Letter to the Glasgow Herald
Your political editor is correct in highlighting the nuclear weapons issue ("Few issues raise as much passion as that of whether to retain Britain’s nuclear deterrent,“ Herald, Glasgow, 29 May; http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/15314879.Defence__Few_issues_raise_as_much_passion_as_that_of_whether_to_retain_Britain___s_nuclear_deterrent/).
Theresa May spoke movingly on the steps of 10 Downing Street on Tuesday morning last week telling the nation: “All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people.” She stressed her abhorrence at the deliberate “targeting of innocent, defenceless children and young people.”
I agree with her.
But Mrs May, during the current election campaign, bluntly said she would press the button to launch Trident nuclear WMDs. Her defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, went one mad step further, saying he would support a nuclear first strike.
If the respect by the prime minister for the families of the injured and those grieving for the loss of life of at least 22 young people in Manchester is to be really sincere, Mrs May and her defence secretary should withdraw their pledge to use nuclear weapons.
They are totally indiscriminate, and if launched, could kill not 22 people, but immolate and incinerate 220,000 children and adults, with millions injured and maimed.
Next month at the United Nations in New York a treaty banning nuclear weapons worldwide will be agreed by over 100 nations. (http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/CRP1.pdf)
While the UK Conservative government has refused to take part in the negotiations, despite disingenuously professing to be in favour of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations- which is exactly what this process is all about! - it will have an impact on the Trident anyway.
Prudent political parties will be examining how jobs can be maintained at the nuclear submarine bases in Scotland, in long term care and storage before dismantlement, including the new work that will be required at the nuclear warhead storage depot at Coulport.
Less prudent politicians, including 'first strike' Fallon and his Labour Shadow, Nia Griffith, will continue to pontificate as if we are still in the coldest of cold wars in the 1950s, in their slavish support of Trident nuclear WMD renewal. (incidentally, the now pro-Trident Griffith was one of the 117 Labour MPs mentioned in the article as voting against Trident renewal in the House of Commons last July)
Defence and security issues should be debated in this realistic context, not the pro-Trident pro-first strike nightmare world.