How Trident could prove the British state’s Waterloo

waterlooIn 1815, harried across continental Europe, driving on through rain and storm, suffering the beginnings of a fatal stomach cancer and facing improbable military odds on the field at Waterloo, Napoleon, once the proudest and most brilliant leader of his age, had finally exhausted a very good run.

A few years ago, this article could have taken as its starting point a very different hackneyed metaphor. The British state’s ‘Achilles heel’, perhaps, with Trident’s (mis)fortunate confluence with the Scottish national question representing an unusual weak-point in the body of the famously robust British regime.

But as everyone already knows, the detonation (or at least triggering) of the UK’s multiple social, economic, class and national antagonisms by the Brexit vote leaves the UK staggering on in agony, carrying more than one or two tumours (perhaps in the grotesque forms of Messrs Gove and Johnson among others) in its rotten belly.

To recap the situation as it stands an overwhelming majority of MPs, 477, voted to renew the weapons system. The only Scottish MP to vote for renewal, David Mundell, is of course also the only Tory MP in Scotland, and a member of the government supposedly (laughably) representing Scotland.

The upshot of all this is that the new weapons system will have to be painstakingly installed on the Clyde, 20 miles from Scotland’s largest city with the Scottish Parliament, Scotland’s contingent of MPs, Scottish civil society and the nation’s population firmly in opposition. Needless to say the outcome of this is farce, the most likely product of which will be that Scotland is pushed yet closer to independence.

The upshot of all this is that the new weapons system will have to be painstakingly installed on the Clyde, 20 miles from Scotland’s largest city with the Scottish Parliament, Scotland’s contingent of MPs, Scottish civil society and the nation’s population firmly in opposition. Needless to say the outcome of this is farce, the most likely product of which will be that Scotland is pushed yet closer to independence.

The contradiction of the impasse is so sheer that it folds back on itself – the chief condition for the ending of Trident being Trident renewal, the doing of Trident the undoing. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the UK being disarmed of WMD any other way (which is why Scottish CND policy remains implacably for independence).

We cannot know what figures like May and Michael Fallon discuss in private, but it is curious that so far the Conservatives seem to be marching with vigour into yet another national catastrophe unaware at least of the extent of the danger. During the parliamentary debate, May called not renewing the useless nuclear weapons system a “reckless gamble”, in a speech aimed at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, when the real danger to re-armament comes from elsewhere.

But then for now at least the myopia seems panoramic, with many of the forces pushing for autonomy, anti-militarism and a fruitful confrontation with the British state also seemingly underestimating the potential of the Trident clash.

I’m not talking here about the longstanding organisation of the anti-nuclear weapons movement, CND (and its autonomous Scottish branch), which marshaled an historic demonstration in London in February, nor the scrap-Trident coalition, brought together by veteran and young activists in recent years to face the specific threat of renewal, nor organisations which have kept up non-violent direct action against the nuclear weapons over many years such as Trident Ploughshares and the Faslane peace camp.

Nor even am I talking about Scotland’s governing party. On the eve of the last Scottish CND conference before the expected vote for renewal in November 2015, the SNP’s Westminster Defence Spokesperson, and the MP for the constituency that houses the weapon’s system, Brendan O’Hara called for a “people’s movement” of resistance against Trident renewal, and said that it was only a matter for the people to decide whether to deploy direct action.

Rather, the people who must become roused to the golden opportunity for forcing perhaps the final confrontation over the UK’s nuclear weapons are the much broader movement in Scotland for independence and against Trident. These forces, swelled considerably by the independence movement of 2012-14, have driven subsequent political developments including the historic decision of the Scottish Parliament to oppose Trident and the election of a large majority of anti-Trident SNP MPs.

This is the constituency that can not only launch a new resistance to Trident renewal, but invite those from across the UK and around the world who want to deal the first major blow against the global proliferation of nuclear weapons. A new generation of nuclear weapons means a new generation of resistance.

That means resistance on a greater level than before, and all the requisite opportunities now present themselves.

As alluded to before, the process of actually implanting the new weapons system in Scotland could, and should be agonising.
Imagine every convoy blockaded, at several points on the road.

As alluded to before, the process of actually implanting the new weapons system in Scotland could, and should be agonising.
Imagine every convoy blockaded, at several points on the road.

Imagine a permanent, encamped, ring of steal that could be constructed around the nuclear weapons base, with hundreds or thousands of demonstrators from around the world maintaining a permanent vigil.

This could involve not only a physical presence – but constant online monitoring and citizen journalism, with a new network of correspondence opening up from the Clyde to Japan, India and France, the US and Russia, and everywhere else where the scourge of nuclear arms threatens world security and gobbles up valuable resources.

Of course, any obstacles that the Scottish Parliament can throw in the way of Trident renewal, such as withdrawing permission for the MOD to use Scotland’s roads, would be welcomed. But the most vital conflict is not the one between parliaments or parties, but the conflict that ultimately transpired in 2014, between the moral justice of the people and the arrogance and brutishness of the British state.

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  1. Frann Leach says:

    I am fairly sure that the renewal is scheduled for 2020 at the earliest, by which time, surely, there will be no access into our sovereign territory?

  2. Crubag says:

    I think the latest opinion poll – if you can trust such things- on this shows slightly more Scots favouring renewal (43% to 42%).

    Interestingly, suoport for renewal has gone up in recent years, perhaps reflecting a more uncertain world.

    But the SNP has ducked this argument, no doubt reflecting that many of the voters want to keep it. Trident renewal was not a material change in circumstances.

    Mind you, leaving the EU was, and I suspect that will be ducked too, due to uncertainties over cross-border trade and Scots own ambivalence to EU membership.

    1. jimnarlene says:

      “Scots own ambivalence to EU membership.”

      60+% in favour of the EU, is ambivalent? I don’t think so.

      1. nick says:

        ambivalence in that pro europe ‘rhetoric’ (politics) but anti-europe neoliberalism (economics) perhaps?

      2. Crubag says:

        When it was the status quo (and according to polling that included a third of 2015 SNP voters). When we have to vote to re-enter, almost certainly on less favourable terms than current UK membership, I could see it going lower. A headache for the strategists – a multiple choice referendum perhaps to account for pro-indy plus (no EU membership), pro-indy minus (EU membership and loss of controls), and status quo? Or two referendums?

        And because we don’t know what the terms of a new trade deal with the rEU will be, I can see the SNP holding off on any second referendum until it becomes clear – Republic of Ireland is the canary in the mine there. If there is a hard border, then the same would apply to an indy minus Scotland.

        This means the SNP could be going into the next election on the basis that continuing membership of the UK is an acceptable outcome, rather than independence with or without membership of the EU.

        1. bringiton says:

          And the relevance to Trident is?

          1. Crubag says:

            That Trident is less of an issue than EU membership, which itself is not enough to trigger indy 2.

    2. Gelert's ghost says:

      The opinion poll in question was a singular anomaly and featured a leading question; weigh this against an overwhelming body of polls showing a majority of Scots are against Trident.
      And with more than 60% of Scots voting to remain in the EU, we can hardly declare the result “ambivalent”. Are you Jackie Baillie?

      1. Steven Milne says:

        How many of the Scots who voted Remain understand the impact of Scotland outside the UK being forced to reduce annual deficit from 9% of GDP to 3% in order to join the Eurozone? The opt outs negotiated by successive UK governments are extremely unlikely to be available to Scotland applying to join the EU from outwith the UK.

        1. Frann Leach says:

          Scotland currently operates without a deficit on just a portion of its actual income the remainder being hidden as English income (whisky for example) or requisitioned to carry out projects like Houses of Parliament renovations, the Olympics (though they made no contribution to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow), HS2, London sewers, London Crossrail yada yada yada.

          1. Steven Milne says:

            I am afraid that what you are saying is simply not true.

            Scotland currently has a budget deficit >9% which is higher than any EU nation, even Greece.

          2. Frann Leach says:

            The Scottish government is not allowed to run a deficit. That’s why they’re always within budget. This 9% is a made up figure. Remember that Westminster removes a portion of the money we send them before sending it back as well.

        2. bringiton says:

          A lot of assumptions here.
          We are in a Rumsfeld moment where there are unknown unknowns which are more likely to apply to England outside the EU than Scotland remaining in.

        3. Melville Jones says:

          Scotland as an independent country would be keeping all the tax and duty on various. Scottish products in Scotland. When Faslane has no nuclear subs, the oil field between Arran and the Clyde estuary can be developed, and according to the senior officers of the American Reserve, and the Govenor of the Bank of England are of the opinion that Scotland can be one of the wealthiest small countries in the world.
          In these circumstances all the lies told by the Unionists that Scotland are seen to be just that. They may not realise they are lying, as academia in England, most of the Tv broadcasters and virtually every newspaper in Britain believes the same!. Thank God for The National!

          1. Steven Milne says:

            The opinions you referred to were back in the halcyon days when the oil price was north of $100 per barrel.

            The subsequent collapse in price would have a devastating impact on the economy of an independent Scotland in the short to medium term.

            In the longer term Scotland could certainly be a rich country, regardless of oil prices, if it followed the free market example of Singapore and Switzerland. However most of the pro Independence voices seem to favour the example of Greece and Venezuela. Socialist economic policies have NEVER led to prosperity.

          2. Melville Jones says:

            Steven,
            These comments were not made about the case for independence with high oil price, or as you call them , the halcyon days.
            The comments from the Federal Reserve and the Govenor of the Bank of England were made within the last week.
            With no tax or duty on any Scottish produce leaving Scotland, and the development of the West coast oil field, without having to contribute to a cross London rail line, and having a government that cares about Scotland, rather than wealthy Tory voters and big international businesses, will create such a different country.

        4. Muscleguy says:

          Sigh, nobody can be forced to adopt the Euro. Sweden hasn’t, neither has the Czech republic. Andorra on the other hand uses it despite not being in the EU.

          In order to adopt the Euro you must have an independent currency stable in ERMII for at least 2 years. Sterling is not in ERMII and an independent Scottish currency pegged to Sterling will not be in ERMII.

          This idea that Scotland will be forced into adopting the Euro is wrong. It was wrong back in 2014 and the answer is still wrong.

          Either you are woefully misinformed or you are a propagandist. Which is it?

    3. Legerwood says:

      I am surprised you state that support for renewal of Trident has increased in recent years.

      The front page story in the Herald on 13th July detailed the result of a UK-wide poll which showed support for renewal at 44.6% DOWN from 54% in a similar UK-wide poll in January 2016.

      Renewal still exceeded scrapping but the support for scrapping had RISEN compared to the results in January.

      1. tartanfever says:

        The information being used by media outlets is from the ‘What Scotland Thinks’ organisation run by John Curtice. There are only two polls used in the methodology, a Guardian one from Dec 2014, and a Scotsman poll from last month.

        The question being asked in the poll is:

        “Trident, the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons system, is based in Scottish waters. Would you rather it was scrapped or maintained?”

        Note how the phrase is not ‘renewed’ but ‘maintained. This gives the impression that it’s somehow already paid for, and as it’s already here, why not keep it.

        Ask a different question which uses the words or phrases ‘ renewed at a cost of £200bn over it’s lifetime’ and I’m sure you will get a very different response.

        Likewise, you could ask, ‘ Currently we have no Royal Navy vessels patrolling Scottish coastlines. Given the fact that we receive frequent visits from Russian Naval vessels, should we be renewing Trident at the expense of conventional forces that allow foreign naval powers to enter territorial waters unchallenged ?’

        Yes, a long winded question and very leading, but I bet the response you would get would be completely different to what we are being told is the Scottish attitude towards Trident. And I should say that although leading, my question is absolutely accurate.

        1. c rober says:

          Clyde oil.

          The Geology of the area means less expensive vs offshore proper , with an extra positive of shale gas , where piping can mean powering Hunterston extension and retrofitting turbines for cheap power , thus reducing manufacturing costs.

          But as other have noted as long as Trident remains that will never happen.

          The tru reason why oil is at such a low price , yet energy prices and vehicle fuel somehow has crept up , is to attack Russia economically to drive out Putin , aided by the Saudis , whom also see this as a way to settle old scores with their own neighbours , those once empowered by Russian weapons.

  3. Andrew Wilson says:

    43%/42% is clutching at straws. What question was asked ? Margin of Error? Sample size? Source of opinion? Plus pollsters have zero credibility, especially Survation where these figures were pulled from.

    WMDs are abhorrent and are useless, if we ever needed to use them the world would be on the verge of mass depopulation. Russia & US have thousands of warheads, UK 200. Trident cannot be fired by UK alone, it needs the input from US and with advances in technology, by the time this is upgraded it will be obsolete. What a colossal waste of money, like some old boy going through a life crisis and buying a Porsche.

    1. Crubag says:

      Why do you think the SNP ruled it out as a “material change” triggering a second referendum?

      They know public opinion is divided.

      1. Crubag says:

        Hence the rethink on membership of NATO, which has a first strike policy.

    2. tartanfever says:

      Andrew, see my post above.

      Here’s the link to the ‘What Scotland Thinks’ website for info.

      http://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/should-trident-be-scrapped-or-maintained#line

  4. John Fullerton says:

    Good article: there are certainly all manner of methods to resist the replacement of Trident, including possible new traffic regulations, limits on load-bearing, public safety issues etc. to say nothing of a physical blockade. By the way, it’s ring of steel, not the ‘ring of steal’ (after all, stealing is the prerogative of the Tories’ imperial fantasies personified by Boris Johnson)

  5. Graeme McCormick says:

    Given the reported even split in Scottish opinion as to the replacement of Trident a semi permanent mass protest at Faslane would be counter productive to the cause of Independence. Nuclear weapons in Scotland will only be removed if we gain Independence or the UK government accepts it can’t afford them. As pride will get in the way of the alternative we must concentrate our efforts in securing independence.

    Much more needs to be done to undermine the perceived economic benefit of the nuclear element of Faslane. That requires far more effective challenge by politicians to Unionist claims including the SNP government finding common cause with the service personnel and their families and the civilian workforce ranging from local support to families; a relocation package to the 85% of service personnel who are based at Faslane but live in the South; a robust and detailed alternative defence policy and the development of the Clyde Global Port so that civilian ship building, repairing and complimentary activities offer a real employment alternative to the Base.
    According to Jim McColl the Clyde still has all the expertise and skills to build big merchant ships but we are at a tipping point and if not developed in the next five years or so these skills will be lost.

  6. nick says:

    sounds great what you are proposing – massive political escalation/education thro action

    without scotland (which faces the oceanic depths) england only has ports facing shallow inland seas (irish sea, north sea, channel) – this means operationally that without deep water the subs are sitting ducks until they can get to deep water i.e. Trident means UK and never independance (ever)

    1. Melville Jones says:

      Nick,
      The last time I looked, Plymouth has deep water, almost the same as Faslane.
      It is almost as near the deeper waters of the North Atlantic . Of course, no one in England wants nuclear weapons anywhere near them, even though a base for the new subs would bring economic benefits to Devon. Might this be because , as Mrs May so chiilingly answered, yes she would press the button to deploy Trident even if it killed thousands of innocent people.
      It would seem that Mrs May is prepared to sanction killing most of the population of Scotland, but refuses to move the subs to Plymouth , where Tory voters would be killed.
      This is the most disgusting thing any politician has said in my 69 years on earth.
      The sooner an independent Scotland can tell Westminster to remove the subs and missiles to a coastal base outwith Scotland, the safer Scotland will be!

      1. nick says:

        its also the busiest sea lane in the world!

        seriously Trident only works if it has access to deep water

        trident is/was never about a serious military strategy/threat

        its function is a non-productive industrial strategy to soak up investment that would otherwise increase productivity (competiteveness) and so reduce profits – please see Arrighi ‘the long 20th C) and in the past this strategy was used as conspicuios consumption not military hardware – Arrighi argues for instance that the renaissance was just such a funneling of surpluses to non-productive uses)

        secondly it is political – Empire served to keep the working class loyal, a form of sport (cicero’s circuses) and the above strategy also ‘bribes’ various interest groups in compliance

    2. David Allan says:

      I suggest an alternate location – those rich Islands in the Channel , Jersey ,Guernsey or Sark easy access to North Sea , Atlantic etc. If and when we feeble Scot’s really agitate for removal.

      I wouldn’t imagine those in the Channel Islands would be so passive in their resistance to such a proposal.

    3. David Allan says:

      I suggest an alternate base Location – those rich Islands in the Channel , Jersey ,Guernsey or Sark easy access to North Sea , Atlantic etc. If and when we feeble Scot’s really agitate for removal.

      I wouldn’t imagine those in the Channel Islands would be so passive in their resistance to such a proposal nor would they fall so tamely for the myth of economic benefits!.

  7. bringiton says:

    I am not sure that the economic arguments are what sways the retain view of many Scots.
    They have a vague notion that somehow Trident is a deterrent and that only left wing nuts are opposed to that position.
    Of course,as we saw yesterday,the Westminster establishment has no intention of allowing that particular debate to take place because their case is based,not on military advice but political expediency (place at top table blah blah blah).
    They see the threat to our security as them no longer being paid much attention to by the rest of the world (Europe excluded) and Trident is the big stick that will continue to give them that “respect” (a bit like members of a street gang).
    We continue to pay the price for the British empire mentality.
    Rule Britannia.

    1. Gordon says:

      Trident is a weapon of offence, not defence or deterrence. It is designed to intimidate any country in the world subject to imperialistic Americans coveting their natural resources. We will be the proxy-agents of threat, expected to bow to their wishes through the ‘special relationship’. The only relationship I see with America is that we are both Anglophone.
      It is a weapon of threat and attack in that it tours the oceans of the world unseen and available to the US at any time or place in the world.
      Since WWII, America has been directly responsible for the deaths of over 4 million citizens of other nations (3 million in Viet Nam and 1 million in the Middle East) and indirectly responsible for hundreds of thousands of others (through birth malformations in Japan, Agent Orange stillbirths and malformations in Viet Nam, cancers in Iraq from the depleted uranium used in shells and indirectly through sectarianism unleashed initially in Iraq and spread to the rest of the region due to the public hanging of a dictator who had kept the lid on things). In my 78 years of life I have hoped to see the US reach some form of civilised relationship with the rest of the world. As a country, it is only a few hundred years old and maybe in another hundred they will learn that all lives in the world over have equal value, but I have abandoned hope with the emergence of Donald Trump.
      With this in mind, why on earth can’t we ally ourselves with some of the older, civilised countries of Europe or Asia and rid ourselves of the requirement to possess this weapon? As an older country than England, maybe Scotland can do it.

  8. Annette says:

    [Imagine every convoy blockaded, at several points on the road.]

    I urgently advise all organisations involved in this issue to get in touch with the resistance movement against the Gorleben nuclear dump in Germany, as they have staged exactly this kind of protest on a large scale numerous times. They would be able to give much advice.

    1. David Jamieson says:

      Yes Annette – this is exactly what we need. We could learn a lot from anti-nuclear movements around the world.

  9. Coul Porter says:

    The Sunday Herald has, on at least two occasions, published a list of MOD Health & Safety transgressions at Faslane, and has stated that SEPA is frustrated by its inability to prosecute a Government Department.

    Might I suggest that the cavalier attitude of Westminster should be exposed at every opportunity, an attitude that goes back to the deliberate poisoning of the island of Gruinard, and arguably further.

    Evidence would suggest that those in whom the ‘march-up-and-down-bang-you’re-dead’ gene predominates are not normally of a magnanimous persuasion.

    Perhaps more emphasis on the inadequacies of the operational regime, at all levels, would register better with the public psyche rather than attempts to dismantle a stonewall.

  10. SimonB says:

    Though the SNP claim that the decommissioning of Trident is in the Party’s DNA, if members are not to be accused of NIMBYism it would be a remarkable spectacle if all spirited SNP MP’s (and other Party representatives) could be encouraged to follow the lead of thousands of civilians and descend simultaneously on the gates of Faslane, accompanied with D locks and a possee of international media.

    Though Trident represents a monstrous metallic phallus, threatening to spurt the most wicked death affirming karma on humankind, concentrated from all the bloody imperial misadventures of Britain’s past and present ‘glory’/ gory, such dark foreboding could inspire a 2nd Age of Enlightenment, securing the vision of Robert Burns in establishing a world of international brother and sisterhood, beyond this shameful age of fear and injustice.

    The four guiding words inscribed on the Scottish Mace at the heart of the Scottish Parliament, hewn from ancient knowledge and reaffirmed in the Scottish Enlightenment, are a solid foundation in which to build upon:

    Wisdom, Justice, Compassion, Integrity.

    Yet our tragic love affair with Trident, coupled with our current amoral economic system, with its mantra of endless economic growth on a finite planet, encouraging greed and further post-colonial misadventure, is utterly inconsistent with these guiding words.

    As a beacon of light to the World, which I hope will include these isles one day, Costa Rica became the first nation state to demilitarise, in 1949. Consequently, according to the research of the New Economics Foundation, the people of Costa Rica enjoy the highest quality of well being in the World and now have an average life expectancy greater than the Citizens of America.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    As come it will for all that,
    That Sense and Worth, o’er all the earth,
    Shall bear the gree (win the victory), and all that.
    For all that, and all that,
    It’s coming yet for all that,
    That Man to Man, the world o’er,
    Shall brothers be for all that.
    – Robert Burns

    https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/01/21/a-referendum-on-trident-diffusing-a-nuclear-bomb-with-the-click-of-a-wee-sleekit-mouse/

  11. Stoker says:

    Hi folks, can i ask everyone to add their support to the following petition and pass it on, get as many people as possible to sign it. It’s extremely important to all of Scotland and future generations.
    Scrap Trident http://www.snp.org/scraptrident

    Thank you all very much in advance for your support and commitment.

  12. David Sangster says:

    British possession of Trident has become a Cherished Belief, the outcome of having the mantra “Nuclear weapons make the world a safer place” chanted at us for three generations. No amount of reasoning, demonstrating, civil disobedience or anything else will change the mind of Believers. Theresa May’s slaughter of the 100,000 will probably be carried out posthumously, if it’s any consolation.

    1. Frann Leach says:

      I disagree. It’s a penis extension. Nothing more or less.

      1. David Sangster says:

        Is that why so many women like the idea of it, Frann?

        1. Frann Leach says:

          Women as a rule tend to think about consequences more rationally than men – in fact, in my experience, men tend to act before realising the likely outcome, as is evident from David Cameron’s actions over the past year or so. Women also have a tendency to think their children’s lives are important, so I guess may be more likely to not want a dangerous object on their kids’ doorstep. On the other hand, sexism has no place in a discussion about the rationality or otherwise of replacing an overpriced weapon which would be illegal to use because it is impossible to avoid killing large numbers of civilians with it.

          1. David Sangster says:

            Ahem, and just who was it that introduced sexism into the discussion?

  13. davie says:

    The real danger is that the conventional forces are over stretched and underfunded. Trident is an extravagance which even if it were truly independent couldn’ t stop Russia entering Nato territory.

    Mark Urban’s recent book categorically states that Russian conventional weaponry
    Is more modern and simply better than what Nato has to offer including the US ant Nato forces would be decimated if they tried to enter Russia proper.

  14. Melville Jones says:

    The greatest threat to Western Europe comes from terrorist organisations, and those who are not connected to terrorist organisation , but agree with them.
    Who’s is threatening England, or for that matter, the rest of The UK?
    To spend a sum , that no member of the Tory government will reveal, but is many billions of pounds, for a weapons system that we don’t actually control, since this still rests with the USA, to stop countries sending nuclear weapons towards the UK.
    Except they will either be sending them to stop governance and will kill millions in the south east of England, or will be aimed at Faslane to stop Trident being fired.
    This would kill about 80% of the population of Scotland.
    Either way, this is the most mindless decision made by more than 400 Westminster MP’s, to either kill themselves and most of south east, or most people in Scotland.
    They must be mindless morons, or so egotistical that they believe that Britain is a world power.

  15. Steven Milne says:

    Melville Jones

    Can you be more specific about how “a government that cares about Scots rather than the wealthy Tory voters and big international businesses” would create wealth in an independent Scotland.

    Would it increase or reduce taxes?

    Would it nationalise or privatise?

    Would it intervene in the economy or pursue a policy of intervention?

    Would it adopt tax and benefits policies to redistribute wealth from the richest to the less well off?

    Would it attempt to live within it’s means and pay down debt or pursue anti austerity measures where expenditure exceeds income?

    Are there any countries whose economic example we should follow? Greece? Singapore?

    I want to get beyond platitudes and down to the nitty gritty.

    1. John Page says:

      And what is your role to demand elucidation in this bumptious tone?
      And for what purpose? To divert attention from an article about Weapons of Mass Destruction onto your There is No Alternative (to neoliberalism) agenda.
      John Page

    2. Coul Porter says:

      Steven,

      Your catalogue of obfuscation seems to imply that choices should be binary. Good governance should be driven by economic and social needs – not a confrontational/polarity imperative. At that point, a choice becomes an option. The exception is, of course, Trident – it goes or stays.

      I would be quite happy to follow the economic example of Canada, where many of Scottish descent
      have prospered socially and economically.

      I’m no pedant but just for the record, one of the foibles of the English language dictates that ‘it’s’
      is not the possessive of ‘it’, but means ‘it is’.

    3. bringiton says:

      “Would it attempt to live within it’s means and pay down debt or pursue anti austerity measures where expenditure exceeds income?”
      Very good question Steven.
      It appears that the New Tory party is about to reverse Osborne’s crackpot and discredited economic policies and spend it’s way out of recession.
      We have been living with this nonsense since Thatcher decided to run the economy in the same way as a small business (grocer shop even).
      Why is it that a Scottish government has to have answers about whether the wind will continue to blow after independence but those questions are never asked of the government in London within the existing union?
      Certainly one country whose example we definitely would not want to follow would be England/rUK whose national debt under the Old Tories has grown from around £650 billion to £1700 billion.
      That’s the benefit of austerity.

    4. Melville Jones says:

      Steven, if you want to find the answers to your questions, find out yourself!
      I am not wasting my time answering a peurile set of questions from someone like you!

      1. Steven Milne says:

        Typical left wing response – fails to answer straightforward questions and resorts to personal abuse.

        1. Melville Jones says:

          Steven,
          Do you understand simple English.?
          You are supposedly sufficiently well educated to search the Internet for information.
          You ask a set of questions that you can easily find out the answers to.
          Why should I waste my time answering questions to which you can easily find the answers to?
          And if you find the rest of my response unacceptable I suggest keeping quiet in the future, because if you don’t, my response to your dim suggestions might easily become genuinely abusive.
          Why do you bother with a site which supports independence for Scotland when you are so firmly against this idea? Or are you intent on annoying anyone who disagrees with you, for your own personal satisfaction!

          1. Steven Milne says:

            The reason I ask these questions is because those who support independence are unable to answer them and I would hope that these people would have sufficient common sense to reevaluate their views when new evidence is presented.

            What generally happens is that cognitive dissonance kicks in and I am told that I should not be allowed to ask such questions .

            I am a rational person and have changed my views on many subjects when presented with new evidence. I could be persuaded to support independence if I received coherent answers to simple economic questions. This is what NO voters are looking for, as opposed to grievance mongering about “Westminster” and “Tories”.

          2. Melville Jones says:

            Right Steven,
            Let’s start again then.
            I am not a left winger in the way that you suggest, but I believe in a centre left agenda, rather than a right wing agenda.
            I am aware that the general consensus of the right, is that Scotland relies on Westmister for its economic stability , and this is an almost universal view of the population of England. This view is totally supported by right wing newspapers and journalism in England.
            If this were true, why is it that the Govenor of the Bank of England, and senior officers of the Federal Reserve in the USA, both support the view that an independent Scotland would be in the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world?
            You suggest that anyone can change their view based on new evidence. I agree!
            An independent Scotland would keep all the tax and duty from Scottish production, which currently goes straight to the Treasury in London. At the present time all whisky exports are shown as income to Westminster, rather than Hollyrood. And the several millions of pounds worth of whisky produced in Scotland, turns into billions of pounds when the whisky leaves Britain. So again, the Treasury gains money that should be part of the Scottish economy!
            Scotland would not be responsible to fund the new nuclear deterrent that more than 400 Westminster MP’s voted for, though, of course, only one Scottish, Tory MP.
            Scotland would not be contributing towards the cost of Cross Rail, a new rail line in the south east of England.
            The Scottish Police force would not have to pay VAT, which is currently has to do.
            Strangely, no English or Welsh police authority pay any VAT at all!
            Scotland could develope the new oil and gas field found off the west coast, which is currently not being allowed to develope because the Ministry Of Defence refuse permission as such developments would endanger the Vanguard subs currently based at Faslane.
            Is it not quite strange that Faslane seems to be the only site along the whole British coast that can safely house these subs? What about Plymouth, or Kingston upon Hull,
            or Portsmouth, or even develope a site along the Thames Estuary! According to the folk who live around Faslane, the benefits of having the sub base is what keeps the economy of that area of Scotland alive. Surely the same benefits would apply around any English site for the subs?
            After Brexit, we all live in an uncertain world. I believe that an Independent Scotland provides a better future for Scotland, than currently offered by staying as part of the Union.
            I believe that an independent Scotland, as part of the EU, can prosper, when it is no longer tied to the increasingly chaotic governance of Westminster, that for more than a decade has marched to a totally different tune to Scotland.

          3. Frann Leach says:

            don’t feed the trolls

    5. Wul says:

      Maybe we could introduce laws which stop wealth being stripped from public assets (land, tax receipts, energy sources, essential services etc.) and hidden off-shore?

    6. Robert Graham says:

      I used to be polite but after the last few years i really can’t be arsed f**k off back to the Scotsman where you belong .

      1. Melville Jones says:

        An independent Scotland would not be paying for Trident missiles and the subs. It would not be contributing to Crossrail in London. It would be keeping all the tax on oil/gas coming from Scotland, and the two new oil fields would contribute to the Scottish economy for many years to come.
        When eminent economists comment that an independant Scotland would be one of the wealthiest small countries in the world with its own natural assets, there is no reason to believe that taxes would rise other than through a general consensus in Scotland that there is a need to do so.
        The continual lies emanating from Unionists that Scotland cannot run its economy properly are now recognised by the majority of Scots as just that .

  16. Nell says:

    The U.S. Dept. of Defence has been trying for some time to dissuade the U.K. not to renew.

    Tony Blair said of trident, ” It is a huge expense, and, non existent in terms of military use”.
    But in the end he said, “It is too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”. As a historian, the British Empire died a long, long time ago…….

  17. c rober says:

    Deep water is usually the argument , however has no one been keeping their eye on the London SE container ports , the new ones? IF there is affordability for that , then there is affordability for putting the thing right next to where the policies are made for it.

    The economic argument for the Greater Helensburgh area is flawed , direct well paid jobs are for “incomers” only , and like minded ex service that want to push up house prices , enabling the last of the locals to profit and move to somewhere better.

    Anyone that has a drive around the area sees that it is basically a decaying seaside version of any non affluent area within Glasgow , served by a hospital that is forever under investigation for failures , including deaths. Its similar to other once heydays of seaside living in Scotland , Saltcoats , Largs , FIFE numerous , where affluence sits next to abject poverty and infrastructure has not improved , nor has any jobs been created other than temped minimum wage – this while housing gets out the low paid workers reach due to commuter executive housing being created in the burbs pushing up prices.

    There is no need for a post trident stategy for Helensburgh , just like there was no post shipbuilding strategy for Greenock across from it. Scotland is far too obsessed with investment into areas with little use for income , any money for investment should be into creating better motorway links between its cities instead.

    1. Graeme McCormick says:

      C Rober.

      Some of your comments are just factually wrong. House prices in Helensburgh and Lomond are not pricing local folk out of buying them. Most of the big houses are owned by folk who have no connection with the Base

      Our population has dropped by about 10% over the last ten years. House prices are 10 to15% less than Bearsden.

      As 85% of service personnel based at Faslane don’t live in Scotland they contribute nothing to the community and have little direct impact . A survey of local shops indicated that few derived much business from naval personnel.

      There is now a move afoot to develop the Lower Clyde into a global port which is the opposite over concentration of economic activity in our cities.

      Helensburgh has great potential for expansion and there are various ideas and projects in the mix.

  18. willie says:

    One has to suspect that the Spanish will be less than delighted that they nearly ended up with a pile of nuclear shit on the seabed off Gibraltar.

    Better to have a nuclear accident off the coast of Spain than Scotland though. Or should I more correctly say better to have a nuclear accident in Scotland than in Blighty.

  19. Robert Graham says:

    What will it take for people in this country to waken up ? , everything that affects us ,in our daily life is and has been determined by people outwith our borders with no interest in our well being who most of us will never vote for and fundamentally disagree with every single thing they believe .
    I saw a comment by someone just before our referendum on one of the indy sites and they said a whole segment of the Scottish population are just plain stupid and scared of their own shadow to vote for Independence , this brainwashing has been passed down through the generations and will be hard to overcome i just wish i could shake them awake , the daily junk the BBC pass as News here in the Scottish colonial region and never allowing rebuttal or comment on is a National disgrace that shames us all .

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