WMD, Jobs & the Union

vanguard7Last weeks announcement by the MoD that Scotland would now be the location for the entire nuclear submarine fleet couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Scottish people don’t want it, the military doesn’t want it, even the Tories don’t want it! So why as they face meltdown in the polls are Labour providing jobs in the mass murder business?

As one general announced:  ‘Ministry of Defence documents suggest that the seven Trafalgar class submarines currently based in Devon will be relocated to Faslane on the Gare Loch near Glasgow by 2015’ earlier in the same week  another general, Sir Hugh Beach, the former deputy commander-in-chief of UK land forces, summed up the UK’s Trident missile system: “It’s no bloody use. Let’s not waste money on it.”
Another of the top brass, Lord Bramall, has also recently  stated: “Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism. Our independent deterrent has become virtually irrelevant except in the context of domestic politics.”
In this contect Gordon Browns commitment to Trident 2 is not just anti-democratic but politicaly bizarre for his own desperate situation. The costs – an estimated minimum of £110 billion – is surely a guaranteed vote loser for any party struggling to contain national economic collapse. And it’s not just the STUC, the SNP, the Scottish Parliament and the general public that are against it – so are most of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Not only this but investigations forced into the public realm by FOI requests have shown that Faslane is a nightmare of safety, security and contamination. In its own internal reports and its complaints to Faslane, Sepa’s frustrations with the base’s handling of its repeated safety failings are made increasingly clear. They reveal a substantial breakdown in trust involving Sepa and Faslane’s commanders. Those anxieties culminated with the leak of radioactive effluent from HMS Torbay in February last year. That was the third leak into the Clyde in four years: waste had been discharged from HMS Trafalgar in 2004, and from HMS Superb in 2007 – an incident was only detected after the leak occurred.
As Rob Edwards has written: “After each earlier incident, Sepa had issued the MoD at Faslane with warning letters and each time the base had promised to improve its practices. But the Torbay incident suggested those promises had not been honoured: it was “of utmost concern as it demonstrates a number of inadequacies in radioactive waste management practices at HMNB Clyde, Faslane,” the agency stated. It represented “a failure by MoD to act in accordance with a number of the conditions set down” in a letter of agreement from 1993. The agency again wrote to Faslane, asking them to act as if Sepa had the same legal powers at the base as its does over Scotland’s nuclear power plants. “For incidents of this nature in the civil sector it is standard practice for Sepa to consider regulatory action such as an enforcement notice,” the agency told the MoD.”
As I said, bad timing.
Has this got anything to do with the fact that this same week a YouGov poll showed public support for the SNP is soaring on the eve of the second anniversary of the Party’s rise to power in Scotland? The lead is well ahead of anything the Party has experienced in recent months – seven points for Holyrood at constituency level and nine points for the regional list vote. The results showed the SNP at their best level for six months and Labour at their worst in that period. The English media and political classes may have convinved themselves that somehow the RBS fiasco has sunk the independence movement, itself an idea predicated on the deep-seated assumption and charicaterisation of Scotland as ‘subsidy junkies’, but the facts just don’t bear this up.
All of which leaves you with the profoundly disturbing question, is Gordon Brown gambling Britains nuclear defence to save the union? In a time of crisis this manipulation of peoples worst fears about job losses when he should have Britains strategic interests at heart is shockingly cynical.

Ian Bell writing in todays Sunday Herald puts it succinctly: “Labour is providing jobs in the mass murder business”.

“I have a little trouble when I hear the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland mock his Nationalist opponent with the formulation that nukes = jobs. Iain Gray said as much the other week. In the case of Faslane, the usual round number ranges between 10,000 and 11,000. That’s employment. But is also implies a lot of death for someone.

Who would that be? We’re not supposed to kill Russians, currently. It’s bad for business, and bad for the gas supplies. So we are offered Iranians, North Koreans, and – villains in the wings – some Pakistani Taliban who might make it to Karachi, and find “the Button”. So Scotland, as a wholly rational response, must become the home-from-home for our very own nuclear flotilla?

The risk of sounding predictable increases with the years, but I have seen the horrors come and go. No-one dared the first strike, not even Reagan. Even the insane declined the chance to go nuclear. Through it all, Britain spent extraordinary amounts on her force de frappe.

For defence? For a permanent seat on the UN Security Council? For the chance to be taken “seriously”, globally?

For the hope that this week’s terrorist would back off in the face of our puissance? Hardly.

It never made much sense. So the badly-kept secret concerning the nuclear boats, Scotland, and radioactive garbage feels like a political gesture. It smacks of provocation. How might an “anti-nuclear” SNP reject all those jobs? But why, alternatively, would a Westminster government implant a key defence element in a territory with a nationalist tendency?

Here’s why. Watch and hear. “Good news for the Clyde,” says Bob Ainsworth, minister for our armed forces. A “great move for Scotland,” says Jim Sheridan, another of those Scottish MPs you may have forgotten. A “great boost to Scotland”, says Iain Gray, from Holyrood. Immoral is of no account. Labour is providing jobs in the mass murder business.”

Bell, one of Scotlands finest journalists (in admiteddly an uncompetitive field) concludes:

“Is it still presumed that time-served people will discard morality for a shift? And is this a mere bribe?

Probably. There is a new kid on the block, nevertheless. President Obama is the latest American leader to declare that profoundly nasty weapons – whose mere possession qualifies as a war crime – have to go. Where is that in the Faslane story? Who down in the hilarious bunker – we know you’re in there, chaps – has begun to wonder about alternative uses for a Scottish work force?

When do we get to emerge from the dark ages? A “great boost to Scotland” is not, I think, an exercise in summoning the best-qualified extermination squad on the planet. Meanwhile, locking my country into the union might be better achieved through democratic virtue, if any, than by treating us as a mercenary clientele.”

Bell is another example of a good journalist beginning to see the light – now the honest members of the Labour Party should oppose their leaders suicidal policies or leave the party en masse and build an alternative politics for the new Scotland. Trident 2 is just another example of what being tied to the British State means in reality, Scotland being tethered to an imperialist agenda of a political state yearning for past glories instead of facing up to the challenges of today. This is true whether its the cluster bomb base in Leuchars, the annual bombing of Cape Wrath, the DU shelling at Dundrennan, the Raytheon base in Glenrothes or the multitude of secret military bases that pepper the Scottish countryside.

Bring on the referendum and we can put this madness behind us.

For all of SEPAS documents read Rob Edwards blog here.

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  1. Clydebuilt says:

    Aye labour are basing more nuclear subs here so they can claim they’re giving us jobs. But at the same time why is Brown going ahead with Trident replacement, and the 2 carriers. These carriers if ever built will be the first carriers britain’s built that wont be supplied with planes built in England. (will the planes cost more than the carriers?). At a time when the RAF have to limit flight hours for their fast jets. The navy can’t afford fuel for their ships. Why is brown re-arming.
    with American Trident missiles the 2 biggest carriers we’ve ever had supplied with American Planes. Does the economy of this country exist for any purpose other than to buy weapons from Uncle Sam. In my opinion the answer to this last question is yes.

  2. Clydebuilt says:

    Naw Naw Naw

    Ahem the last word in my previous comment should of course been No.
    Simple spelling mishtake.

  3. Ard Righ says:

    Damn Right!

    The root is simple, take your fucking weapons out of our country and play imperial war games on your own door step. Thameslane anyone.

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