Scotland: “Nukes and Nato go thegither”
August 9, 2012
Nato U-turn ‘means nukes stay here’
An independent Scotland could be forced to keep nuclear weapons if it remains in Nato, peace protesters have said.
Trident Ploughshares demonstrated outside SNP headquarters in Edinburgh against the party leadership’s proposal to ditch their historic opposition to Nato. The campaigners fear a U-turn will lead to the SNP softening its position on removing Trident from Scotland, despite the party’s denials.
One protester fears that Nato would compel Scotland to keep the nukes as a condition of remaining part of the nuclear-armed military alliance.
Jane Tallents, 54, from Helensburgh, said: “Belgium has nuclear weapons on its soil and its government has asked for them to be removed, but its requests are not being heeded because it is signed up to Nato and it is stuck with them. It seems to have contracts drawn up that mean that (Nato) have the use of these bases. It’s quite difficult to get them out (of Scotland) if we don’t want to leave Nato.”
Trident Ploughshares accuses the SNP of spreading misinformation about its proposed U-turn, saying that the SNP previously told them that talk of any U-turn was “simply rumours put about by a hostile media”, until defence spokesman Angus Robertson confirmed that he would ask the party to adopt a pro-Nato stance at its October conference.
Ms Tallents also said that a “man from the SNP” approached protesters and denied that First Minister Alex Salmond intends to support Mr Robertson’s resolution. Mr Salmond told a press briefing on July 18 that he supports keeping Scotland in Nato.
Ms Tallents said: “A man came out from SNP headquarters and said he doesn’t think that’s the case, so I think you need to investigate a bit of that. You should ask Alex. I think you should get Alex Salmond to clarify his position. It’s interesting to know that the man from the SNP is trying to deny that. I wonder if there’s some backtracking going on.”
Around 20 people attended the demonstration, with slogans such as “Nato wobble now – nuke wobble next” and “Nukes and Nato go thegither”.
Mr Robertson’s resolution faces internal party opposition from a group led by SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn. He has tabled an amendment urging the SNP conference to maintain its policy “that Scotland should not remain a member of Nato” because it “continues to be a nuclear weapons-based alliance”.
An SNP spokesman said that if the amendment is accepted, it will be published in the conference agenda around September 14.