Nuclear deterrent

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Dr A McCormick (Letters, 24 January) is sceptical that a majority of Scots do not want Trident, so I don’t suppose he’ll be too keen on the CND research which indicates that only 24 per cent of Scotland’s MPs want to retain Trident.

In his letter (same day), Colin Hamilton poses a couple of pertinent questions. He asks whether the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine would lead to an increased or decreased risk if Britain did not have nuclear weapons. In the first place, if the rationale Mr Hamilton sets out in his letter related to deterrent effect is correct and a nuclear holocaust is supposed to be contained and unlikely, why does he think it could happen? Secondly, if it does happen it seems improbable that Russia will be firing missiles at all the Nato countries who do not have nuc­lear weapons. Hence my view that Scotland should get rid of them, because if Russia is going to attack the US leash-holder, she will also hit the poodles.

And let’s not forget that the submarines were originally 
berthed in the Solent, until Westminster decided that they were too near Southampton.

Mr Hamilton also asks whether I support the building of warships on the Clyde. The answer is that I do believe that Scotland should have a conventional def­ence force, with the emphasis on defence and not involvement in aggressive illegal wars such as Dr McCormick infers happened in Iraq.

That force would also include at least one maritime reconnaissance aircraft and possibly even a surface ship based here. That would save us from the
immense embarrassment we suffered of having to require air surveillance from other countries and the fact that we had to dispatch a ship from Portsmouth when the Russians
entered our territorial waters last year.

With a Ministry of Defence like this, Dr McCormick is right to be concerned about the
defence of our country.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh

There is something heroically obdurate about Douglas Turner’s total failure to respond ration­ally to any argument that goes against the SNP party line (Letters, 23 January).

Indeed, we saw a lot of that unthinking obedience with the meek agreement of shoals of loyal SNP supporters to ditch decades of anti-Nato rhetoric and vote to join because Alex 
Salmond told them to.

Sad to say, Mr Turner twists what I said about Pakistan’s nuc­lear weapons (Letters, 22 January) being under threat from fundamentalists to suggesting that 
Pakistan might attack us.

In the same way, he sidesteps the point that the wars he previously mentioned were proxy wars which hostile forces engage in, often to gain natural resources, or deny them to their 
enemies. They are not wars which will entail any perceived threat to the opposing nuclear power, so that there is no excuse for nuclear war to break out.

What is important, however, is whether Mr Turner thinks that only the likes of Russia, North Korea and China should have nuclear weapons? He really should tell us. If they shouldn’t, how would he persuade them to give them up without having our own as a bargaining chip? He really must tell us. The world community would love to know how he would deal with that one when generations of diplomats, presidents and prime ministers have failed.

Andrew H N Gray

Craiglea Drive

Edinburgh

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