Moving Trident nukes from independent Scotland to Wales would be ‘fly tipping’ says Scottish pundit
Moving the Trident nuclear submarines and weapons from Scotland to Wales if the former does achieve independence would be “fly tipping” on the part of the Scottish government, according to a columnist.
The SNP has been working on a road map to move nuclear warheads and submarines from the Clyde, and will debate the issue at next month’s conference, with Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire considered by the UK Government as one possible location.
But Scottish pundit Kenny Farquharson, writing in the Times, said that such “nuclear nimbyism” wouldn’t get rid of the weapons and would be the political equivalent of “fly tipping” – dumping a problem over the border for someone else to deal with.
“For many SNP folk, especially those who have been in the party a long time, one of the main purposes of independence is to rid the Clyde of weapons of mass destruction,” he said.
“Yet I see no moral virtue in a policy that would simply move the UK’s nuclear warheads a few hundred miles south, perhaps to Milford Haven in Wales or Plymouth in Devon.
“This is fly-tipping. It is emptying your car’s ashtray at the side of somebody else’s road. It can only be counted as “getting rid” of nuclear weapons if your moral world ends at the Scotland-England border.”
He concludes by suggesting that a post-independence SNP government might use Trident as a bargaining chip, with “perhaps a long-term lease for Faslane with a multibillion-pound rent”.
The opinion piece was penned after the Times revealed that Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire is being considered by the UK Government as one possible location to house the Trident submarines if they are ejected from Scotland, as it has rapid access directly into the Irish Sea.
In 2012 then Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said that the Trident nuclear submarines would be “more than welcome” in Wales if they left Scotland.
At question time in the Senedd, Mr Jones suggested the nuclear deterrent could come to Pembrokeshire if forced to move from the Clyde.
The Ministry of Defence employs 4,700 people around the nuclear submarines base in Argyll and Bute, accounting for 34% of the total local jobs.
However, the SNP want them out if independence does happen. All candidates in this year’s Scottish election backed the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
The Labour party in Scotland have criticised the move, saying that the SNP risked losing thousands of jobs, and that simply moving the nuclear weapons would do little for nuclear disarmament.
Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP who represents Dumbarton, said: “The SNP are happy to simply move Trident over the border without a thought for the jobs and the impact on the local economy. They talk about diversification but this has not succeeded in the past and would take much more than three years.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
Yes and, like fly-tipping, illegal. Nuclear weapons have indiscriminate effects which means they are contrary to international law.
True, but Kim Jong-un doesn’t care about international law. Nor do the religious fundamentalist in India, Iran, Israel & Pakistan. If one of those countries were to use a nuclear weapon once and face no retaliation, then the same country would use nuclear weapons again. Therefore, as long as rogue states exist, the world needs to have at least one non-rogue entity maintaining a nuclear deterrent. The USA, Russia, UK & China all have the potential to degenerate into rogue states (with China, for all its human rights abuses unfortunately, being the least likely to do so), so whom does… Read more »
Thalia Campbell’s brilliant banner reminds us that the US is “the only rogue state so far”. They could have dropped one bomb on Japan but they used two. They could have targeted small uninhabited islands to demonstrate the power of the bomb but they targeted densely populous cities. They faced no retaliation. They did not use the bomb again except to pollute the planet with radioactive fallout, killing many of their own citizens in the process. We’re in this situation not only because of Germany’s and Japan’s nuclear ambitions 80 years ago but because of US ambitions, aped by England… Read more »
Either way, the U.K is no way going to get rid of them. Better they be located in ‘big shot’ England.
The Haven is totally unsuitable and would threaten English gas supplies. You can’t mix oil and gas tankers in a narrow channel with fully loaded Trident subs.
Now Southend? Lots of space there.
Mark Drakeford, Welsh Assembly debate 06/07/2012: I am utterly opposed to the notion that Wales might be a home for nuclear weapons. We do not know the full destructive potential of the Trident system, because it is shrouded in secrecy, and deliberately so. However, let me take a very conservative estimate: a single atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima killed 240,000 people from blast and radiation. Each of the four Trident submarines, let us say, carries eight missiles; each missile has five warheads; each warhead has eight times the explosive power of that single Hiroshima bomb. Just one submarine, then, has… Read more »
It doesn’t work like that, just because a warhead has eight times the explosive power it doesn’t mean it has eight times the blast area. Bombs (conventional or nuclear) explode in 3D space not 2D space i.e. the blast of the bomb is a sphere not a circle.
Having nuclear weapons on Scottish waters has certainly fanned the flames of the Scottish independence movement, therefore if it was moved to Wales, would it not do the same here? Plus add to the fact that their won’t be much of a United Kingdom to be part of once Scotland becomes independent.
When is that expected to happen?
The relocation of Trident to Wales would have huge political and even constitutional issues, not to mention ethical and environmental issues. It should not be done without the endorsement of the electorate through a referendum.
Time to scrap Trident and lead the world on Nuclear disarmament, no place for weapons of mass destruction in this world. 182 other countries manage fine without them, time for you to support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament not just complain about nukes in the comments (that achieves nothing), we can win this war together and make earth a safer place.
To Whitehall Wales is, besides being England’s water tank, has since the industrial revolution been a place to exploit. And when Scotland becomes independent, and it will, Trident should be dumped in Whitehall a truly toxic environment.
It would bring many jobs to the area…so we should be happy to have them here.
Some jobs come at too high a price. Southend is a much better destination.
San Steffan just them as far from London as possible, and I want them as far from Wales as possible.
The only local jobs on the base now is around 500. Their mostly low skilled jobs like canteen staff and cleaners.
Jobs for Nukes. Bad slogan! Bad idea! If the English Government wants Nukes, they should put them in England. We’ll have some hi-tech, danger free jobs 🙂
If Scotland leave what’s left of the UK won’t be able to afford trident anyway. Will Cymru be expected to pay for that as well as Boris’s Lego train.
If the English Government wants their Nukes so bad, they should put them in England. Preferably in one of their own, large, back gardens!
Si we just lie back and think of England?
Is this an attempt to transfer the blame for any negative effects of moving the Trident nuclear weapons away from the UK government where it belongs for choosing to hold these illegal weapons of mass destruction, onto the potential government of an independent Scotland?
Little Englanders can stick their tridents in north of england we dont need them here