29/10/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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not mean that if they came to a legal challenge they would


On Newsnight Scotland tonight: a nuclear warning from a Unionist


politician. Get rid of Trident and you will lose jobs and influence,


says the Defence Secretary. Pure unbridled politics says one SNP


politician. Of course cities. But what are they going to do about it?


-- of course it is. The independence debate went


nuclear today. The Defence Secretary came north and promised


to spend �350 million to design a replacement for Trident. But, hang


on, said Nick Clegg, we have not made up our minds on that yet. The


SNP made up its mind a long time ago. It is no to any nuclear


weapons even if we become members of NATO.


Philip Hammond comes to the Clyde estuary to make an announcement


that even his own coalition colleagues say is not new. He


deployed familiar arguments for retaining Trident. Scottish jobs


and international security. Today we are announcing the next �350


million commitment to the development of the successor


submarine, design and development phase. Insuring the project


continues to make progress so that we will be able to make the main


investment decision in 2016. SNP think that is a waste of money.


I believe that the majority in Scotland do not want weapons of


mass destruction in Scotland. We would rather spend the vast sums of


money used to maintain the current Trident and if Philip Hammond gets


his way would be used to institute a new generation of nuclear


weapons... That would be far better used on schools and doctors. That


is what I want to see public money spent on.


Philip Hammond will never convince the nationalists. But of course


that is not why he was here. Opposition to nuclear weapons has


been a sacred tenant of SNP policy since the first submarine sailed up


the Clyde. And for decades, this article of faith informed their


policy on NATO. But then 10 days ago the SNP controversially voted


for a U-turn on membership of the need to airlines. Informed in part


by polling evidence -- nuclear alliance. When asked 75% said they


would wish an independent Scotland to remain... You can do, you can do.


When it comes to getting rid of Trident, the SNP are convinced


their existing policy chimes with Scottish public opinion. A recent


poll commissioned by the party showed 46% of people in Scotland


want the Scottish Parliament to have more powers to bring about the


removal of tridents from Scottish waters. 35% against, 19% do not


know. It is a pleasure and an honour to give my first speech in


contribution to what I believe will be a historic day, when we hear the


first nail being hammered in the coffin of the British Government's


programme of weapons for mass destruction. In the early days of


the SNP government, MS Ps voted in vain to give the Scottish


Parliament the powers to remove Trident -- MSPs. I think it is easy


to exaggerate the degree to which public opinion in Scotland is


necessarily as anti- nuclear weapons as the SNP often seem to


presume. There are a couple of poll readings not that long ago which


suggest opinion is evenly divided about Trident nuclear weapons


systems being replaced. Slightly more people against than in favour


but no clear direction one way or the other. International politics.


Letter suppose a new Assembly Government in a newly independent


Scotland orders the removal of nuclear weapons -- let us suppose.


Where would it leave Scotland? discussion over Trident will be one


of the major issues, because it is of fundamental importance to the


rest of the UK. It is a political weapon guaranteeing the UK's


presence at the top seat of international relations. My


personal view is that there will be long negotiations. Washington will


have an awful lot to say about this and bring huge diplomatic pressure


to bear on the independent government of Scotland to ensure


that the UK does not disarm unilaterally. And what would be the


timeline for this? My personal view is that Trident will remain in


Scottish waters if we become independent and tell the Trident


system becomes obsolete and that could be many decades. A senior


person within the SNP who was well qualified to talk about these


things pointed at to me recently that the SNP has never put a time


frame on withdrawal of weapons from the Clyde estuary. Philip Hammond


says Trinant will be replaced and located on the Clyde. -- Trident.


The SNP says it will not. In other words, politics not military


strategy will ultimately decide whether Trident will be replaced


and whether nuclear weapons will be removed from the Clyde estuary.


I am joined now from Edinburgh by Bill Kidd, the SNP MSP and long-


term campaigner against Trident. Thank you for joining us. The


voters who would want an independent Scotland to have a


stronger defence, what can you say to persuade them that should bar


happen? I do not really know exactly what the premise is -- that


should not happen. The defence in Scotland is enhanced by


conventional defence. Not by Trident. Trident is an irrelevance


when it comes to defence. It is not a weapon of Defence. It is a


political toy. It is an excuse for Britain to situ the top table in


international relations. And achieve absolutely nothing -- to


sit at the top table. It has been described as the ultimate deterrent.


No one wants to use it in first strike capability but it is there


as a last resort. 911 in America proved the last resort is useless.


-- 9/11. But could not be defended against by using nuclear weapons.


That is the way the world is now. We are not in a cold war any more.


We should be getting a peace dividend which we have not had. Now


we are looking for an independence dividend which will be the removal


of Trident and saving the vast waste of money that is planned by


Westminster. He mentioned there 9/11. That was an attack by a rope


terrorist group. What about rogue states? The likes of North Korea or


Iran who are trying to develop them. Or states who already have nuclear-


weapons who we cannot necessarily trust. Countries like Russia. Are


you happy to do some in the face of that sort of presence? As far as I


know, Russia is a trading partner of the United Kingdom and I do not


want to call them a rogue state. I do not want to call China a rogue


state in the way Cameron did just after coming back from there. This


attitude is most dangerous. Unless we get rid of nuclear weapons and


it is not going to happen tomorrow but unless we get rid of them from


the world we will always be in danger of there being some kind of


catastrophe or even potentially a war which involves nuclear weapons.


We need to negotiate these things on the world scale. It seems to me


the United Kingdom has no intention of doing so even though they are a


signatory of the Non-Proliferation to three -- treaty. The SNP have


joined NATO. But is a first strike nuclear alliance. You are going in


the wrong direction. We have already stated that NATO is only an


option should we remove the nuclear weapons. We will not be bullied


into keeping nuclear weapons. an option? I beg your pardon.


said NATO is only an option. No, I said... I meant to say that keeping


nuclear weapons would not be an option and their fault if we were a


member of NATO, as we are i the moment and continue to be -- and


therefore if we were a member of NATO we would not continue to have


nuclear weapons. That was stated at the conference last week. We would


be members of NATO but not as a nuclear member. If you put a ban on


nuclear weapons in Scotland's constitution as you wish to do, it


would be a door, wouldn't it? Then there will be a question about


whether NATO members, ships from other countries can bring their


nuclear weapons into Scottish waters -- it would be a law. That


would be a decision made by the government following independence.


My opinion is that nuclear weapons being brought in to a country would


breach of that law. It depends how the law was phrased of course. I


would prefer it to be phrase that once we get rid of nuclear weapons,


we would not invite them into a visit or settle here as was


mentioned in your package. would you police that? Would that


involve going on board some of the ships and checking them out?


would involve a treaty and... It is well known which ships carry


nuclear weapons. It is not boarding and searching military ships. But


is not what would happen. We would know, everyone would know whether a


ship was carrying nuclear weapons. It is not a secret that these


things are carried around the seas. We would know this was being


brought into one of our ports. There is a lot of uncertainty about


this, uncertainty on what will happen to these weapons, the


timescale for the removal from Scotland, membership of NATO, terms


of membership, how we react with other countries -- interact. A lot


of uncertainties and a lot of voters might be asking, I am not


sure about this. There is only one certainty and that is that if we


stay in the United Kingdom we will keep these weapons stationed in


Scotland for 40, 50, 60 more years. Uncertainty is something which we


are trying to iron out as much as we possibly can. What we have


stated is that nuclear weapons will go from Scotland. On what


timescale? Months? It potentially could be a number of months. I


would reckon that internationally it has been suggested it could be


some were just over the two-year mark. Someone said it might be


decades. Stewart Crawford is saying it from a political point of view.


We must leave it there. Thank you very much. Bill Kidd, SNP MSP.


Today the focus was on the SNP's policy. Last week there were claims


Scotland would not get automatic membership of the European Union.


On both issues unionist parties have talked up what they claim is


the uncertainty of the tour. Will uncertainty itself be a deciding


factor in the referendum -- of it all? I am joined now from London by


Joe Twynam, Director of Social and Political Research at the YouGov


polling agency. And also by Professor Chris Carman of


Strathclyde University. Thank you both very much indeed for joining


us. To what extent are all of these issues of uncertainty starting to


have an impact on the debates surrounding independence? People


who are uncertain are the ones who are the big question mark, of


Bisley. From these sorts of polls Bisley. From these sorts of polls


that Joe has run and others... Obviously. The group in the middle


who are uncertain where they are going to go... We are going to


watch and monitor because we do not know exactly what points will


influence them. That is an issue, isn't it, that there are many


undecided voters in all of this? It is an uncertain world. Will people


vote for independence without definitive answers on some of these


big policy areas? I think we need to look at things in context. There


is a lot of uncertainty surrounding many aspects. But a lot of these


issues really are not the most important to the average voter and


indeed the 50% of people less engage. They are not really


interested in the intricacies of Trident or EU membership. Instead


what they are interested in is the economy and we see from our polling


that people think generally that Scotland would be worse off if it


became independent. That is by a ratio of 2 1/2 to 1. They are also


interested in whether they can trust an independent Scotland and


whether it can be effective. These are important. Uncertainty plays


into that and makes it difficult to unseat the status quo. Looking at a


historical, -- historical context, generally speaking in developed


democracies, they do not succeed because they are unable to overcome


Is it enough to chip away at it? is not enough. I agree with what


Joe said, it is the idea of trust, can we trust on them to govern


itself? The SNP has done a good job of building up that narrative. Look


at what we can do, we can deliver policy. Using the Scottish Election


Study data, we can mud Bhagat Botha's from 2007, and compare them


with voters from 2011. We know in 2007, people were voting for


independence ideas. Looking at 2011, that relationship clubs around. If


you thought the SNP was competent, you are more likely to think that


independence is a good idea. that the key for the SNP, to


respond to what is strong pressure from the Unionist parties to try


and re-establish that narrative of trust? Absolutely. I would not try


and none play the uncertainty game, if I wasn't -- if I was an SNP


strategist. There is no answer to every single thing are what you


would do. You have to trust us, that is what I have to say. The


they don't have all the answers to all the little details. Instead,


the voter has to trust them. If they can get that message across,


it will be powerful. The difficulty that they have, they need to get it


across to a large number of people. At the moment, the ratio of those


wanting to stay part of the union is about 2-1. With that in mind,


how far ahead the SNP have to get in order to stand a chance of


winning this referendum? They have to stake a big claim over the


course of the next year. Descartes began in the mid-thirties, where


they are the moment. -- they cannot be down. Absolutely. They have to


prove that people can trust them. They have to move beyond, look at


us, we can do this. We can have the rubbish collected on time. They


have to move on to be bigger narrative. Right now, the


independence debate dominates everything, without other policy


areas, bread-and-butter issues, it is difficult to break that


narrative? It is. Particularly when you're struggling to recover from


economic crisis. He makes it very difficult for them to build a case.


That point, the one you made about the economy. The SNP would like to


Mel some of this down, but it is proving hard to do it on EU


membership, keeping the pound, keeping the euro. How do they get


around that? That seems to be a fundamental issue. It plays into


the uncertainty. What they need to do is focus less on the details,


such as the euro, or interest rates, or funding on taxation, and instead,


focus on these broader ideas. To say, we are competent, we are


effective. If they are able to win over an economic competence


argument, the mind the shy ones matter -- the small matters won't


matter. If you asked the people of Scotland, indeed the whole of Great


Britain, what the most important issues are at the moment, based say


it is the economy. That is chosen by 80% of people. -- they say it is


the economy. It is not the best of times to hold a referendum. It is


the most difficult of times. That is an important point. It is a long


haul, a week is a long time in politics, and two years is a really


long time. The SNP have a long way to go, and a lot to do. Alex


Salmond is famous for his intellect, and the shrewdness as a political


operator. He may be able to make a change in fortunes. They looked


unlikely at the moment. On that basis, are there some of the SNP


while wondering whether now is not the right time to be holding a


referendum? I am sure they are being told, stay calm, keep your


powder dry. It is OK, two years, one week is a long time, two years


is a very long time. There is a lot of time to make this case. They


have to figure out a strategy for going ahead. We must leave it there.


A look at the papers. Obama sends in troops. Daily Telegraph, child


benefit cuts may be illegal. The Times, states of emergency.


That's all from me. If you want to see the programme again it's on the


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