Clarity needed on nuclear policy

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WHO could disagree with Joseph G Miller (Letters, 1 December) on the obscenity of weapons, nuclear or other? However, the sad fact is that once they are there they cannot be un-invented, so effective control is more important than their actual existence. For conventional weapons this has proved impossible, for every potential aggressor can hope for success, or at least escape from the worst consequences of defeat. Paradoxically, the potential retaliatory response of nuclear weapons is such as to make their deployment virtually impossible. For example, the Cold War would almost certainly have resulted in a Third Word War but for the possession of nuclear weapons by both sides, and since the Second World War no deaths have resulted from these so-called weapons of mass destruction whereas conventional weapons have accounted for millions.

The SNP, previously anti-­nuclear, appears to have noted this and part of its Scottish defence policy is now, as a potential separate Nato member, to retain a nuclear capability, but not in Scotland. This last appears to be for cost purposes – Alex Salmond recently spoke of the “countless billions” that could be saved by not having Trident. This is hyperbole and the net effect of Scotland having or not having Trident is likely to be, in national terms, in the small change bracket.

So exactly what and why is the policy?

Dr A McCormick, Dumfries