The good people in the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church will perhaps be dismayed to know that they are "a noisy and all too often hysterical minority" in the eyes of Peter Russell because they reject Trident (Letters, July 12).

I wonder what he would consider to be an emotionally mature human response to the fact that even as I write a young man is sitting at a panel waiting to bring hell on earth to untold thousands in unknown cities, by merely turning a key.

From a purely intellectual viewpoint, threatening global suicide is not a rational defence policy. It is also unsustainable. Either we get rid of the bomb, or the bomb will get rid of us. This is not "hysterical" it is factual. Let Mr Russell consider the words of the prestigious Canberra Commission: "The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used – accidentally or by decision – defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance they will never be used."

The country that once had the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world is now nuclear-free. Ukraine got rid of its nuclear weapons as part of its struggle for independence. We can do the same.

Paradoxically, Ukraine's move was welcomed by the UK and the US. So, why do they not rejoice that we in Scotland could now do likewise?

Brian M Quail,

2 Hyndland Avenue,


As the debate surrounding Trident continues, surely once the moral arguments in favour of disbandment have been exhausted, there is one very practical point to make, ie that nuclear arms are already outdated and have been for some time.

The lethal arrow and spear became ineffectual once the rifle and artillery gun were invented. Today it is cyber space and the limitless damage and disruption that can be inflicted against nations at enmity with one another.

Trident may have acted once as a deterrent. Now it is a monstrous and hideously expensive piece of junk to maintain. It does humanity no credit to be reminded that it was prepared to wipe out millions of innocent people to prove its powers of domination.

We also have Chernobyl and Hiroshima as living examples of the effects of radiation fallout. What more arguments do successive governments need to abandon the lunacy of nuclear weapons? And indeed to continue with arms trading of any description?

How about a war on hunger in the world instead? Perhaps mankind hasn't reached that stage yet?

Janet Cunningham,

1 Cedar Avenue, Stirling.

Scotland is the dumping ground of an unwanted nuclear submarine base because, as has been pointed out, England didn't want it.

I believe the problem of its removal has been compounded because the SNP jettisoned its previously held anti-nuclear stance and declared it wanted to be a member of Nato (a nuclear alliance) but wanted the base removed from Scotland.

One only needs an element of common sense to realise that if one elects to be a member of an organisation, its rules have to be accepted. The SNP lost a lot of its credibility, and members (myself included) as a result of that ruinous change of policy. Only if we have a true anti-nuclear policy, we have a cast-iron case for its removal.

I also query why we should even want to be a member of Nato, which is dominated by the US. This is the country which led us (courtesy of Tony Blair) into an illegal war in Iraq; it was, to an extent, responsible for the present situation in Afghanistan where it changed sides by first arming the people against the Soviets then fighting against the Afghans; it is supporting Israel's violations of human rights against the Palestinian people by vetoeing many UN resolutions, and it is interfering in Syria and Iran.

Let's be neutral and just look after the welfare of our own country, not the rest of the world.

Andrew D Mowatt,

3 Bent Road,


There are a number of reasons why the attempt by the Westminster Government to close down the issue of the rest of the UK holding Faslane as sovereign territory should be resisted ("UK would not claim Faslane after Yes independence vote", The Herald, July 12).

These include the imperial mindset of Westminster and the technical and cultural difficulties it has in locating these nukes in the "core homeland".

There is a more immediate reason why this needs to be explored. There is a relentless demand by the No campaign that the Yes campaign answer every speculative question that is posited, no matter how ludicrous, in relation to Scotland's defence and foreign policies. Yet it seems to be accepted by almost the entire UK political class and the related commentariat that the UK Government is under no obligation to explain how existing and future UK defence and foreign policy makes the people of Scotland safer.

With the supposed revelation of the sovereign Faslane facility concept we now know a post-independence prospectus is being drawn up by elements within the Westminster Government. It is high time the Yes campaign started to tease out the rest of the picture, even if Westminster declines.

This is feasible as there is a plethora of existing publicly available material to work from. First there is the relatively open discourse on these matters that takes place in the US and, secondly, the future shape of the UK armed forces in terms of doctrine and equipment acquisition is to a significant degree public knowledge.

It is not just in relation to nuclear matters that the UK has no independent position (the term "independent deterrent" gives the game away). The UK's conventional force structure is designed first and foremost to add value to the expeditionary capability of the armed forces of the US.

A recent Royal United Services Institute report: "Why Britain Does Not Do Grand Strategy" put it better that I could when it concluded: "With no obvious major enemy to focus the mind, British strategy has been shaped by Washington's agenda."

The delusions of the rest of the UK are, sadly, more that hypothetical sovereign territory in an independent Scotland. They are global in reach, unable to shake the imperial habit the future UK is condemned to roam the world, literally and metaphorically, as someone else's imperial auxiliary.

Bill Ramsay,

84 Albert Avenue,


It seems imperialism dies hard in the Unionist breast. In the event of an independent Scotland, to turn Faslane into a sovereign base would be an act of colonial piracy and, I suspect, would be viewed with dismay throughout Europe and the free democracies of the world.

If Westminster is wise it will consider, in the event of an independent Scotland, whether or not it can afford to support an "independent" nuclear deterrent such as Trident.

Brian Rattray,

124/2 Gylemuir Road,