SNP slammed over “morally superior” Trident stance

HMS Victorious, one of the Royal Navy's four strategic missile submarines, departs Faslane. Picture: PA
HMS Victorious, one of the Royal Navy's four strategic missile submarines, departs Faslane. Picture: PA
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An influential Labour backbencher has called for “alliances to be built” to help thwart the renewal of the UK’s Clyde-based nuclear deterrent on the Clyde.

But Lothians MSP Neil Findlay warned that the “morally superior” approach of the SNP Government will only ostracise people from backing the cause. Trident is due to be debated at the Scottish Labour conference later this month.

MSPs at Holyrood today called for the so called `Son of Trident’ to be scrapped after Chancellor George Osborne announced earlier this year that £500 million was to be spent on its current Faslane base to prepare for the new submarine-based system.

This provoked anger from the SNP which has long opposed Trident renewal and claim it will cost £100 billion over its lifetime.

Labour’s position has also been thrown into disarry since the election of Jeremy Corbyn - a fierce opponent of Trident - as leader.

Mr Findlay, who ran Corbyn’s leadership campaign in Scotland, said today: “Some think that you win people over in this debate by saying that `we are right and you are wrong and if you don’t want to get rid of nuclear weapons unilaterally, then somehow you are morally inferior to me, you are less humane than me and therefore your opinion and views are less worthy’.

“Well I appeal to anyone who takes that tone to think again, because moral superiority doesn’t provide and engineer with a new job, nor does it keep a local shop open, nor does spending the Trident money dozens and dozens of times over in crude attempt to make party political points during a referendum or an election campaign keep a community alive.”

Mr Findlay said Nationalist MSPs were right to cite people like the former generals and ex-Labour defence minister Nick Brown who have come out against Trident.

“That’s what you do - you build alliances of people not normally in the same camp to argue against this. That’s way to win people over.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale supports Trident renewal as a multi-lateralist, believing the UK should not get rid of its nuclear deterrent until other, adversarial nations, scrap their own.

But she has welcomed a debate on the issue at conference later this month and admits the party’s position is “unclear.”

Nationalist backbencher Christina McKelvie called today’s debate insisting that the £500 million could be better spent on public services.

The Scottish Government’s veterans minister Keith Brown told MSPs that nuclear weapons don’t make us more secure and that their use would result in mass “humanitarian suffering.”

He added: “These weapons can never be used in the way that we see some so called smart weapons being used. These weapons do not discriminate between huge civilians populations and armies.

“They’re indiscriminate and that’s why they’re morally wrong.”