Yes vote prospect puts Trident’s jacket on a shoogly nail

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By David Mackenzie

Yesterday, just as the sun came out, the Spring Walkers turned the last bend into the North Gate entrance to Faslane, their bright banner and standards adding the final touch to a scene already made colourful by 60 yards or so of pink knitting by the Wool for Weapons enthusiasts.  Then the sound.  The honking horns of passing cars, the hoots and clapping of the welcoming crowd, the singing from Protest in Harmony.

By David Mackenzie

Yesterday, just as the sun came out, the Spring Walkers turned the last bend into the North Gate entrance to Faslane, their bright banner and standards adding the final touch to a scene already made colourful by 60 yards or so of pink knitting by the Wool for Weapons enthusiasts.  Then the sound.  The honking horns of passing cars, the hoots and clapping of the welcoming crowd, the singing from Protest in Harmony.

The hopeful, upbeat atmosphere is not accidental.  With a Yes vote in September’s referendum now looking more and more possible, Trident’s jacket is on a shaky nail.

Nuclear disarmament has to date been high on the independence agenda as one of the key issues that pushes our vision for Scotland beyond laudable Nordic-style social improvement to something more radical.  There is also growing awareness that the anti-Trident aim is not NIMBY.  If we kick it out of the Clyde it has nowhere to go.

Recent weeks have seen the inept attempt by Westminster, through a deliberate senior leak, to link Trident to the currency question.  Although there was a little delay while the Scottish government dealt first with the question of the pound, they did in time make a strong statement to the effect that Trident removal is not negotiable.

This was underlined by Nicola Sturgeon at the recent Spring Walk rally in Glasgow.  The SNP position on NATO is both worrying and bizarre but it was again cheering to hear a senior member of our government fix herself so firmly to the disarmament cause.

None of this is accidental, either.  Trident is not on the agenda by default.  The fact that it features so prominently is down to hard and persistent work by lots and lots of people.  Those who will potentially be elected representatives in an independent Scotland have to be reminded time and again that they have a constituency that is watching their every move to ensure that their anti-Trident stance remains unwavering.

The issue must also remain visible to the public at large.  Although only 30 miles from Glasgow Faslane and Coulport are still relatively out of sight.  The most likely palpable contact people will have is with the warhead convoys. 

The convoy monitoring network Nukewatch UK 1 has been putting a renewed effort into tracking the movements of these huge trucks and to alerting the public to their existence.  This has begun to pay off with increased call-ins from “random” spotters and concerns being raised among communities along the routes.  It is time to cease allowing this appalling traffic to skulk relatively unnoticed along our roads and instead to hoot and hound it as it goes.

One important part of the work has not yet even been tackled.  There is considerable global interest in the potential impact of UK disarmament via Scottish independence but it needs to be more vocal.  We have to persuade these global supporters that their intervention and support is vital.  Ideally there will be delegations to Holyrood and widely publicised statements of support.  This will also have a huge spin-off benefit of connecting us to that wider world beyond the narrow parochial bond of the Western cosa nostra.

The currency-for-Trident ploy raises the question of how far, in the event of a Yes vote, Westminster will go to retain the nuclear weapon status quo.  Among prevalent speculations is the idea that when they realise they are without effective surrogates in the new Scotland the dark interior of the state will roll out its arsenal of dirty tricks and heavy intimidation.  There is also the notion that the task is just too big, too revolutionary – let’s be realistic, folks.

At the other extreme there is the belief that there is a significant element of the establishment, including many in the military, retired or otherwise, who might be very happy with an outcome that rids the UK of an outdated, useless and expensive totem without they themselves having to take the blame from the Daily Mail.  After all, so many of their tigers have already turned out to be rather papery.

These are only guesses.  We don’t know.  And if we don’t know what do we do?  Decide not to give that door a real push because we believe it is stuck fast for ever or because we worry something monstrous lies behind it?  For myself the push is the only option. 

It’s a win/win. The monster behind the door scenario means the critical exposure of the cruel and pitiless reality of a state prepared to threaten mass murder in its own interests . The effective shove gives us what we want.

http://Nukewatch.org.uk Call 08454588365 if you spot a convoy