Scottish independence: SNP risks ‘deep internal split’ over Trident nuclear plans
Ian Blackford mocks Michael Gove’s dancing during SNP speech
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Britain’s fleet of nuclear missile-carrying subs are housed and loaded at Faslane and Coulport in western Scotland. The SNP has pledged to get rid of the Trident nuclear deterrent from Scotland if the country voted to leave the UK in another independence referendum. Scots rejected independence at a public vote in 2014. Boris Johnson’s UK Government is firmly opposed to an independent Scotland and has said efforts to pursue so-called “Indyref2” are “irresponsible and reckless”.
The nuclear issue is on the agenda at the SNP’s national conference, which is being held remotely this weekend.
On Sunday, delegates will consider a motion that “calls upon a future SNP government of an independent Scotland to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland within three years”.
A proposal to amend the statement says that the Scottish Government should “start the practical work to remove nuclear weapons within three years”.
The issue of Scotland housing Trident has been pushed back to the forefront of the public debate since Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led the SNP to victory in May’s parliamentary elections.
Alongside independence, the removal of Trident has become one of the key issues on which the party has campaigned in recent years.
JUST IN: Sturgeon’s independence knocked back after economic blackhole warning over oil wobble
However, according to Dr Nick Ritchie at the University of York, the SNP’s antinuclear stance risks creating a deep rupture within the party.
In an unearthed paper from 2017 published in “The Nonproliferation Review”, the senior lecturer in international security explains the dangers of the SNP defining itself by its opposition to Trident.
The paper reads: “However its origins might be interpreted, the antinuclear stance has become constitutive of the party’s identity and its very conception of an independent Scotland.
“The SNP is now rhetorically entrapped by its arguments, obliged to abide by them, and has become, in part, constituted by them.
“Reneging on a central, if not totemic, campaign promise of disarmament would carry considerable political risk, undermine the party’s credibility, and invite a deep internal split.”
Dr Ritchie also explains how the SNP made a U-turn on its stance towards NATO in 2012, with the party having previously been opposed to the security bloc on the basis that it supports nuclear deterrence.
The SNP’s policy shifted to support NATO, although it remains committed to the removal of Trident from Scotland, despite the UK’s nuclear deterrent being committed to the security bloc.
Dr Ritchie said that the “NATO policy reversal was a largely tactical move to reassure voters”
He added: “It is unlikely that the SNP’s deep commitment to the timely repatriation of Trident would be subjected to a similar political and economic calculus in a newly independent Scotland.”
Prince Charles appeared to congratulate civil servants on Brexit in rare outburst [LATEST]
Kevin McCloud admitted ‘freedom from restrictions imposed by Europe’ after Brexit [INSIGHT]
Prince Charles’ ‘fear’ over Iraq War resources laid bare in secret letters Tony Blair [ANALYSIS]
The academic said the effect of the removal of Trident on the UK “would be nearly as profound as the loss of Scotland itself”.
The idea of repatriating Trident was also recently reported to be being looked at in depth in Westminster.
A Financial Times report earlier this month claimed that officials have hatched contingency plans to move the Trident bases from Scotland to the US or France in the event of independence.
The report, which cited senior government sources, said another proposal being assessed was to create a British territory within an independent Scotland so the Government can continue to house Trident there.
Responding to the report, the SNP said in a statement: “The plans revealed in the Financial Times are a sign that the UK Government recognises the unwavering opposition to nuclear weapons that’s found not just within the SNP, but across Scottish political and civic life.
“With a clear cross-party majority of Scotland’s elected politicians in Holyrood and Westminster who are committed to a world without nuclear weapons, there is no possible parliamentary arithmetic that would allow these weapons to remain at Faslane after a Yes vote.”
A UK Government spokesperson denied the report, saying that it is “strongly committed” to maintaining the nuclear deterrent in Scotland.”
They said: “There are no plans to move the nuclear deterrent from HM Naval Base Clyde (Faslane).”
Source: Read Full Article