Blog Post: Scotland’s Nuclear Weapons

This week saw the launch of the Indy Jigsaw Show, a new programme on IndependenceLive Media.

In our last post we told you what the presenters, Fiona and Marlene, are aiming for in this new series. This week their first episode – Getting Rid of Scotland’s Nuclear Weapons – was broadcast simultaneously on the IndependenceLive YouTube Channel and here on IndyLive Radio. It’s now available on-demand on YouTube and in the Scottish Independence Podcast channel.

The main conversation was with three Scottish CND activists – Isobel Lindsay, Bill Ramsay and John Cairns – to mark the first anniversary of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

CND commissioned a report to mark the first anniversary of TPNW

Just a few days before UK CND held an online event in London to present a report they had commissioned from Dr Rebecca Johnson. Her report is called ‘Nuclear Weapons are Banned! What Does This Mean for Britain?’ and you can download it here.

Changing the world’s thinking on defence & security

The report looks at Five Basic Scenarios covering what could be major ways in which defence policy-making, especially in the nuclear powers, might shift. Rebecca says that perhaps these are the most interesting parts of the Report, commenting that they are feasible but we don’t know how likely they are.

  1. Ask what will keep us most safe? What is security case for maintaining a nuclear arsenal? and tie that into the economic case they place on our economies.
  1. What if there was a nuclear accident, or deliberate use somewhere in world , ie if there is a huge shock…. would that shock shift policy-makers?
  1. What if Scotland votes to an independent and nuclear free state? A lot of academics are saying that this is the most likely route to add pressure for change in UK policy-making.
  1. Clubbable behaviour: The UK is in a club of the five recognised nuclear nations, and we’re also part of NATO. But a number of Nato states helped in drawing up the TPNW treaty; civil society in some NATO states is pro-nuclear disarmament; a number of those countries have current security alliances through NATO or directly with US – what would happen if they said they wanted those alliances to be nuclear free?
  2. If UK voted for a UK party who wanted to be nuclear free and wouldn’t renew Trident. 

The third scenario: If Scotland should vote for independence, ratify the TPNW and start negotiations with London to remove Trident from Scotland.

It is in this scenario that Scots campaigning for nuclear disarmament and Scots campaigning for Scottish independence converge. There have always been independence supporters who were also nuclear disarmament supporters. Our First Minister is a well-known example of that. But the TPNW gives that convergence a strength and resilience that has not happened until now. Because when Scotland signs the TPNW it will have all the expertise of the UN at our disposal around the negotiation table.

Contents of Episode 1 on IndependenceLive YouTube:

  • 3 min: David Kelly of Glasgow CND at a demo in Buchanan Street, Glasgow
  • 9 min: from Holyrood’s TPNW debate – MSPs Bill Kidd and Ruth Maguire
  • 21min: main interview with ScottishCND activists Bill Ramsay, Isobel Lindsay & John Cairns
  • 65min: Kirsten Oswald MP speaking at the launch of the CND TPNW First Anniversary report.

(The audio podcast version is shorter, without David Kelly and Ruth Maguire. You can catch it on our Scottish Independence Podcast Channel on Podbean and also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud)

Watch the full version here:

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