Earlier this week, The Herald's Writer at Large Neil Mackay wrote in support  of Trident, having vehemently opposed ‘the bomb’ throughout his life. 

Read about that here. 👈

Today a reader expresses a different opinion.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar writes

I know that columnists are there to give opinions. Facts are secondary.  However. sometime truth needs facts (Neil Mackay, ‘I hate the bomb but to dump Trident now would be crazy’, June 25).

There is no independent UK nuclear weapons system. The UK is a client state of the US and has been for decades. It makes warheads but has no way of delivering them. The US supplies the missiles and they return there for servicing and, whatever is said publicly, no-one who is knowledgeable really believes that they do not keep control of targeting. The French had a stop-kill device in the missiles they sold to Argentina forty years ago.

The last two tests (they took place in the US) of a UK Trident submarine firing a missile both failed.  In 2016 the missile headed to Florida and was stopped. Last year the missile didn’t head anywhere; it just plopped beside the submarine. I wish we knew that they would always fail.  This is a very dangerous and expensive system and its upgrade is going to cost us around £100 billion. It is a system that could never be used without US consent so if Trump is elected, he will be making the decisions on the use of UK Trident anyway.

But the crucially important point is that we are in a terrifying nuclear weapons spiral about which the public is ill-informed. The technological developments are accelerating rapidly – hypersonic weapons, submarine detection systems and undersea missiles, ‘fractional orbital’ systems that can evade warning systems.  The nuclear powers are racing to leap-frog each other. In that respect Russia is no different from the others.

Most of us in the disarmament movement are consistent. We oppose all imperial powers who start wars and invade other countries. The US is the state which has done that most often and very brutally in the past 70 years. But Neil changes his mind on nuclear weapons because the invasion was in Europe.

The world has been moving in the wrong direction on nuclear disarmament and that has not been one-sided.  

The 220 nuclear bombs on the Clyde do not keep us safe. Apart from accident, they make us a top European target. Let’s take that target off our backs.