Well we’re still here, for now. You can never be entirely certain that there will still be a morning to wake up to when the fate of the world is in the hands of two man-children for whom the unthinkable of nuclear warfare is perfectly thinkable. When you do wake up you feel around to make sure that everything is still in one piece and your street hasn’t been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least insofar as it’s possible to tell the difference between a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the East End of Glasgow when there’s a Tory government in Westminster. Then you turn on the telly news to check the progress of Trump and Kim’s nuclear dance to see if the children with lethal toys have put a stop to the steps of a billion lives.
Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War have been here before. The protests. The marches. The raging impotently against the world destroying power of those who can make your fate fall through their fingers like the dust that will be all that’s left after they’ve launched the destroyers of worlds. The difference is that back then the madmen who created the MAD doctrine knew what Mutually Assured Destruction meant, that it meant that nukes were weapons that could never be used as they’d destroy the very civilisation that they were supposed to protect. Now we’re in the hands of petulant children for whom nukes are just bigger bangs in a big banging contest. Children who don’t realise that using their toys will make the road in Cormac McCarthy’s novel seem like Sesame Street.
For many of us in this campaign to liberate Scotland from the grip of Westminster, it started with the revulsion that nuclear weapons with enough fire power to evaporate much of the globe were based just a few miles from Scotland’s largest city. It started with the realisation that to the power hungry of Westminster, Scotland is first and foremost a place to park the nuclear viagra of an impotent former superpower. Even more than the oil, even more than draining us of our children and using us as a reservoir of labour, Scotland’s place in the Union is to host the evil of mass death. For many of us, the campaign for Scotland independence is based on ridding Scotland of this evil, because if we accept it then we become complicit in it. Silence equals agreement.
Scotland’s just a small country. We can’t prevent a nuclear war. We can’t stop the USA and North Korea from setting fire to eastern Asia. But we can stop our own country from being a part of the madness. We can say that we don’t want Scotland to be a party to the nuclear dick waving. It’s not even as if the UK’s nuclear deterrent is independent. The USA supplies the warheads. The USA supplies the targetting. They’re simply an adjunct to American nukes which exist purely in order to justify the place that the UK takes on the UN Security Council. That’s a place that’s taken on Scotland’s back. It’s because of those dirty nukes on the Clyde that the UK fights dirty to keep Scotland within its grasp.
The truth is that those who say that they are renewing Trident because they are in favour of multilateral disarmament are, at best, lying to themselves. You don’t rid the world of nuclear weapons by commissioning more. You don’t make the world a safer place by buying bombs that make a bigger bang. You disarm by getting rid of bombs. It’s clear that Scottish opinion means nothing to Westminster, we’ve learned that lesson well, so the only way to rid our country of someone else’s bombs is to take control of our country for ourselves. Independence is the only route to Scottish nuclear disarmament. Westminster will never disarm, its multilateralism is just an excuse for it to pass its own moral obligations on to others. Saying that you will only do a good thing if someone else does it too does not make you a good person. It makes you a hypocrite.
Listen to the cant from some, especially in Labour, and you’d think that Trident was a job creation scheme. Jackie Baillie acts as though the entire purpose of Trident was to keep a medium sized Tesco Express open in the greater Helensburgh area. When you’ve got politicians who seriously try to argue that spending billions on bombs that can blow up the planet is a good thing because it can create a couple of hundred jobs, you’ve already descended into insanity. A weapon of mass destruction is not a job creation scheme. You don’t justify a great evil by claiming it does a small good. Trident is an obscenity no matter how many jobs it creates – and it creates damn few. It’s an expensive obscenity at that. We could create far more jobs by spending the money that Trident costs directly on job creation. We could make Scotland a safer and saner place in the process.
We’re back in the 60s when the world held its breath as giants like Kennedy and Khrushchev went toe to toe over Cuba, only this time the only things that are giant are the egos of small men. We’re back to being a small former Empire clinging on to past greathoods, perched on the edge of a Europe that we’re not a part of. We’re back to holding our breath in the realisation of the fragility of life, of civilisation, of all the progress that was so hard won by our grandparents and parents, and we go to bed in the dark of night not knowing if there will be a tomorrow.
The only way to change the world is to change that small part of it within your own reach and power. We can change ourselves and say that we will not be silent. We can change Scotland, and say that it will not be silent. We can say that Scotland will no longer be a host for the ambitious egos of the powerful and greedy. We can say that Scotland is committed to disarmament, and we can practise what we preach. We can make a small difference, knowing that large differences are made up of thousands of small ones, that a change in the course of a mighty river starts with a single ripple.
A voice singing alone is crying into the night, five million voices make a chorus that ripples through the world. The moral case for Scottish independence has never been stronger.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-17th-april-2017
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