SCOTTISH peace campaigners and parliamentarians demanded the scrapping of Britain’s weapons of mass destruction at a conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday.
Delegates insisted that “the time is right” to remove the submarine-based Trident nuclear missile system from Scotland just hours before the British government launched a new policy paper on the abolition of nuclear weapons entitled Lifting the Nuclear Shadow.
The Trident and International Law – Scotland’s Obligations conference at Edinburgh’s Our Dynamic Earth exhibition centre was organised by the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and Trident Ploughshares.
It was attended by international legal experts, including former International Court of Justice vice-president Judge Christopher Weeramantry.
Scottish National Party foreign affairs and defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP said: “The time is perfect for Scotland to play its part in reducing global nuclear stockpiles by getting rid of weapons of mass destruction stationed on our shores.
“Majority opinion in Scotland is opposed to the Trident weapons system that is based on the Clyde. Scotland can help lift the nuclear shadow by deciding to end the presence of Trident weapons.”
In recent weeks, senior British military figures have described Trident as “completely useless,” Russia has halted the stationing of missiles in its western outpost of Kaliningrad and US President Barack Obama has launched a review of the Pentagon’s controversial missile defence shield in central Europe.
In a letter to the Times newspaper on January 15, former head of the armed forces Field Marshal Lord Bramall and generals Lord Ramsbotham and Sir Hugh Beach described Trident as “irrelevant” and called its purported influence and effectiveness as a deterrent a “fallacy.”
SNP MSP Roseanna Cunningham added: “The Scottish Parliament has confirmed its opposition to plans for a new generation of nuclear weapons and even a majority of Scottish MPs are opposed to a new generation of Trident on the Clyde.
“Those around the world opposed to nuclear weapons are looking to Scotland to lead the way. That is a role we must fulfil.”
CND chairwoman Kate Hudson said: “As our government persists in pursuing the costly Trident replacement programme, it is well for them to remember Britain’s legal obligation to disarm.
“Gordon Brown should heed this powerful message and begin the process of Britain’s nuclear disarmament.”