2 November 2015
I was interviewed by Radio 5 Live on the conference motion on Trident, briefly talking about the motion and why I hoped that the majority would support it.
“Today’s motion is focused around the non-renewal of Trident.
“We’re not talking about the unilateral removal of nuclear weapons; it’s about the non-renewal of Trident in the context of shrinking budgets , and the austerity agenda of the Conservative Government
“If we are to go ahead with non-renewal we really need to commit to a defence diversification here in Scotland and in the UK.”
The debate on the motion against Trident renewal was brilliant, with fantastic speeches by :
Stephen Low, (link>)
Bill Butler (link>) ,
Neil Findlay (link>)
Claudia Beamish (link>)
and many other members for and against the motion.
There is concern about the defence diversification programme, which I understand.
I am against the renewal on many grounds moral, legal, military and economic.
The expected expenditure on Trident is £167bn over the lifespan, which is £25bn capital spend and approximately £3.5bn per year on running costs.
I recognise that there are 15,000 jobs directly associated with Trident.
If policy makers invest £100k per year for each of the 15000 jobs, that is a total spend of £1.5bn.
This would free up £2bn per annum.
This £2bn could be spent on conventional military goods and forces, or other social goods such as housing, education or health.
Trident expenditure is coming out of the defence budget.
So, ironically, renewing Trident could mean a less robust military power.
I was disappointed not to be selected to speak in the Trident debate; however, many of the speakers put the case more eloquently than me.
This weekend has been fantastic catching up with friends and listening to discussions.
On Friday, the APSE fringe (link>) was very informative;
Jeremy's speech was inspiring and there was a good debate at Labour CND fringe (link >)
On Saturday, the personal experience of the Syrian refugee was very emotional at the Scottish Refugee Council fringe (link >) ; Kezia's speech was storming (link >) ; we briefly popped into STULP (link >) before returning to Dundee where Damian kindly made kebabs for tea for Marlyn, Georgia, Stephen, Marc and me.
At conference, the TTIP and Trident debates were thorough, democratic and enjoyable.
Democracy is invigorating.
I attended the UCU fringe,(link >) I shall definitely learn more about the bill re university governance.
The debates on housing and the trade union bill were informative, thoughtful and comprehensive.
I had a great weekend.
Well done to Alex Rowley (link>) and Kezia Dugdale (link >) for implementing the chances that they said they would.
For those who dismiss the case against Trident renewal, I suggest listening to Major General Patrick Cordingley on Trident. ( you tube link >)
With Trident's budget now coming from the defence budget rather than the Treasury, the officer class will protect their own, so, I foresee a broad coalition against Trident renewal emerging.