THE claim that it would take an independent Scotland more than 20 years to get rid of nuclear weapons is both ill-informed and notably deferential to future Westminster governments (“SNP adviser: Trident may stay in Scotland long after independence”, The Herald, August 6). This would not have been true in the past and we now have an even clearer process to rid Scotland of these weapons. The United Nations Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was formalised in 2017 would offer an independent Scottish state a clear route with international supervision to have these weapons removed if Scotland applied to join the Treaty. The SNP and the Greens support the treaty and after independence so would many Labour members. There would be a strong political majority for this.

The first thing a member state has to do is to make nuclear weapons on its territory non-operational. This process will be supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency. This simply means requiring that all nuclear warheads are removed from the missiles. This can be done in months. Warheads are manufactured in Burghfield in the south of England and while there is not presently the storage capacity there for the 200 warheads we have at Coulport, creating another site in the vicinity solely for warhead storage would not be a lengthy process. Within three years the warheads could be transferred there. The missiles are manufactured and serviced in the United States so could be sent back there for storage. The submarines are serviced at Devonport but are not allowed for safety reasons to have warheads there. Storing or dismantling the submarines could provide work there and at Barrow although these places could not be used operationally.

This is not about feasibility; it is about how independence should not be allowed to stand in the way of the UK’s delusions of great power status. Clinging to weapons of indiscriminate mass human and environmental destruction appears to be one of the few things they feel they have left. The grooming of a few people around the SNP by the military establishment has been noted. They are testing the waters to see if dangling some cash in front of us will make people abandon their values. I think they have got it wrong on this issue.

Isobel Lindsay,

9 Knocklea Place,


I NOTE with interest Tom Gordon’s article on the future of Trident.

Former SNP advisor Stuart Crawford and Tory MSP trot out the usual “UK’s nuclear deterrent” heavily-loaded catch phrase. Michael Portillo, former Tory Defence Secretary, said: “Our independent deterrent is not independent and doesn’t constitute a deterrent against anybody we would regard as an enemy”.

Trident is nothing but a weapon of mass destruction with catastrophic impact if ever deployed. One Trident submarine with its usual load of eight missiles /48 warheads carries more explosive power than every bomb dropped in the Second World War, including the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This single deployment also has the potential to trigger a nuclear winter and end human life on Earth. Note this is only one-quarter of UK’s total nuclear arsenal, most of which is stored at Coulport. The late John Ainslie, Scottish CND, outlined how these weapons can be neutralised in a matter of weeks after Scottish independence. Decommissioning would indeed take much longer. The Ministry of Defence (MoD has a pretty dismal track record on this – see for example the nuclear submarines rotting at Rosyth.

Faslane and Coulport have atrocious safety and security records – see Able Seaman William McNeilly’s whistle-blowing report (easily obtainable via Google) and previous annual MoD reports for detail. The MoD’s solution for this was (from last year) to stop issuing these reports.

Nuclear weapons are in process of being declared illegal by the United Nations. A resolution passed last July with 123 nations voting in favour, and formal ratification is in progress.

These soon to be illegal weapons, their convoys, storage and transport through our waters constitute a real and present danger to most of Scotland’s population. They must be neutralised immediately after independence then safely decommissioned over an agreed timescale.

Only a vote for independence can deliver this outcome.

Dr R Dickinson,

12 Kirklee Gate,


IN response to Brian Quail’s letter (August 6) which argued that the decision to drop the bomb was wrong, I once talked to the wife of an American marine whose husband had fought and survived the battle for Iwo Jima although 26,000 other marines didn’t. She said: “Can you imagine how a widow would have felt if her husband had been killed along with thousands of others during an invasion of the Japanese home islands and then found out that her President had the ultimate weapon but didn’t use it?”

Alan D Stephen,

15 Beechlands Avenue,