Has Murray changed mind on Trident?

Firstly, I would like to welcome Ian Murray’s comments on Trident (“Labour’s Ian Murray breaks ranks over 
Trident,” 15 April).

As a long-standing SNP member and their candidate in Edinburgh South this year, I find weapons of mass destruction morally obscene and I welcome anybody who wants to help rid our country of the wholly unjustifiable Trident nuclear missile system.

One would think, given the opportunity to reject Trident renewal in the House of Commons, Mr Murray would seize the chance to stand up for what he believes in, vote for his principles and vote against the renewal of the abhorrent nuclear weapons on the Clyde.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

However, it appears that Mr Murray thought differently when given this chance earlier this year.

On 20 January there was an opposition debate in the House of Commons on Trident Renewal. The motion read: “That this House believes that Trident should not be renewed.”

The debate was brought to the House by the SNP and it was interesting and passionate.

In the end, all SNP MPs and 19 Labour MPs voted for the motion and thus against the principle of Trident renewal. What is more striking, however, is that six Scottish Labour MPs voted for this motion while Mr Murray himself chose not to participate in this debate.

It simply leaves me to beg the rather big question I’m sure all of us in Edinburgh South deserve to know: if Ian Murray is so against Trident renewal, why has he not voted against it in the five years of being a MP?”

Neil Hay

SNP candidate, Edinburgh South


As a constituent of Labour’s shadow business minister, Ian Murray, in Edinburgh South, I welcome his principled contribution to the debate regarding the renewal of the Trident system.

As someone who is undecided about the need to renew Trident, it is heartening to see an opinion which goes beyond the opportunistic use of empty party political slogans such as “bairns not bombs”.

Leading the campaign against Trident in Scotland we now have the SNP, who estimate that Scotland contributed £100 million to the system last year and that cancelling it will fund everything from nursery places to bus passes.

The reality is that £100m is not significant compared with the Scottish Government’s underspend last year (£444m), Scotland’s deficit (£9.8 billion) or even the SNP’s full fiscal autonomy black hole (£7.6bn).

Furthermore, it is entirely likely that any savings associated with cancelling the Trident renewal (£200m–£300m per year) will largely be 
recycled within the defence budget.

Other anti-Trident arguments focus on the morality of the weapon and the environmental risk it poses.

However, one could argue that no weapon is “moral” and that the environmental risk posed by the SNP Government “sweating” Scotland’s ageing nuclear plants well beyond their design lives poses a far greater risk. Furthermore, the notion that we Scots can take a moral stance on Trident by moving it elsewhere in the UK and remaining in Nato is nonsense on stilts.

The arguments for retaining Trident are equally unconvincing and focus on the uncertain future the world faces over the lifetime of the system (up to 2080).

However, it is inconceivable that the UK would consider the use of the deterrent outside a wider Nato action – what difference would we make?

The second argument for retaining Trident is that it is a net benefit to the Scottish economy. While this is undoubtedly true, is this really a good thing?

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens