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April/May 2007 No 66

Replacing Trident could cost 3,000 jobs For humanity's sake, say no to Trident, says Matt Smith

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, condemned the Government decision to replace Britain's Trident nuclear fleet and pointed to a recent report that demolishes the claims that failing to replace Trident would lead to job losses.

Speaking at the STUC Congress in Glasgow, he said "The STUC and Scottish CND have put forward a detailed report on replacing Trident. "This has destroyed arguments about job loss should Trident not be replaced and in fact points to the job losses which will occur if it is replaced.

"Trident replacement will be a high draw on the nation's finances. This is not funded from the Defence Budget but from general revenue expenditure. This cost is not met by building fewer warships or tanks.

"It is funded by providing fewer public services or in our welfare provision. Replacing Trident could put at risk up to 3,000 Scottish jobs."

Matt went on the say that Trident is costly, unnecessary and unjustifiable but it is more than an argument about costs.

"Even if Trident were delivered gift wrapped and free we should still reject it." he said. "How can it be right for the UK to not only retain a nuclear warfare system but also to replace it when we tell others that they must stay out of the arms race? Former UN Nuclear Weapons Inspector Hans Blicks has said 'So long as any State has nuclear weapons other will want them, and so long as any such weapons remain there is risk that they will one day used by design or accident'

"And such use would be catastrophic."

"That is the argument", said Matt. "Not the cost. Not the arms race. Not defence. But basic simple humanity. For humanity's sake, say no to Trident". Matt called for campaigning to continue against replacing Trident, and for others to follow the lead of Scottish MPs a majority of whom voted to scrap the weapons.

  • At a rally in February organised by Scotland's 4 Peace, and SCND, - both backed by UNISON, Matt shared a platform with Cardinal Keith O'Brien from the Catholic Church in Scotland, Alan McDonald the Moderator of the General Assembly and politicians from across the political spectrum in calling on the Government to 'Bin the Bomb'.

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