The SNP said they would “oppose plans for a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons”.
So last night, of Scotland’s 59 MPs, Mundell – the only one elected on a pro-nukes platform – trooped through the Aye lobby. The others said no. Despite this, the House of Commons gave the government its blessing to spend billions on weapons that are outdated, and likely ineffective.
But, ultimately, Trident is not about defence. It this government cared about defence then they wouldn’t be cutting our armed services. For six years we have had no maritime patrol aircrafts in the UK. They were cut after the last strategic and security defence review decided to scrap the Nimrod MA4 programme. It was only three years ago when the army had to let go of 22,000 soldiers in a bid to fill in a £42 billion black hole. This is not a government who care about defence or national security.
Not really, not properly. What practical use is Trident against Daesh, against Assad? Really, what practical use is Trident against Putin and Russia or Kim Jong Un and North Korea? There are better ways of defending our country than nuclear weapons.
The fleet of four successor submarines will, of course, be based in Faslane, far away from the people who voted to keep the weapons.
Last night’s debate in Parliament shows how little Scotland’s voice matters.
We can overwhelmingly reject the political parties who stand on platforms of renewing Trident and yet we still end up with the weapons.
As with Brexit, we up here will be lumbered with a situation not of our own making. Ever since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, English MPs have moaned about the “democratic deficit”, the West Lothian Question.
It was what Evel was supposed to fix. The unfairness that Scottish MPs could vote on issues that affect the constituents of English MPs, while those English MPs did not have a vote on what similar issues in Scotland.
It meant that Scottish MPs could carry the votes on tuition fees and fox hunting despite these not making one bit of difference to Scotland.
They had a point.
But as last night’s vote showed, the real democratic deficit is the one where the voters of Scotland are told that their representatives do not matter. We live in a parliamentary democracy, and those MPs won their constituencies through first-past-the-post contests with the manifestos they stood on.
Ian Paisley said last night that if the “Scot Nats” didn’t want Trident he would happily have it in Northern Ireland. The UK Government probably wouldn’t want it in that part of the world with all the complications of Brexit.
But last night it was clear: Scotland rejected the weapons. It’s time for them to be kept elsewhere.
JULY 19TH, 2016 – 12:33 AM