Trident – what you need to know

As a weapons system designed for the Cold War, the case for Trident is non-existent in 2016. It’s wrong – strategically, morally and financially. Yet, despite SNP opposition, Westminster has written a blank cheque to base another generation of nuclear weapons in Scotland’s waters.

Here’s what you need to know about Trident renewal.

1. Scotland opposes Trident renewal

Nuclear weapons have been based in Scotland for almost half a century. This is despite the opposition of the people of Scotland, civic Scotland, the STUC, Scotland’s churches, the Scottish Parliament and most of Scotland’s MPs. On 19 July 2016, 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs voted against the decision to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.

A recent Survation poll found that, excluding people who don’t know, 56 per cent of people in Scotland oppose the renewal of Trident.

2. Trident is financially unjustifiable

The Tory Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt, has calculated that the total cost of the next generation of Trident at £179 billion over its lifetime. CND have estimated that the cost may even be as high as £205 billion.

3. At the same time, the UK Government has cut defence jobs in Scotland – year after year.

The Ministry of Defence’s own jobs figures show that between 2010 and 2014, under the previous Tory-led Coalition, defence personnel in Scotland were cut by 3,300 – that’s an 18.7 per cent reduction.

And, if we go back further to 2000, 10,170 jobs have been cut in Scotland, with an overall reduction of 41 per cent – compared to 28 per cent across the UK.

4. Trident doesn’t address modern threats

The biggest threats we face won’t be deterred by new nuclear weapons. Security threats like terrorism, cyber-attacks and climate change are not addressed by Trident.

The gaps that need to be addressed are in areas such as maritime patrol, in ships and aircraft to patrol our waters, as well as conventional defence personnel and equipment. These gaps have emerged as a result of under-investment and cuts by successive UK governments.

5. Possession of nuclear weapons is the exception, not the rule

It is the norm in the world today to be nuclear-free. Of all the countries in the world, just nine possessed nuclear weapons at the start of 2015.

UN member states have voted overwhelmingly to begin negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. In a vote in the UN disarmament and international security committee on Thursday 27 October, 123 nations voted in favour, with 38 opposing and 16 abstaining.