Scottish independence: SNP must recognise it cannot disrupt UK's nuclear deterrent given threat posed by Vladimir Putin's regime – Scotsman comment

The removal of the ultimate weapons of mass destruction from the Clyde – the UK’s nuclear deterrent – has long been central to the SNP’s campaign for independence.

Protesters hold a rally calling for Scottish independence and nuclear disarmament outside HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Protesters hold a rally calling for Scottish independence and nuclear disarmament outside HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The party’s manifesto states its position in blunt terms: “We will maintain our firm and unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons – both in principle and to their location in Scotland.”

However, in the event of independence, it seems clear that the vast cost, practicalities, and time required for any relocation of the nuclear submarine bases would mean that considerable negotiation would ensue over how this would be done.

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Demanding the immediate departure of the missiles would simply be unrealistic. Many in London would regard it as an unfriendly act, and it could well scupper any attempt to join Nato, given each member state has a veto.

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So, as with many independence issues, like currency and the border, the SNP should, at the very least, provide more details on their expectations about the process, and simply be more open and honest.

The most passionate opponents of nuclear weapons would be appalled by any deal that delayed their departure. But it is perhaps naive to think that the Scottish Government would not use this issue as a bargaining chip in talks with Westminster about the terms of the overall ‘Scexit’ deal.

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