Scotland is a unique country in that it has the potential to disarm a nuclear armed state.
All of the UK nuclear weapons are primed for use from Scotland’s Faslane naval base which depends on the warhead store at the nearby Coulport site. No one has come up with a viable alternative site outside Scotland whose whole parliament and present government oppose nuclear weapons.
For Scotland to fulfil its potential in disarming a nuclear armed state, the Scottish Government must commit to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) publicly and specifically. The May election delivered a clear majority for independence with an intention to accede to the TPNW . Accession to the Treaty can obviate any special negotiations for the removal of the UK weapons system.
Scottish nuclear disarmament campaigners have been successful because we have a sympathetic audience within the counterculture and its associated media, where we mange to get some coverage but we have almost no other access to the wider public except through word of mouth and social media. We have experienced very hostile and/or dismissive reactions to the TPNW from BBC Scotland.
We must continue to insist that the Scottish Government’s a clear and specific commitment to the TPNW is regularly articulated to ensure that they do not diminish their commitment under UK pressure later. This requires the electorate to have a much better understanding of the TPNW and we must take every chance to highlight it.
Can our distinct legal system and the legislation afforded by Holyrood be utilised to seek a way to ratify the Treaty’s terms in Scots Law? Perhaps Scottish lawyers and politicians as well as police officers could all examine their consciences with regard their part in banning weapons that could so easily bring such unspeakable suffering and environmental degradation to the world.
The TPNW entered into force on 22nd January, 90 days after 51 UN member states came fully on board, and is now binding on all of them. The 22 January was the sweet moment for a strong statement from the FM to both gain from and contribute to global support for an independent Scotland that is a member state of the TPNW.
Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I share the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s opposition to nuclear weapons – they are morally, strategically and economically wrong. They are indiscriminate and devastating in their impacts; their use would bring unspeakable humanitarian suffering and widespread environmental damage. The Scottish Government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to pursuing the safe and the complete withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland.
While the Scottish Government is unable to become a Party to the Treaty, as First Minister I strongly support the principles of the Treaty and the work of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom. An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory and I hope the day we can do that is not far off.
Our next task is to utilise the new report by Dr Rebecca Johnson on what the TPNW means for Britain to highlight the fact that the UK Government is out of step, and to find every way we can to show that Scotland is part of the real world, where there is truly nae place fur nuclear weapons.
For more information on Scotland’s relationship with global disarmament, check out the below post written by Dr Nick Ritchie: