Trident weapons of mass destruction are an obscenity that is morally impossible to justify – in fact, their deployment would be illegal under virtually every conceivable circumstance because of the inevitable non-combatant deaths that would follow.

Each of the 40 warheads at Faslane has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive. This is eight times the power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. Now multiply that by 40 and you’re looking at the capacity to wipe out the population of Scotland twice over.

 

 

So why do we have Trident on the Clyde, beside our main population centre? I don’t want to see Trident anywhere in the UK and I suspect that most people in England, Wales or Northern Ireland don’t want to see it in their backyard either.

Nuclear weapons are a kind of statement of masculinity. It’s one I don’t buy into. Yes, we need to protect ourselves from attack but not by nestling weapons of mass destruction.

There has been talk since 1994 of what to do when this already aged and out-dated piece of destruction kit finally collapses. The estimates are that it would cost £100 billion to create a replacement. That would run our entire NHS for five years. Which would you rather have?

I know it isn’t that simple and you can’t directly swap Trident for the Scottish NHS but all the same, if we in Scotland had the power to make our own decision on Trident, we would find a much better use for our chunk of the bill.

That’s why a vote for Yes is the right choice. Reject this abhorrent set of nuclear weapons and instead say Yes to spending our money not only more wisely but on meeting the social needs of Scottish people.

The argument that is always posted by the pro-Trident lobby is twofold: jobs and deterrence. The number of civilians working at Faslane is 550. If you were to use the next year’s Trident budget to create new jobs, you would have about £2 million per person to do it. I know it’s not a very real equation but it gives you an idea.

We in Scotland do not control how many personnel the armed forces employ. That’s the Ministry of Defence and of course it is cutting back on numbers anyway. What it would decide about its personnel in Faslane is entirely a matter for them. What we do know is that in an independent Scotland, we will have new vacancies for armed forces personnel. What we need is the power to make those choices for ourselves based on our own assessment of our own priorities.

An elected SNP government, post-independence, guarantees that service men and women who would like to transfer to the armed forces of an independent Scotland will have the option to do just that, with no loss of pay or pension rights.

Then there is the idea of nuclear power being a deterrent. If I know that you have great big nuclear bombs that could wipe out a whole nation, does that make me feel better about you? No, of course not. It makes me feel under threat. That’s all. Is that good or useful? I don’t think so.

I joined CND when I was 16 because I couldn’t see the sense of having this notional power to destroy a chunk of the world. I still can’t see that as a positive. A world without nuclear power would be a far, far safer one.

We have to start somewhere. Let the UK be a power for peace. Already, 20 of the 28 nations in NATO are non-nuclear powers. Let’s extend that. Let’s encourage the UK not to have Trident in Faslane or anywhere else in the UK as it stands. Have the courage to say no to nuclear. Be a beacon of light in this dark place.

Nuclear weapons have no legitimate purpose. They are genocidal and completely immoral. When confronted with any of today’s real security threats nuclear weapons are irrelevant. They cannot address the actual threats the government has identified – terrorism, cyber wars and climate change.

Remember the attack on Glasgow airport? What use is a nuclear deterrent in that kind of situation? That’s what we’re facing in terms of a security threat so let’s concentrate our energies on tackling the knd of terrorism that is a real threat to our safety.

Say No to nuclear; say No to weapons of mass destruction; say No to Trident. Vote Yes on 18 September. That’s the right No Thanks and the only way to get Trident out of our backyard.