Scottish Labour Ditches Opposition to Trident Renewal for UK election
As nuclear weapons go centre-stage in the UK General Election and in Japan, campaigners have criticised Scottish Labour for having one stance on nuclear weapons for Holyrood elections and another for UK general elections.
Scottish Labour adopted a position against Trident renewal in 2015 and fought the 2016 Holyrood elections on that basis. However, in its manifestos for the 2017 and 2019 general elections it toes the UK party line. The current version states: “Defence is a reserved issue and UK Labour continues to support the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.”
That’s a moral abandonment.
UK Labour’s stance was confirmed this week by Shadow Defence spokesperson Nia Griffiths on Radio Four’s Any Questions1 this week – the familiar emphasis on the need to maintain a “deterrent” to be able to negotiate for disarmament.
Following the formal signing of the ICAN Parliamentarian’s Pledge by SNP and Green MSPs, several Scottish Labour MSPs, including the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, signed the Pledge to ‘work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global public good of the highest order’. This is a serious commitment. Richard Leonard also attended the visit to the Parliament by ICAN CEO Beatrice Fihn and the photocall that was arranged by the Nuclear Disarmament CPG of which he is a member.
Lynn Jamieson, Chair of Scottish CND said:
“Time for politicians to change the tired old script, waiving around a threat of exploding nuclear bombs to destroy people and planet. It is a perversion of sanity that makes this seem like good leadership. Politicians should have the moral courage to be honest and tell uncomfortable truths. Trident wastes money that we don’t have to make us a target. The world is moving away from nuclear weapons – two thirds of the countries in the world have signed the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons since 2017 and so should the UK. We invite a change to the narrative from ‘will you press the button’ to ‘what steps will you to take towards global nuclear disarmament’, The majority of Scottish people don’t want 200 nuclear warheads based on our waters or anywhere. All politicians should keep this in mind.“
Janet Fenton, ICAN Liaison in Scotland said:
“In supporting the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it is Scotland rather than the UK, that is in tune with the world view. Any Nuclear weapons use or accident will be catastrophic for humans and for our planet. Scottish Labour needs to decide what kind of internationalist influence it wants to have.
Meanwhile Pope Francis, speaking of the need to eliminate nuclear weapons during his visit to Nagasaki, said: “We must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”