I’ve just watched Alex Salmond and Anna Soubry on the Andrew Marr Show, open mouthed at the astonishing statements coming from Anna Soubry. Below is a short clip of the programme. What Anna Soubry seems to suggest is three things;
- That the SNP’s anti-trident stance (shared by the majority of folk in Scotland and the Greens everywhere) is somehow putting the UK at risk
- That democracy was really good when 55% of voters in Scotland voted against independence but is really bad now that people might vote to elect people she doesn’t agree with
- That a minority government is all very well for insignificant wee places like Scotland but would bring chaos and danger in “this United Kingdom where we do defence and other things”
Let’s look at each of those points in turn. Firstly, it’s patently obvious, even to the UK’s heads of the armed services, that Trident and its renewal is a colossal waste of money and actually endangers the country rather than providing protection. Having nuclear weapons hasn’t stopped Russia from invading Ukraine or from Israel breaching international treaties and human rights in Gaza on an almost daily basis. Having nuclear weapons isn’t going to stop IS or cyber attacks and doesn’t help armed services which struggle to equip their troops with even the most basic of equipment. For all the arguments on why Trident needs to go, see CND Scotland at http://www.banthebomb.org**
Second, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to bang on about accepting “the settled will of the people” (TM all Unionist parties on September 19th) then you have to be prepared to accept that same will when it delivers an electoral result you don’t particularly like.
Third, the patronising and belittling dismissal of the experience of the Scottish Parliament operating perfectly well under minority government is emblematic of the kinds of Westminster attitudes which drove 45% of Scots to vote Yes in September. Actually minority and coalition government worked out pretty well for Scotland, in the rainbow parliament of 2003-7 and under an SNP minority government from 2007-11. Those in power were held to account and had to work collaboratively with other parties to get their bills and budgets passed. And as for the UK Parliament doing important things like defence? Well Anna, I’d happily have more powers in Scotland, on defence and everything else. But that wouldn’t recognise the settled will of the people…
**As an interesting aside, the fab Laura Moodie from Dumfries and Galloway Greens (a fellow list hopeful for South of Scotland) was suggesting the other night that harping on about the dangerous SNP and their anti-trident stance was a Tory tactic to create an easy way out of finding £100 billion for Trident renewal. They could scrap its renewal citing those awful Scots and their assault on democracy rather than committing to spend cash they’d much rather spend elsewhere.