything it was probably pressure from some to ‘give Better Together the benefit of the doubt’ that pushed people in the other direction. There just isn’t any doubt, no room for interpretation, no lack of clarity.
“Better Together has pitched its tent wholly on ground marked ‘no inch given in our deference to the British State and its military, social and economic agendas’. Once again we see clear evidence that people who have come into politics and political campaigning with a clear and principled agenda are just about sick of being treated like they are daft.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Bill Kidd who is a Co-President of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), said:
“This is a very welcome endorsement from the Scottish CND.
“The truth is there to see – the only way to rid Scotland of these unwanted and unusable weapons of mass destruction is to vote Yes in 2014.
“The vast amount of tax-payers’ cash squandered by the Tory-led UK government on designing the new Trident system is a staggering waste of money.
“With the powers of an independent Parliament we could spend Scotland’s share of Trident spending on key public services.
“The vast majority of MSPs, as well as the churches, trade unions, and civic society across the nation totally oppose Trident nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.
“As recognised by the SCND, a key advantage of being independent is that it is the only constitutional option which gives Scotland the powers to have Trident removed from Scottish waters.
“The people of Scotland neither needs nor wants nuclear weapons of mass destruction – and with Labour siding with the Tories on Trident the only way we can rid our country of them is by voting Yes in 2014.”