THIS week saw the anniversary of the Nagasaki bomb (August 9). A few of us went to Rhu Narrows near Faslane and sent out floating Japanese lanterns in silent remembrance of the many thousands that died in that horrendous detonation.

There might have been some justification if it had been necessary to kill all these people to shorten the war or save soldiers lives but the Japanese were already trying to negotiate a surrender. That bomb was exploded over a city as a live experimental test of the results on real people.

We, here in the UK, maintain a nuclear arsenal, not for any real defensive reasons, but to pretend that we are still one of the big boys and to keep our seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It is a weapon that we will never use under any circumstances; the Americans have a veto on its use and there are no conceivable targets where its use could be justified.

In the meantime, to support Trident, our conventional defences are stripped bare: we have no maritime surveillance so that we do not know what is happening in the North Sea; our army is cut to no more than a token force that could not again support the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we were involved in a few years back; we have built two aircraft carriers with no useful planes to fly from them and one of these will be immediately mothballed because we do not have the resources to man and run it.

These are some of the reasons that an independent Scottish government will reject Trident replacement and invest a sensible amount in building smaller but more coherent armed forces for real protection, based on Faslane with warships built on the Clyde.

DS Blackwood,

1 Douglas Drive East, Helensburgh.