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Brown Trident social democracy, nuclear power, SNP conference

The SNP are the only party to oppose Trident.

You can say what you like about Alex Salmond, and a lot of people do: that he’s a demagogue, troublemaker, narrow nationalist, even “Tartan Tory”.  The SNP is regarded with deep suspicion by many on the Left,  as if it’s there’s a BNP in there just waiting to get out.  But what no one seems to give him credit for is leading the only party in the UK that is committed to defending explicitly social democratic values in government, removing Trident nuclear weapons, rejecting nuclear power in favour of renewable energy, blocking identity cards and establishing an open border policy for immigration. 
  In his conference speech in Inverness http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8311801.stm Salmond received a standing ovation for saying that one Trident submarine in the Clyde is one too many.  When did we last hear any UK party leader say that?  The metropolitan left seems to have decided that there is nothing anyone can do about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the UK – as if it is just a fact of political life.  We have a Labour government that is committed to spending around £100 billion on a weapons system that is a moral abomination, a military anachronism and a dangerous health hazard.  Someone has to call a halt to this madness. 
   In the UK, nuclear power is also regarded as a fair accompli, even though the vast majority of environmentalists are opposed to nuclear generation because of its cost and because there is no solution to disposing of the hazardous nuclear waste.  Around Scotland’s shores, there is some 60 gigawatts of renewable energy in wind, wave, tidal power, just waiting to be converted into useful power.  Yet, without any real political debate, Gordon Brown has decided that there should be a new generation of nuclear power stations – and that the UK tax payer is going to have to shoulder the burden of insuring them and cleaning up the toxic redsidue. 
   If and when the Conservatives come to power, there is going to be a choice: accept the cuts and George Osborne’s attempts to dismantle the welfare state, or challenge the deflationary logic of austerity and defend public services. At least there is no doubt which side Alex Salmond and the SNP are on.  I’m not so sure about the other parties. In his speech he called for a “contract based on social democrative values – wealth created and wealth shared.”  And another thing. When did you last hear a political leader quote Gandhi in a conference speech? 

About @iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?


5 thoughts on “The SNP are the only party to oppose Trident.

  1. An intelligent and reasoned post, Mr. MacWhirter.

    Posted by Jeanne Tomlin | October 21, 2009, 6:08 pm
  2. the use Nuclear power is inevitable both as a weapon of mass destruction and as generator of electricity…you may try to disinvent the wheel but you will fail miserably.public services are in the snp world view to be paid for with oil wealth in an Independent scotland.If the money was to come from taxation only you would see a very different (thatcherite) snp emerge.The Gandhi quote was pathetic and only made Alex look ridiculous

    Posted by Mr. Mxyzptlk | October 21, 2009, 7:37 pm
  3. I thought it might interest you that I checked up on William Blain's address in London and found that he is registered to vote in Hammersmith & Fulham. His voting number is 1141z.

    Posted by Gedguy | October 21, 2009, 10:53 pm
  4. Iain, another superb post. For the life of me I cannot see why people who have voted Labour all their lives continue to support at least the English version of this New Labour Party. Their policies don't in any way reflect the values on which the Old Labour Party was based.Nuclear power as an energy source is dangerous and impossible to clean up. A series of nuclear power stations in a country like the UK which is so hated across the world by a wide range of terrorists, is an open invitation to do more harm than disrupt the power supply.Nuclear weapons are an abomination. Never mind any of the great sins cardinal or otherwise that churches talk of. The use of nuclear weaponry is beyond evil. It's almost (but not quite) unbelievable to think that a government of a broke country is prepared to spend £100 Billion which is doesn't have and which would make such a difference to poor people's lives, to acquire weapons of mass destruction which it will never have the opportunity to use. Of course, when you consider that the money is not really being spent on weapons at all but on a chair at the top table for the Prime Minister, then the whole scenario becomes much more believable.We don't need to uninvent the wheel. We just need to use our natural resources and get rid of the obsolete weaponry Niko. It's very simple. It's Scottish Oil that's paying for these weapons we can't use. Would you not prefer the money spent on decent housing and public transport instead?And, if I may use Iain's blog to do it… can I ask you …in what way does quoting Gandhi make Salmond look ridiculous? I thought it was pretty smart.

    Posted by tris | October 23, 2009, 11:20 pm
  5. Iain, the headline and the longer version are misleading – Greens meet those criteria too, and unlike the SNP, wouldn't let social democratic values be outbid by Donald Trump's chequebook.

    Posted by James Mackenzie | October 24, 2009, 10:01 pm

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