Arthur West says he is “delighted” by Jeremy Corbyn victory but “not that confident” about Labour’s capacity to oppose Trident
ARTHUR WEST, the chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (SCND), has said that Scottish independence is still the most likely route to nuclear disarmament following the election of anti-Trident campaigner Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party.
In an interview with CommonSpace, West answered simply “yes” to the question of whether Scottish CND’s position was that independence was the surest route to disarmament.
West also said that he was “disappointed” by Labour’s failure to discuss the issue of Trident at its UK conference, and that he is “not that confident” in the party’s ability to oppose nuclear weapons.
“We were disappointed that there wasn’t a debate at the UK Labour conference. It’s unsure whether a debate at Scottish Labour conference will take place. I’m slightly more confident that if a debate took place in the Scottish party a scrap Trident position would come out of it; but I’m not that confident,” he said.
“If there isn’t a debate it will be more bad news for the labour party in electoral terms,” he added.
Asked whether SCND would prefer the SNP to commit to decommissioning the weapons rather than having a policy of not allowing them to remain in Scotland, West said: “I think in not allowing them to remain in Scottish territory you do effectively set yourself on the path of getting rid of them.
“John Ainsley of CND has published a very significant report; the ‘Nowhere to go’ report about the lack of appropriate facilities anywhere else in the UK. John has also done work on how it is possible to take the weapons out of use pretty quickly; decommissioning takes a bit of time but you can disable them pretty quickly.”
West said that Scotland and the UK was seeing a greater challenge to Trident “than any time in living memory” because of the rise of the independence issue in Scotland and Corbyn’s victory as Labour leader.
But he warned that if a vote is held on Trident renewal at the Westminster parliament in the spring of 2016, as has been intimated to the campaign, then the renewal is likely to pass.
He said: “As it stands the SNP will vote to a man and woman against Trident renewal going ahead.”
He said that Corbyn would face significant obstacles in establishing an anti-Trident position within Labour: “Corbyn’s position is very difficult. The position as I see it is that the Labour party is supporting the renewal of Trident. I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn is making efforts to try and change that policy but I think that’s going to get very difficult.”
The Scottish Labour conference, at which a debate on Trident renewal may take place, is being held in Perth on 30 October to 1 November.
Picture courtesy of The Weekly Bull