I used to think that Coulport/Faslane would be an amazing negotiating chip in the independence negotiations with Westminster.
The Guardian’s recent scoop about a currency union not being ruled out after all reveals a similar stance:
“Of course there would be a currency union,” the minister told the Guardian in remarks that will serve as a major boost to the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who accused the UK’s three main political parties of “bluff, bluster and bullying” after they all rejected a currency union.
The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the breakup of the UK if there were a yes vote, added: “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote, with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”
Various non-Scots that I’ve talked to over the past few months also clearly expect that the Yes campaign’s insistence that Trident must go is surely just an attempt to build a strong basis for the negotiations.
However, having spoken to many Scots about this topic over the past couple of years, both on social media and in real life, I have to say that all the non-Scots (including my younger self) are mistaken.
Most Scots seem to be so strongly opposed to Trident for various reasons that I don’t believe any real negotiations are possible. The nuclear weapons will need to be moved away or destroyed (and most Scots would prefer the latter). The Scottish anger at having these weapons stored on the Clyde, just outside our largest city, is simply too strong.
The Scottish negotiation team might be able to give the rUK five years to remove Trident from Scotland, but I’m doubtful the Scottish public would accept any more than this. Ten years would probably lead to riots.
If Scotland votes Yes, Trident will be gone before 2020. The sooner Westminster get their heads round this fact, the better.