Trident

Keeping Faslane is “not credible”.

For the first time in quite a wee while, Downing Street seems to have spoken sense; I know, it’s crazy, I’m putting it down to this ludicrous heat. However, in a press statement yesterday, the Prime Minister’s office said that the UK containing to hold onto Faslane as a Sovereign Base Area in the event of Scotland seceding from the Union, was not ‘credible or sensible’. The statement comes in the aftermath of the Ministry of Defence said that moving the base would incur ‘enormous’ costs on both sides. The MoD plans were disputed by the SNP led Scottish Government, with Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, branding it “an outrageous attempt at bullying by the UK Government.”

“Whoops…” Image Credit, ITV 1, Taken from Munguin’s Republic

The MoD statement sparked fury in many other groups across Scotland, including the various anti-nuclear groups in Scotland, with many Scots taking to facebook and twitter to voice their concerns. The statement from Downing Street will come as quite a relief for those who support Scottish Independence, Downing Street also said that no such plans had been presented by the Defence Secretary and would likely not be approved if they had been.

However, whilst the incident seems to have been cleaned up, there is the sense of a bitter being left in the wake of this particular debacle. It raises the question of just what will happen to Faslane and other such sites around Scotland following independence, and just what the UK Government may pull next. It does however leave a stunning victory for the Yes Campaign, with constant calls that Westminster isn’t working in Scotland, and now we see the mess it is in with department spokespeople saying one thing for the department, whilst the Prime Minister says another and the Defence Secretary remains stunningly quiet.

None the less, it is indeed a relief, one less bat-shit mental UK policy to worry about is always a good thing. Anyway, that’s me done here, just a short little bit of news.

I’ve just finished packing my bags for my holiday now, all I need for two weeks on the North Coast packed into the back of the car, just the telescope to go in now, but that can be done tomorrow morning, when we have all the food in first. Needless to say, I may be a little lighter on the posts for the next fortnight, but hopefully I can keep you updated via twitter. And, of course, there will be plenty of photos when I get back.

Thanks for reading.

What to do about Trident?

Thankfully we have some cloud cover today and the temperature is staying around the mid-twenties, I might even decide to get our lawn done before we go away on holiday, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet – there are more pressing matters at hand. I was browsing my facebook, when an article on the Guardian newspaper popped up on my news feed, talking about MoD concerns regarding the Faslane Naval Base on the shores of the Gare Loch, in the Firth of Clyde, this base is the one that houses Trident, Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent. For those of you who have not seen the article, I shall include a link in the pretty picture below.

HMS Vengeance, Image Credit; Murdo Macleod, The Guardian News Paper.

HMS Vengeance, Image Credit; Murdo Macleod, The Guardian News Paper.

So, from the article, it would appear that the UK Government would seek to retain the Faslane Naval Base as sovereign UK territory following a ‘Yes’ vote, following the idea of their SBA (Sovereign Base Areas) in places such as Cyprus. This comes amid fears that dismantling the base and moving to somewhere in the remainder of the UK would simply be too costly, and that Scots would have to pay a share of the price for the removal.

There seems to be this idea in the UK Government that they can pick and choose the bits of Scotland they don’t want to separate, the referendum on independence means that, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote, Scotland would separate from the UK; this may have cause some confusion, but that means that all of Scotland ceases to be UK territory, regardless of whether the UK want it to or not.

It shows a clear lack of respect for the Scottish people on the part of the UK, telling us that we have to keep nuclear weapons on our shores, even when we have sent out a clear message that we want rid of them. And for the UK to then pull out the scaremongering stops even further than they have already, by telling us that we’ll have to pay to have them removed and that we can’t possibly afford to do that is utterly contemptible.

Now,  won’t go into too much detail, the article does quite a good job of that, but the fact that the UK government, has so far been unable to put an actual sum on the costs of removing the naval base simply reeks of a desperate bid to scare more Scots into voting ‘no’ in the referendum. Not only that but the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee was quoted as saying Trident “could be disarmed within days and removed within months.” Yet Westminster officials talk of a ten year lease to remove the base, the MoD have ‘no contingency plans.. being made to move trident out of Scotland.’

The fact is, that the UK Government insists that it would be able to, in effect, annex an area of a sovereign nation, simply to maintain its nuclear arsenal, and I seriously cannot understand why the UK feels this is a useful move, infuriate your new neighbour as soon as he moves in, great plan. It is the UK’s nuclear arsenal, it is the UK’s submarine fleet, it therefore stands to reason, that the UK should take custody of it and put it within its own borders, without resorting to stealing land simply because you don’t like the cost.

Oh yes, the cost too. We are told that decommissioning moving the base would have a cost running into the ‘tens of billions’ and that is simply untenable, yet the cost of maintaining the fleet and weapons systems is roughly £114 billion per year, and somehow that is perfectly doable. It therefore almost makes sense just to scrap it altogether and have an extra £114 bn. floating around each year, but of course the UK likes pretending it is still a world superpower, so we won’t see that any time soon.

We are then told that Scotland would have to pay for Trident to be moved, well, as I recall, it is the UK’s fleet, hence it is the UK’s problem. Further to that, if you’ll also recall, Scotland is overwhelmingly in support of nuclear disarmament and never asked for Trident, or in fact Polaris before that, and her people have campaigned on several occasions to have it removed from their shores. But of course, Westminster knows best, and Westminster likes Trident where it is.

To me, this whole thing stinks on so many levels, they scare Scotland into thinking it’s too expensive to get rid of (and naturally independence would mean we had to get rid of it, so vote ‘no’!), they tell us that they will effectively annex Scottish territory to store WMDs, and, in doing all of that, ignore the calls of the Scottish people to get rid of nuclear weapons. The Scottish people are being bullied and ignored, and frankly it is getting a little irritating.

As usual, please feel free to continue the debate and ask questions in the comments section below. I’m off for lunch now, in an attempt to abate my rage… maybe mowing the lawn might be good for me. Thanks for reading.