SNP is muddying debate about Trident

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With the SNP’s recent criticism of the announcement of £500 million worth of upgrades for the Faslane naval base they have spied yet another opportunity to get their anti-establishment, 
anti-Union boot into Britain.

Rather than tacitly agreeing that more than 6,000 jobs have been secured and that the UK is still strong enough to operate an independent nuclear deterrent, the SNP choose to accuse the British Government of “arrogance”.

Nuclear weapons are a hugely emotive issue but Scotland cannot un-invent them by ridding itself of them from its native rock. The world would be no safer because of an anti-nuclear stance taken by an independent Scotland.

Opinions are mixed but some polls indicate that just over 50 per cent of Scots want to see some sort of Trident replacement with a sizeable 
minority being somewhat ambivalent. A similar spectrum of opinion can be found throughout the rest of the United Kingdom.

The picture is far more complicated and murky than the one the SNP wish to paint, which is that of unilateral nuclear disarmament.

In an ideal situation, nuclear weapons would not exist, but this isn’t the reality of the world we inhabit. The notion that nuclear weapons would be used again is abhorrent to all states on the globe but they do still serve as a deterrent, as they did during the Cold War.

The SNP, or indeed any government, cannot predict the new threats that will emerge in the next few decades. Nuclear proliferation and hostile states are still a serious issue in this increasingly globalised world and will continue to be so in the future.

Rather than being taken as a sign of the United Kingdom’s active and participatory role in the wider world, Trident and its unknown successor are added to the anti-UK armoury along with the need to “reform” the BBC, 
anti-austerity, GM crops and the House of Lords.

As always, the SNP will just use this as another weapon to be wielded on the onward march to “indyref2” and to promote difference within the United Kingdom regardless of the cost to the future.

David Bone

Ailsa Street West

Girvan, South Ayrshire

May I reply to Stephen Druitt’s letter (1 September)?

In the 1950s I served in the British Army of the Rhine. We were on a permanent war footing.

Nato forces were out-numbered in tanks, artillery and men by ten to one. If the Russians had come at us, they would have been up to the Channel in days and life in this country would be very different.

But the Americans had the atomic bomb and the Russians were deterred. This did not prevent them from trying it on in October 1962 in the Cuban Missile Crisis; and there was a near disaster in 1983 when the Russians felt, quite wrongly, they were about to be attacked.

At the moment Vladimir Putin is using threats of a 
nuclear showdown in the Baltic states and preparing for war with the West. He must be rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of Trident being removed from Faslane.

Neil Macnaughtan

Saxe Coburg Street

Edinburgh

Economically at least, you would have thought that the SNP would be pleased at the new investment for Faslane.

Yes, there has been no debate yet about Trident renewal, and yes, there has been no vote at parliament as yet – but £500 million of new investment for the west of Scotland should be welcomed.

Instead, the SNP response has been nothing but gripe, gripe, and gripe. Instead of being constructive, they seem to go out of their way to be quarrelsome, to find grievance.

This is not mature politics, and does not reflect well on them.

William Ballantine

Dean Road, Bo’ness

West Lothian

I am intrigued by the cost 
objections regarding Trident.

The Ministry of Defence estimates its replacement at £23.4bn, but CND and the SNP put the cost at £100bn over a 40-year lifespan.

Following that argument, the Parliament at Holyrood was projected to cost £40 million to build, but ended up costing £440m just to open its doors.

Can we afford to actually run it over a 40-year period?

Ken Currie

Liberton Drive

Edinburgh

It’s hard for Nicola Sturgeon to deny that she helped secure a Conservative majority. It’s also unlikely to be accident or coincidence that a majority makes a Yes vote in a future independence referendum more likely.

It’s irritating, although not unexpected, to hear her complain that the Conservatives have done exactly what they said they would with the power she gifted them.

Wendy Anderson

The Courtyard

Belfast

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