Below is a letter I sent to the Sunday Herald last weekend
New Labour Fear Trident Debate
Whilst reading Iain McWhirter’s piece on ‘Why a new Trident can only make the world a more dangerous place’ in last week Sunday Herald, I was interrupted by Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain speaking to Andrew Marr on TV on the same subject.
Hain amply confirmed for me Iain McWhirter’s opening salvo – no pun intended - that Labour had already decided to replace Trident ahead of any debate. When Hain said ‘Cabinet has not yet had a discussion on the detail of all this’ few could be left in any doubt nonetheless that the principle of replacing these Intercontinental weapons has already been discussed and agreed.
I must confess McWhirters conclusion has been obvious for me from ‘New’, or should that be ‘Nuclear’, Labour since I visited the Aldermaston Weapons Establishment as part of a Scottish CND delegation in June. It was obvious then that preparations were far advanced for the manufacture of the second generation of Trident missiles. Gordon Brown, whom Iain McWhirter unconvincingly suggests is ‘no nuclear enthusiast’, announced that same day, in his Mansion House speech that he would make available the £75bn needed for the next generation of British WMD’s.
Given all that, Labour’s promise of a full and open public debate on this issue is rather lame. There will be no debate on the matter, open or otherwise because New Labour is frightened of the debate. The party which put the ‘con’ in consultation has already agreed to buy these weapons from the US. Clearly their emphasis now is in making the vote itself a formality. Peter Hain warned his Labour colleagues they were ‘all elected on a manifesto committed to defend an independent nuclear deterrent.’
And look at in whose nuclear company New Labour now stands. Only nine nations have developed nuclear weapons; Bush’s America, which has some 16,500 nuclear warheads, Putin’s Russia, who even use them as a deterrent against dissidents, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, France and now Kim Jung Ill’s North Korea. What a rogue’s gallery that is! And in the crazy world of ‘deterrence’ these countries all argue, just like Peter Hain, that they must have them because we already have them.
Compared to the Labour Party’s dishonesty and fear of debate, the Scottish Socialist Party would welcome an open and honest examination of the issue. We are keen for the public to see the chasm that exists between ‘Nuclear Labour’s’ position on all this and ours. Our policy is clear and unequivocal, nuclear weapons are immoral and a colossal waste of money. We would instead spend the £75bn on improving our health record, on greater educational access and opportunity, on our creaking social services, on lifting our youngsters and our seniors out of poverty, and by no means the least, on exporting peace throughout the world not militarism and illegal invasions of sovereign nations.
Colin Fox MSP
Scottish Socialist Party