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Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard Passes HMS Dragon Returns to HMNB Clyde, Scotland
“House of Commons Hansard: UK’s Nuclear Deterrent
18 July 2016 Volume 613
8.26 pm Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Government Members seem to have the idea that we in the Scottish National party are against nuclear weapons for some kind of romanticised reason, but the reality is that we are against nuclear weapons and renewing Trident for logical reasons.
First, we have to remember the fact that, fundamentally, Trident is a weapon.
We have already established that we would not fire first, so the only time that we would ever use this weapon would be if somebody launched a nuclear strike against us.
To be frank, that would mean that we were all dead anyway. If I am dying, I do not care if we send a weapon back; I am more worried about the one that is coming towards me.
We keep hearing the phrase, “We can’t predict the future”, but if we are going to make defence policy, surely we have to think wisely about what we are deterring. What are the threats that we face? The 2015 national security strategy set out the tier 1 threats faced by the UK: international terrorism, climate change and cybercrime.
How many terrorist attacks have nuclear weapons protected us or France from? The answer is zero. They have got hee-haw to do with climate change or cybercrime, so that brings us back to the argument that they are a deterrent, but only nine countries in the world have nuclear weapons.
How come the other 180-plus countries do not feel the need to have this deterrent?
What other arguments are there for keeping Trident? We keep hearing that we need to keep it for the sake of jobs. Yes, it involves skilled engineers, scientists and workers who work very hard and are very talented, but why do we not invest the billions of pounds that we are proposing to spend on it in our energy and engineering sectors?
Why do we not use that money in our renewable energy sectors? Climate change is a tier 1 threat to us, so why do we not spend that money on trying to tackle it?
If these weapons are not a security necessity and they are not necessary to save jobs, that prompts the question: what are they for? The fact of the matter is that this is all really about the UK maintaining a permanent place on the UN Security Council. As the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat), who is unfortunately not in his seat, made clear, these weapons serve no purpose other than satisfying the ego of the British establishment. This is about us putting our stamp on a world from which we are isolating ourselves more and more.
Too many times, I have sat in this Chamber and heard, as my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry) eloquently said, that we cannot afford to look after the disabled, we cannot afford to look after our unemployed and we cannot afford to pay pensions on time. We have heard Conservative Members say that they are the Government making the difficult choices, but the very same people who made the argument for austerity are now telling us that we can afford to write a blank cheque for these useless weapons. And for what? To preserve Westminster’s self-indulgent image of importance. This is all part of the Government’s long-term economic sham.
I want to provide some context about the reality of what this means. Paisley Gilmour Street, in my constituency, is the busiest railway station in Scotland outside Glasgow and Edinburgh, and it is one of the main routes on which nuclear waste is transported. Used nuclear rods come through my constituency, not in the dead of night but during the day when people are standing on the platform waiting to go to work in Greenock, or wherever else. If a mistake was made and an accident happened, it would be the equivalent of a dirty bomb. I put it to the Government that they, and their obsession with nuclear weapons, are one of the greatest threats facing my constituents.”
House of Commons Hansard: UK’s Nuclear Deterrent, 18 July 2016 Volume 613 8.26 pm, Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (SNP)”
Sir William Wallace, aka Braveheart, was educated at Paisley Abbey.