Wed 4 Nov, 2015

John Wilson smallThe Scottish Greens have criticised other parties’ failure to take a consistent and principled stance against nuclear weapons.

In yesterday's Scottish Government debate on Trident, MSPs from other parties voted against an amendment proposed by John Wilson, independent MSP and employment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, that called on the Parliament to adopt an anti-Nato policy and to commit to a funded jobs transition for defence workers as part of its opposition to Trident renewal.

John Wilson also urged the Scottish Parliament to call for decommissioning of the Vanguard-class submarines, and for the UK to be declared as a nuclear weapons-free zone.

Scottish Greens have led on the campaign against the Trident in Scotland, heading the debate that resulted in the Scottish Parliament to oppose renewal of the weapons system in 2007. Scottish Greens are the only party in Holyrood that opposes Nato membership, calling for defence funding to be diverted to the real priorities of humanitarian work, disaster relief and peacekeeping instead.

Opening the debate for the Green/Independent group of MSPs, John Wilson said:

"The Nato alliance is a Cold War relic that is unsuited to addressing modern day security threats. Unless the UK Government, or an independent Scotland, declare their waters a nuclear free zone and reject Nato membership, our opposition to weapons of mass destruction is academic.

“We can set an example as a nation that rejects the idea that states must spend vast amounts of money on weapons of mass destruction to secure a safe future for our country. Through diplomacy and disarmament, Scotland can protect itself and contribute to global peace.

"I urge all those who are opposed to Trident, nuclear weapons and continued aggressive nuclear proliferation, to say no to Nato membership. This is the only way we can we truly disengage from the nuclear arms industry."

Closing the debate for the Green/Independent group, Alison Johnstone, MSP for Lothian, said:

"Nuclear weapons are strategically useless, morally indefensible and are costing us billions  of pounds of public money that is desperately needed for welfare spending. Try telling those one in four children living in poverty in the UK that investing in weapons of mass destruction will increase their security.

"We need to reject bloated military budgets and prioritise skilled jobs and apprenticeships in a more sustainable, ethical economy. By putting in place a funded jobs transition plan and investing in sectors such as oil and gas decommissioning, renewable energy and retrofitting housing stock, we can provide more jobs than those currently tied to the arms industry.

“Scotland desperately needs more engineers - let’s ensure that our workforce has the opportunities to put its skills to the most positive and productive use, and commit to a secure jobs transition."

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