Scottish Green Party on the Indefensible

The Liberal Democrats are a third party. This means that they choose their policies not on principle, but because they distinguish liberal democrats from Labour and the Conservatives. But this distinction can never be firm enough to distance Liberal Democrats from centrist voters.

This is particularly the case in the south of England where Liberal Democrats are in close competition with Conservatives. Seventy five percent of Liberal Democrat target seats are held by the Conservatives. Pressure from right wing voters in England makes it difficult for Liberal Democrats to do the right thing on nuclear disarmament.

So when it comes to nuclear weapons, Liberal Democrats have backed off their previous opposition to the UK retaining and renewing Trident. Instead they are committed to a defence review. While this might recommend no renewal of Trident, it will defer a decision and mean retention of the existing Trident nuclear weapons.

In contrast Greens are committed to an immediate and complete decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear arsenal. This is both the right thing to do, and is likely to add momentum to international efforts for multilateral nuclear disarmament. Where Liberal Democrats have taken the cowardly option of retaining Trident until a review, Greens agree with the demand for an immediate decommissioning of nuclear weapons. This is because Greens are convinced that the retention of nuclear weapons is immoral.

Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate and therefore can never be used as a tool of just war. They are unable to be used against solely military targets, and cannot therefore be legally or morally employed as a weapon of war.

The strategic case for nuclear disarmament however, is also clear and recommends only immediate scrapping of UK nuclear weapons. Geopolitically there is no case for the UK to retain nuclear weapons. Where the major threat comes from groups that have neither defined territorial base, nor any identifiable military infrastructure there is no use for nuclear weapons.

At a time when cuts are at the forefront of Liberal Democrat policy it seems odd that the party is not willing to come out in favour of cutting Trident. The priorities of a party are clearly wrong if it entertains Trident renewal but is committed to cuts in frontline public services such as education and social care.

The moral case for abolishing Trident is clear. The strategic case for abolishing Trident is clear. The financial case for abolishing Trident is clear. Any party that has doubts over the need to abolish Trident now is clearly not committed to an ethical foreign policy or a peaceful world. Liberal Democrats have taken an unprincipled and opportunistic stance on Trident. This means they cannot and should not be trusted to deliver nuclear disarmament. If you want to see an end to the British nuclear arsenal, it is vital that you vote for a party with a principled opposition to nuclear weapons. The Greens have always opposed nuclear weapons and would move to rid the UK of Trident immediately.

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