Scottish Labour’s decision not to support the renewal of Trident places rivals the Scottish National Party in a difficult position – although they’ll be quick to claim the opposite.
Critics are likely to demand that we believe this places Scottish Labour at odds with the national Labour Party, based in Westminster, which still (officially) supports Trident renewal.
But Labour UK has said it is reviewing its position, so there’s no conflict at all.
And what about all these claims that Scottish Labour is just a “branch office” of the Westminster Party? Any organisation with a branch that actively contradicted the policies of its head office would be in for a swift reorganisation and, while Scottish Labour is reorganising, the direction of travel is the other way.
The SNP can’t attack Scottish Labour on the policy itself, because the SNP also opposes Trident renewal. The Conservative Party, on the other hand – that’s another matter.
Tories will undoubtedly ridicule this decision – but in doing so, they are laying themselves open to harsh criticism, too. What is the point of having Trident? We can’t use it without the express permission of the USA so it isn’t the “independent nuclear deterrent” we’ve all be told it is. It is no defence against nuclear attack – Trident won’t stop anybody else’s bombs from dropping on us. Its only use is for the destruction of millions of people elsewhere in the world – and why would anybody in the UK risk putting that in the hands of anybody crazy enough to use it?
This point is strengthened exponentially by the fact that, looking at the current Conservative Government, it seems there are plenty of candidates for that role.
The Scottish Labour party has voted overwhelmingly to abandon the replacement of Trident nuclear weapons, adding to pressure on the party’s Westminster leaders to review its pro-nuclear defence policy.
The vote, carried by 70% of Labour constituencies and trade union members, will strengthen Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to force the UK party into carrying out what he described last week as a “serious and positive” debate on ending Labour’s formal support for renewing Trident.
Describing nuclear weapons as “a mortal threat to humanity’s survival” and “massively expensive”, the Scottish Labour motion said renewing Trident would encourage nuclear proliferation. It said it was immoral to spend billions on the system at a time of worsening austerity in public spending.
It stressed that scrapping Trident’s replacement would be conditional on large sums being invested in creating new engineering and hi-tech jobs for the thousands of defence workers likely to lose their jobs in key Labour seats around the UK.
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