All over Scotland on Saturday there were demonstrations against Trident renewal. In over 30 Scottish cities and towns, people marched in opposition to a nuclear weapons system which has the potential to destroy the entire country. If there were to be a serious accident involving Trident, just a few miles down the road from Scotland’s largest centres of population, the kill zone encompasses most the country. It would make Fukushima look like a road closure, and render the entire Central Belt uninhabitable for generations.
Trident has the potential to end the existence of Scotland. It could potentially make us extinct as a nation. Entrusting that kind of power to the hands of the serial incompetents who brought us the Iraq war and the farce of Brexit does not contribute to our safety, it does not help us rest easy in our beds at night as the nuclear convoys rumble through our streets in the dark of night. It’s the stuff of nightmares. It’s because we wish to rest easy in our beds that so many went out on the streets on Saturday to protest.
The House of Commons is due to debate renewal of the monstrosity on Monday. There’s little doubt that the House will vote to foist nukes on Scotland yet again despite the fact that the number of Scottish MPs who support renewal can be counted on the fingers of Captain Hook’s claw. And once again the claw grab is going to reach down to the Clyde and rip away any pretence that Scotland has any influence in this denighted Union. For the second time in less than a month a decision that Scotland doesn’t want and refuses to accept will be imposed upon us against our will, and as long as we remain within this supposedly most perfect union there is bugger all that we can do about it.
Trident is the viagra of an impotent British Empire, and there’s no way that the pricks of Westminster are not going to vote to renew their prescription. It’s the toxic phallus that guarantees the UK a place at the top table, even though it’s a clapped out middle ranking power which was on the edge of Europe before it voted last month to drop off. With their precious nuclear drug, the faded and forgotten stars of the world screen in the era of silent movies can still tell themselves that they’re deserving of a close up in the 21st century.
But think of the jobs! That’s the usual defence of Trident’s supporters. Well mainly Jackie Baillie, the MSP who is unclear on the difference between a weapon of mass destruction and a job creation scheme. Using the same logic you could argue against the criminalisation of burglary because it’s put thousands of burglars out of work. The figure for the number of jobs created by Trident is as inflated as the British governments estimation of the military effectiveness of the weapon, but the MoD was forced to admit that a mere 520 civilian jobs are dependent on the naval bases on the Clyde. Trident is going to cost the UK £205 billion, that works out at £390 million per job.
If the government was to spend £10 million per worker instead, it could give every one of those workers £1 million each and invest £9 million per worker in the local economy. The total amount spent would cost a tiny fraction of the amount spent on Trident and as a bonus Scotland wouldn’t be a prime target of Russian nuclear missiles or a risk of a nuclear accident that could render the country uninhabitable. The workers could retire comfortably, and there would be over £4.6 billion to invest in the local economy. It would be a whole lot more cost efficient, and there would be an economic boom in the Clyde instead of a nuclear bang. Everyone would be happy, except Jackie Baillie. You might say this is a fantasy, and it is, but so is the idea that Trident actually contributes anything to the defence of the UK.
Trident is not about creating jobs. It’s not about defending the UK. Trident is a weapon belonging to a distant age and answers a military need that has long since receded into history. Trident is really about creating the impression that the British Empire is still a force in the world. It’s about the vanities of Westminster politicians, not the security of the state or the economy of the Holy Loch. All that Trident defends is the ego of the likes of Liam Fox.
We’ve been going on marches and demos against Trident for as long as I can remember, since before I was born. Over 30 years ago I marched and protested, but here we are all these decades later and nothing has changed. I don’t want kids being born today to still be going on marches against the nukes on the Clyde when they get to my age. That’s how it is for Scotland within the UK, a story of protests that go unheard, a tale of opposition that goes ignored, a history of demonstrations that achieve nothing.
Scotland is supposedly a valued partner in the Union, but what sort of partnership is it when one partner dictates and the other has no choice but to shut up and obey? We suffer the imposition of Trident, we suffer the imposition of Brexit. But not for much longer. There is a way to stop this happening, to derail the crushing wheels of the British state. I’m fed up with protests, sick of demos, have had enough of petitions. I want action. I want change. And there’s only one way that we’re going to get it.
After over 60 years of British nuclear weapons we should know by now that it’s a waste of time hoping for a Labour government to get rid of nuclear weapons. Only a Scottish government in an independent Scotland is going to evict the obscenity from the Clyde. The MPs’ vote on Monday to renew Trident is another vote that destroys the UK and sets Scotland further down the path to self-determination.
Let’s demonstrate for independence, let’s campaign for it, let’s channel our anger into a strategy that’s going to work. Let’s make a real difference for a change. It’s time we wrote some prescriptions of our own.
Audio link to this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/writing-a-prescription-of-our-own-wee-ginger-dug-16th-july-2016
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